TCEQ Proposes Rules on Fire Hydrant Water Flow

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) recently proposed rules implementing H.B. 1973.  The bill, passed in 2013, requires TCEQ to set standards for the installation of fire hydrants and to establish flow standards to provide enough water for fire suppression.

Investor owned water utilities (IOUs) and Water Supply Corporations (WSCs) sometimes serve areas in a city or the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ). Some of those utilities have poor service quality, including fire hydrants with insufficient flow.

The proposed rules amend the Texas Administrative Code section on “Minimum Acceptable Operating Practices for Public Drinking Water Systems.”   Under the proposal, a city council may adopt standards set by the TCEQ to require an IOU or WSC utility located in the city or the city’s ETJ to maintain certain water flow and pressure to fire hydrants in residential areas. 

The proposed minimum standard is based on standards used by the Insurance Services Office, which rates fire systems for insurance purposes.  The minimum sufficient water flow must be at least 250 gallons per minute for at least two hours, and the minimum sufficient water pressure must be at least 20 psi.  Under the proposal, a city must submit a signed copy of its ordinance to the TCEQ executive director within 60 days of adoption.

(Note: This proposal does not apply to the City of Houston, and the Cities of Buda, Cibolo, Crowley, Glenn Heights, and Kyle may have additional compliance procedures in accordable with S.B. 1086, a similar bill that passed last session.) 

League staff will be working with stakeholders to develop example documents for cities interested in adopting these rules.  The example documents will be made available once the proposed rules are finally adopted by the TCEQ.  Please contact Heather Mahurin, TML legal counsel, at 512-231-7400 or with questions. 


TML member cities may use the material herein for any purpose. No other person or entity may reproduce, duplicate, or distribute any part of this document without the written authorization of the Texas Municipal League.

Back to Legislative Update Index