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Published on Friday, March 15, 2013

Clarifying authority for fire hydrant cost recovery

Both House and Senate versions of this bill have passed (HB 1512/SB 5606). The bills clarify the authority of water purveyors to supply fire suppression water facilities (such as fire hydrants) and to recover the costs of providing those facilities and services.

A series of Washington Supreme Court decisions left a wake of important questions unresolved regarding who pays for fire hydrants (and associated facilities), what costs may be recovered, and the mechanism or process that may be used for cost recovery. Many cities have been forced to shift the costs of fire hydrants from their water utilities to their general funds. Others were being billed by the water district(s) serving their city. Passage of this proposal would allow for the cost of fire suppression water facilities to once again be paid for through water utility revenues.