We maintain in excess of 350 fire hydrants in the Town of Big Flats. This includes flushing, sandblasting, painting, greasing, installing, replacing, pressure testing, flow testing and any other task connected with fire hydrants.

Flushing these hydrants has several purposes. It is a great way to make sure that the hydrants are still in working order. While we are flushing a hydrant, we also grease them and check the caps to make sure the Fire Department can easily access them in the case of an emergency.

This service also keeps the main lines clean and fresh. If water stands in a line for too long, it may become unhealthy. We make it our business to know the areas that need extra flushing to keep the water safe and fresh. We also take daily tests at the pumphouses to ensure proper chlorine residuals for safe water.

Fire Hydrant maintenance is an ongoing and never-ending process. We flush every hydrant in Big Flats at least one time per year. Some hydrants require more attention, especially hydrants located on dead end water mains or in low usage areas. We normally flush the hydrants in the spring and fall. This allows us to avoid freezing conditions and avoid the peak flows of summer. If you happen to turn on a faucet while we are flushing, you may get a little rusty colored water. This is normal and can be taken care of by running your water for a few minutes until it clears up.

It is important for our residents, adults and children, to realize that hydrants should not be tampered with. Turning them on wastes water, lowers the pressure of the water within the area and makes fighting fires more difficult. If you need to use a hydrant contact the Water Department to apply for permission. Approval is dependent on the location of the hydrant, distance between the hydrant and pool, roads that have to be crossed, customer’s account standing and meter availability. There is a fee involved as well as the charge for actual usage.

If you see someone using a fire hydrant please call the Water Department. We will determine whether it is an authorized use or not. Normally contractors should be using the Fill Station at the Town Hall for bulk water usage. Unauthorized use of a fire hydrant is known as Theft of Service and is a misdemeanor.

Service Line

This line is run from the curb box (second valve) to the inside of the home or business. The second valve and curb box assembly enables the Water Department employees to access the valve in the case that the owner needs to have the water turned off for plumbing repairs or in the case of non-payment of a water bill.

Cross Connection Control

The goal of a cross-connection control and backflow prevention program is to ensure safe drinking water under all foreseeable circumstances. Each instance where potable water piping is improperly configured and can create the possibility of backflow threatens the health and safety of users and reduces the chances of realizing the cross-connection control and backflow prevention program goal. The possibility of backflow due to improper piping/configuration layout within facilities is especially significant because such cross-connections may easily result in the contamination of the drinking water system. These situations may result in the drinking water system becoming a transmitter of pathogenic organisms, toxic materials, or other hazardous substances which can adversely affect public health and welfare. The only protection against such occurrences is the elimination of cross-connections or the protection of the drinking water system by proper application of backflow prevention procedures.

Every meter in the Town of Big Flats should have some type of backflow device installed with it. Our residential customers have a non-testable backflow device. These types of applications (residences) have a low occurrence of contamination so the non-testable devices are acceptable. The commercial applications are much different and require a testable reduced pressure zone device (RPZ) or a double check valve to meet the NYSDOH standard.

New businesses are required to submit their backflow designs to the Big Flats Water Department (in triplicate). These packages should include the application (DOH347), drawings and an engineer’s report. All items are required to have original PE stamps. This process will take some time so you should start the process as soon as possible. The Big Flats Water Department will not turn on the water until this process has been properly completed. Also for new construction the Certificate of Occupancy will be affected.

New Water Service

There are a number of guidelines that must be followed when applying for new service. Please call the office at 562-8443 ext 227 or 228 for more information.

Commercial service:

  • New service

  • Existing service, transfer of ownership or new tenant

Residential service:

  • New service

  • Existing service, transfer of ownership or tenant

It is the policy of the Big Flats Water Department that the owner of record is ultimately responsible for the water bills. We will gladly bill the tenants but if they do not pay the owner is responsible. Unpaid water rents will be placed on the owners tax bill with an additional charge.

Meter and Meter Valves

The shut-off valves on either side of the meter are the responsibility of the homeowner. Most customers seldom need to turn off the water at the meter however you are encouraged to exercise the valves adjacent to the water meter at least 2 or 3 times a year to lessen the chance of the valve not functioning properly in an emergency. When a valve is not used for years, it can get stuck or break off when trying to open or close it. When this happens you will have to call us to turn off the water at the curb box. This may cause a delay depending on the time of day, while water continues to leak. If this service is needed after hours there is a charge for the call-out. On occasion our crew may have difficulty finding the curb box or find that the curb box is filled with sediment. Either scenario will delay the water being shut off. Being proactive and exercising the valves and maintaining the curb box will save you a lot of headaches down the road.

Curb Box

An underground valve somewhere in front of the home or business. This second valve would have a ‘curb box” mounted on top of it to allow access to the underground valve. The curb box resembles a pipe that starts at the top of the valve and extends vertically to the surface. A lid is then placed on the pipe-like structure to prevent dirt and debris from entering the curb box assembly and blocking the top of the valve. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to make sure the curb box does not get buried. Having to locate the curb box during an emergency will delay the water shut off.


The water service to your residence or business consists of basic elements regardless of the size of the meter or amount of usage. Each service has a curb box, a service line, a meter, and a backflow device.  Some services, for businesses in particular, are a little more complicated but the concept is the same.

Corporation Stop- The underground valve tapped into the water main. A line is then run to a curb box.