Dry Hydrants

Dry Hydrants Provide Water Source for Firefighters

Men working on dry hydrant installationCollaboration among a number of agencies has been making Calvert County homes safer for the last four years.

With federal grant money secured by the non-profit Southern Maryland Resource Conservation and Development Inc., (RC&D) dry hydrants have been installed in nearly 35 places in Southern Maryland. On Nov. 8, the newest dry hydrant was installed in the Hunting Creek neighborhood of Prince Frederick.

A dry hydrant is a pipe permanently placed in a body of water – usually a lake or pond – so firefighters can connect to it as a water source for fighting a fire. The dry hydrant does not need a water tower or connections to a sewer system.

The underwater section of pipe is placed at least three feet below the surface and the opening is covered by a strainer to keep debris out of the pipe.

The Hunting Creek hydrant was installed at a site that had been used as a farm irrigation pond before the new homes were built there. The homes are on septic and well systems, so if a fire occurs the firefighters would have to drive to Prince Frederick to fill tanker trucks with water. The dry hydrant makes the water much more readily available.

dry hydrant installationStaff from Calvert County Soil Conservation District, Calvert County Fire-Rescue-EMS and Calvert County Highway Maintenance Division installed the hydrant with help from the Calvert County Rescue Dive Team. Divers arranged rocks in the pond on which the hydrant's pipe now rests and then guided the pipe to its proper place.

Al Stewart from RC&D said the hydrants are used to protect homes in rural districts that don't have ready access to water. "The idea is to have a place where there is easy access for the fire department in all weather and a water supply in all weather." The Hunting Creek pond is fed by two streams and has a constant flow of water.