WASHINGTON –It turns out that local municipalities in Western New York haven’t wasted $554,900 on useless fire hydrants after all.

The Environmental Protection Agency was all set to render those fire hydrants useless by dramatically limiting the amount of lead that can be included in such devices, but all that changed this week when the Senate finalized legislation allowing the fire hydrants to be used.

That came as good new to Sen. Charles E. Schumer, the New York Democrat who pushed that legislation – which had already passed the House – through the Senate.

“The EPA’s sudden mandate to include fire hydrants, which are not a prime source for drinking water, in their reduced-lead standards was a classic case of federal bureaucracy unwisely harming our local communities and their budgets,” said Schumer, who announced the Senate action Wednesday. “Thankfully, common sense prevailed and members from both parties and both houses came together to pass this bill that saves municipalities across New York millions of dollars in costs that would otherwise be flushed away.”

In Western New York, the proposed EPA rules would have cost the Erie County Water Authority $309,000, while Niagara Falls would have had $102,800 in useless fire hydrants. Other fire departments throughout the region reported that they would have been stuck with $143,100 in unusable hydrants.