PUD Seeks Fire Hydrant Agreement with Sedro-Woolley

Posted Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Skagit PUD Board of Commissioners has agreed to move forward with the transfer of ownership and maintenance of Sedro-Woolley’s fire hydrants to the PUD. During its regular meeting on November 8, the Commissioners authorized General Manager George Sidhu to enter into a formal agreement with the city.

“For many years, Skagit PUD and Sedro-Woolley have shared responsibilities in maintaining and repairing fire hydrants within the city,” Sidhu said. “However, the PUD prefers control over all public fire hydrants to ensure system integrity and that hydrant maintenance is completed to our standards.”

All fire hydrants connected to the PUD’s water distribution system and any maintenance performed directly affect the distribution system’s integrity. “With district staff performing the maintenance and repairs, the PUD can ensure that hydrants are repaired correctly and that they don’t damage the system through water hammer effects,” Sidhu explained.

There are approximately 3,500 fire hydrants connected to the PUD’s water systems in Skagit County, but hydrant ownership is not always clear. In 2014, PUD staff performed inspections of all public fire hydrants in its service areas, including completing inspection reports, GPS of the hydrant location, and tagging the hydrants. “At that time, the ownership of the hydrants was not pertinent to the district’s mission of performing the inspections,” Sidhu said.

The agreement provides for the formal transfer of ownership of 411 public fire hydrants in Sedro-Woolley to the PUD on January 1, 2023. The PUD agrees to perform annual maintenance to each fire hydrant at least once every five years.

“As part of a detailed assessment performed in Spring 2022, there are approximately 17 hydrants that need immediate repairs or replacement due to age and other factors,” Sidhu said. “The city has agreed to reimburse the PUD for all repair and replacement costs.”

Fiscal Impact

According to the agreement, the city will pay for the repair and replacement costs of the hydrants. The PUD will assume the ongoing annual cost of the maintenance of the fire hydrants, including labor, equipment, and materials.

“For the 411 public fire hydrants included in this agreement, we anticipate maintenance of about 82 per year, which results in approximately $30,000 per year,” Sidhu said. “The city also agrees to reimburse the PUD for right-of-way permit fees for our construction or maintenance work that requires a right-of-way permit from the city.”