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Cross Connection Backflow Prevention - Hillsborough Co FL

Backflow Devices in Hillsborough County:
NEW 2017: Hillsborough Co Backflow Replacement:
Rule (§ 62-555.360 F.A.C.) Florida DEP, May 5, 2014
A big win for Florida homeowners, DEP revises rule rejecting the requirement for the more expensive RPZ and Double Check devices saving $MILLIONS$ in cost to homeowners. The new Florida standard is now the less expensive and easy to maintain Dual Check Devices. It took five years, but change finally took place! Enforcement has been suspended since 2008.

Tampa, FL August 18, 2009 Tampa Tribune by: Christian M. Wade
Thousands of Tampa Bay area property owners could soon be saddled with the cost of installing devices to prevent the contamination of public drinking-water supplies. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection plans to begin enforcing rules that require government and investor-owned utilities across the state to retrofit homes and businesses with backflow protection. City officials have estimated that retrofitting the 1,700 commercial and multifamily units in the city's water service area with backflow prevention would cost about $34 million.

Tampa, FL August 18, 2009
Public show up to talk at the Hillsborough County Cross Connection, Backflow and Back-Siphonage Control Board's quarterly meeting. But no board attorney, no chairman, only a few members showed up! The meeting was over in 15 minutes, nothing done. Why do we need this board? They don't even show up for a quarterly meeting.

Hillsborough Co, FL May 20, 2009
County Commission passes automatic water rate increases, forever with no real limits! Water rates to be indexed with CPI. Water rates for 8,000 gallons, (Tampa $12.42, Hillsborough County $38.08). Yet another blank check has been written for the Water Utility. Looks like they will all be driving new trucks next year at rate payer expense and will never have a public hearing for rate increases. No incentive to control spending. The water rate increase will only stop when the checking account is full. The account will never be full because of increased spending. Water users fooled again! The water utility will spend every penny as the rates are increased automatically. When the CPI falls, the rate payer will be called upon to bail them out.
The only no vote, Commissioner Al Higginbotham, District 4.

Backflow Prevention Devices
Videos by Dave Brown: (May 5, 2009)

Bureacratic beast plays nice
Palm Beach Post Editorial, Sunday, January 11, 2009
A bureaucracy is an animal that munches tons of paper, conducts months-to-years of hearings and/or studies and then comes to a conclusion that is unintelligible, inconvenient, unenforceable or some combination thereof.

But the beast doesn't always behave that way, as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has shown on the arcane matter of - Warning: bureaucratic term coming - backflow prevention devices.

After studying the backflow issue, the DEP announced last month that it would not require homeowners to spend millions to install the devices. Instead, local utilities will have the option of allowing homeowners to install dual-check valves, which are smaller, cheaper at about $100 and require no annual inspection. Installed underground near the water meter, many already are in place. The consensus was that the dual-check valves will work just fine.

Clearly, the DEP didn't just sit at public hearings - including one in West Palm Beach over the summer - with fingers in ears and minds made up. Expensive backflow devices were the first choice of engineers, but they were the last choice of homeowners already dealing with a horrible economy and brutal insurance costs. Not only is the DEP allowing a cheaper option, it actually is endorsing the cheapest available option.

Ft. Lauderdale, FL - Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - Sun-Sentinel by Andy Reid
State spares residents from costly sprinkler add-ons
Homeowners won't have to add expensive and unattractive contamination-control devices to their sprinkler systems thanks to a compromise between utilities and state regulators. The state was planning to require residents with sprinkler systems that tap wells, canals or retention ponds, as well as those fed by treated wastewater, to install pollution protectors that utility officials in Palm Beach and Broward counties considered unnecessary and too costly.

