Waterbury residents may be seeing discolored water coming from their faucets, and officials are saying they believe someone is stealing water from fire hydrants.
Only authorized city personnel are allowed to open fire hydrants in Waterbury, and officials say it is illegal to steal the water and it is unsafe.
The mayor’s office said that illegally opening fire hydrants “is not only considered a theft of services,” but can cause discolored water. City officials said these actions can “result in a water main break if a hydrant’s pressure is not handled properly.”
Officials were alerted to this over the holiday weekend when the water department received several complaints of discolored water.
"We've had issues in the past with some folks illegally using hydrants, possibly filling up tankers for pool water and other services," said Waterbury Chief of Staff Joe Geary.
He said that when a hydrant is opened illegally, the volume of water can disrupt material in the pipes and cause discolored tap water, and that's not all. The thefts are also a public safety concern.
"The fact that somebody may improperly open a hydrant and may damage the hydrant may actually render it out of service," Geary said.
“This act represents a theft from every Waterbury taxpayer, and police are aggressively following several leads in their investigation,” the mayor’s office said in a statement on Tuesday.
Anyone who suspects water theft is asked to call the Waterbury Water Department weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at 203-574-8251 and press option 2, then option 3 to access the Dispatch Office. After hours or on weekends, people can call 203-574-8251.
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