Fire Hydrant Use Policy


The purpose of this policy is to protect City fire hydrants and the water system from damage and contamination. This policy establishes rules and requirements for permitted uses of water system hydrants in the City of La Crosse.


  1. Water system hydrants are intended for fire protection and water system maintenance, and are designed for short-term, infrequent use. Continuous or long-term use causes hydrant damage and will not be permitted. Examples of uses that are not permitted include, but are not limited to, seasonal lawn and garden watering and other recurring uses where a permanent water service is warranted, as determined by the Water Utility Superintendent or his/her representative.

  1. No hydrant use will be allowed under conditions that may cause damage to the hydrant or the water system, or affect the quality of the public water supply, as determined by the Water Utility Superintendent or his/her representative.

  1. The La Crosse Water Utility reserves the right to limit the number of hydrants that are available for use, or to designate specific hydrant locations.

  1. Any use of hydrants in the City of La Crosse shall require installation of an approved method of cross-connection control AND a water meter or other approved water use recording method.

  1. The La Crosse Water Utility will provide water meters, cross-connection control, and installation & operation guidelines for use with City hydrants. The following conditions shall apply:

    • Except for fire protection and emergency water system maintenance, hydrant use will be limited each year between November 1 through March 31. Hydrant use may be allowed during these times, weather and temperature permitting. Any person who is permitted to use hydrants during these times must report the location(s) of hydrants (608/789-7384) at the end of every workday.

    • Persons using a La Crosse Hydrants shall agree to legibly complete and sign a permit application form and provide the Water Utility with all required information.

    • Persons using La Crosse hydrants shall provide the Water Utility with a weekly report summarizing the location(s) of hydrants used in the City.

    • Persons using La Crosse hydrants are responsible for all damages to the hydrants caused by their use.

    • Meters and cross-connection control devices shall be returned only during normal business hours. Returned items may be inspected by the La Crosse Water Utility. Any hydrant meter or cross-connection control device returned in damaged condition will be charged back to the hydrant user at full replacement cost.

  1. Meters

    • Meters used with hydrants shall be supplied by the La Crosse Water Utility. Meters are available from the Myrick Pumping Station only during normal business hours: Monday through Friday, 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

    • Hydrant meter sizes are limited to 5/8-inch, ¾-inch, and 3-inch. Fixed quarterly charges for the meter, and water use charges, will correspond to current rates as reviewed and established by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission from time to time.

  1. Cross-connection control devices

    • For 5/8-inch and ¾-inch hydrant meters, cross-control control devices for hose connections will be provided.

    • Integral meter/cross-connection control devices assemblies for 3-inch hydrant meters are available from the Water Utility with the following conditions:

      • The Water Utility will stock a maximum quantity of six (6) meter/cross-connection control device assemblies suitable for use with the 3-inch hydrant meters. These assemblies will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Contractors will be limited to one assembly for their business. If all available assemblies are in-use, no additional 3-inch hydrant meters will be permitted.

      • A minimum of one day’s notice shall be required to schedule installation, removal, and moving meter/cross-connection control device assemblies.

      • Water Utility personnel only shall install, remove, and move Utility-owned meter/cross-connection control device assemblies.

      • Hydrant use requiring installation of a Water Utility supplied meter/cross-connection control device will not be permitted on weekends or City-observed holidays.

      • Charges, as established and revised from time to time by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, shall be charged to cover costs for operation, maintenance, replacement and testing/calibration of Utility-owned meter/cross-connection control device assemblies.

      • Any overtime labor costs that result from requests to install, remove or move meters/cross-connection control devices will be charged to the hydrant user.

    • Permitted hydrant users may purchase and use their own cross-connection control device, to be used with a Utility-issued 3” water meter, provided:

      • The device is state-approved.

      • The device is maintained as required by manufacturer’s recommendations.

      • The device is certified as required by the current Wisconsin Plumbing Code. Hydrant user shall be required to submit and maintain documentation of current certification status to the La Crosse Water Utility.

      • The device shall exactly match the pipe thread standards of the hydrant meter supplied by the Utility, with no adapters or modifications allowed. 3-inch hydrant meters are supplied with a 2-1/2” NPT male connection.

      • The assembled meter/cross-connection control device assembly shall be supported from the ground such that the hydrant is not bearing the weight of the assembly.

      • The Water Utility will provide information instructing permitted hydrant users on the proper operation and use of City fire hydrants. Hydrant users are responsible for reading and following these operating instructions, as well as for damage to the hydrants resulting from improper use.

      • Any hydrant damaged by improper use will be repaired by the La Crosse Water Utility. Charges for hydrant repairs will be billed to the party responsible for the damage.

      • Violation of any part of the City of La Crosse Hydrant Use Policy will result in immediate loss of hydrant use privileges.

      • The current Hydrant Use Policy will be filed with the Wisconsin Public Service Commission. Penalties may result for violation of this policy in accordance with conditions of the current City of La Crosse Code of Ordinances.

Approved by the Board of Public Works: April 11, 2003

Plumbers & Contractors Links

Locating & Operating the Water Service Curb Box

Plumbers and/or property owners should contact us at (608) 789-7536 before operating the curb box.  We will mark the box and make sure it is working correctly. 

Locate and Check Policy

Diggers Hotline

Call Diggers Hotline® a minimum of three working days before starting any outdoor construction or home improvement project that requires digging. They can help identify costly and dangerous utilities that can be buried just inches beneath your yard's surface.

24 hours a day, 7 days a week you can call 1-800-242-8511 or file a request with Diggers Hotline online by clicking here

Adopt a Hydrant

During the winter months, it is imperative to keep snow away from the water hydrants in front of your homes. In the event a fire would break out in your home and the firefighters had to dig out the hydrants in your neighborhood, the extra time to uncover these hydrants could possibly cost lives.

Though the utility has crews attempt to keep hydrants clear, customers can also help by making sure the hydrants are easily accessible and uncovered when out clearing their sidewalks and parking areas.