Palm Beach, FL - Monday, December 29, 2008 - Palm Beach Post by Bill Dipaolo
State backs off requiring $500 backflow prevention devices
Rather than requiring the 18-inch-tall brass gadgets on homeowner's front lawns, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection announced Tuesday it would amend its regulations and give local utilities the option of installing other lower-cost models as cheap as $100.
When asked the impact the public opposition had on DEP's decision, DEP Spokesperson Dee Ann Miller replied in an e-mail: "Based upon a careful consideration of comments received from the workgroup members and other interested parties at the public meeting, along with comments submitted since the meeting, the Department is proposing to amend the current rule requirements."

Tallahassee, FL - December 23, 2008: Finally a proposed rule revision from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) for Backflow Protection Requirements for residential users of auxilary water! Installation of Reduced Pressure Zone (RPZ) Valves will no longer be mandatory! Several lower cost alternatives have been proposed by Florida DEP. For Hillsborough County, the County's plan to install backflow devices and Automated Meter Reading (AMR) equipment within the customer water meter will meet the proposed FDEP rules, making the above ground RPZ's a thing of the past. This is GREAT NEWS, saving water customers in FL approximately $1 Billion dollars.

Hillsborough Co, FL November 13, 2008: Water Resource Services (WRS) Attorney Ed Helvenston.
Based on allegations that employees of WRS were illegally selling water customer information:
Quote "WRS staff has been requested not to provide any CDs with backflow device information until all exempt information has been excised from the records."

Hillsborough Co, FL November 13, 2008: Bart Weiss WRS Division Director of Strategic Water Management.
Quote "we have halted the sale of this information until this issue is clarified."

It appears that employees of WRS were unaware of FS 119.07 exempting certain information from public release. The sale involved water customer information including names and addresses of all backflow devices in Hillsborough County along with the inspection due dates. The information was sold for $40 per CD-ROM to plumbing contractors, licensed backflow protection inspectors and anyone else who wanted a copy. This site has a copy of these files but will not be posting them because they contain the names and home addresses of police officers and other exempt officials.

Tallahassee, FL September 24, 2008 by the Admin of FDEP Drinking Water Section, Van Hoofnagle.
After receiving complaints about the need and cost of above ground RPZ, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection suspended enforcement on all residential backflow protection devices.
QUOTE: "Given our present deliberations, we are advising all of our program offices to suspend any ongoing or new enforcement actions on the CCC program until January 1, 2009."

Tampa, FL By MIKE SALINERO - Tampa Tribune, August 24, 2008
Complants about the high cost of backflow prevention devices prompt the Hillsborough County Commission to suspend the enforcement for residential water users.
when Hillsborough County recently issued 14 citations to residents in the North Lake neighborhood of Sun City, it triggered a revolt..... residents won a victory of sorts Wednesday when the county water department agreed to delay enforcement of the backflow protection ordinance for up to a year. The delay must be OK'd by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Jackson, MS - Northside Sun - Thursday, July 17, 2008
Backflow devices not required by residents
OFFICIALS SAY Northsiders can disregard a letter mailed to them by the city of Jackson regarding cross-connection devices, and now they have the Mississippi Attorney General’s office backing them up. In a three-page document dated June 23, Deputy Attorney General Mike Lanford wrote that the city doesn’t have the authority to require annual inspections on cross-connection devices considered low risk by Mississippi Code 41-26-14. He further opined that municipalities are “prohibited by statute from requiring the installation of backflow prevention devices in cross-connections that are deemed low hazard and as posing a very low risk.”

Palm Beach County sides with homeowners, against pricey water device
By JENNIFER SORENTRUE and DIANNA SMITH, Palm Beach Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Palm Beach County commissioners this morning asked their lobbying team to help fight a proposed rule that could require homeowners to spend more than $500 on a device that protects drinking water.

The commission agreed its team of Tallahassee lobbyists should work with county utility officials to block the rule, which would require all county homeowners who use water from canals, wells or lakes for irrigation to install 18-inch-tall brass gadgets in their front yards.

Homes might need costly new water devices
By Andy Reid (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
June 22, 2008

Little-known state water rules could lead to big-time hassles for South Florida homeowners.

Residents with sprinkler systems that tap wells, canals or retention ponds could be required to install expensive contamination control devices — a move utility officials in Palm Beach and Broward counties consider unnecessary.

Priced between $500 and $800, the "backflow" prevention devices are intended to keep potential contaminants in supplementary water supplies from getting into drinking water lines. Yearly testing of the devices would cost about $75.

State of Florida considers residential backflow prevention devices (Palm Beach Post) .
The DEP "is smoking wacky tobaccy making this requirement," said Bevin Beaudet, director of the county's water utilities department. "We're talking about retrofitting thousands of homes in Florida: from little cottages in North Florida to mansions in gated communities," Beaudet said.

Not happening in this state!

(Hillsborough County Considers 4 Options) additional cost could run up to $16 million a year
Cross Connection Backflow Prevention Ordinance:

Backflow Prevention - Hillsborough County FL - Residential Water Customers
Hillsborough County Florida: Homeowners forced to install $500-$800 devices! These devices are not required by Federal or State Water Regulations. Under State and Federal regulations the need for a backflow device is based on hazards and risk found at the water meter connection. Most water utility systems have determined residential properties to be low hazard with little risk. A cross connection to an auxiliary water system (well/lake/canal) is generally not allowed. In Hillsborough County residential property owners with non-connected stand alone water irrigation systems are required to purchase, install and perform annual inspections for a Reduction Pressure Backflow Preventer (RPBP). This is an unnecessary and expensive requirement.

State of Florida Requirements:
Cross-Connection is prohibited but if discovered can be eliminated by installing a RPBP or discontinue service until the contaminant source is eliminated.

Broward County Florida: No requirements for residential water customers:

The Hillsborough Co FL Cross Connection Backflow Prevention Ordinance should be changed. The State of Florida should inact a statute that places uniform limits on what can be imposed on the residential water customer and prohibit water systems from implementing more stringent or extensive regulations for residential water customers. Such as the statutes in South Carolina and Mississippi which exempts residential connects and prohibits local requirements for them.

Many States have now concluded that expending resources to survey and monitor residential water connections for backflow prevention devices is not cost effective and should be discontinued.
State of Wyoming - Exempts all Residential Customers:

State of Arizona - Exempts all Residential Customers:
State of Utah - Exempts all Residential Customers:
State of Missouri - Exempts all Residential Customers:
State of Mississippi - Exempts all Residential Customers:
State of South Carolina - Exempts all Residential Customers:

A good example of a workable policy for residential water customers can be found in the New York State Statute:
The key elements would be:
Residential water users with an auxiliary water supply must do ONE of the following:
1. Submit to an inspection to insure no cross connections exist
2. Abandon the auxiliary water supply
3. Install a backflow prevention device (RPBP)
4. Analyze water from the auxiliary supply in insure that it is safe

Reduction Pressure Backflow Preventer (RPBP)'s are rated for "High Hazard" installations protecting potable water from all kinds of chemical and health hazards. Having a non-connected residential water well in Hillsborough County is considered to be more of a hazard to the potable water supply than other potential hazards as listed in the American Water Works Association Manual. The manual list in this order, potential hazards for residential water services:
"pets, livestock, fish, chemicals, pools, fountains, irrigation, dialysis equipment, developing equipment, gray water, reclaimed water, an auxiliary water supply, heating & cooling equipment and other equipment or operations that use water." Hillsborough has elected to survey, monitor and enforce, at water customer expense, auxiliary water supplies used soley for residential lawn irrigation.

The water utilities should give owners of auxiliary water supplies an incentive for reducing the County's need to increase capacity for treated water. Without the many auxiliary water wells in Hillsborough County the water system would suffer from critical shortages and require additional treatment plants. A partnership would be much better than violation notices being placed on front doors throughout the neighborhood.

Hillsborough County policy may change on October 1, 2008. The County may assume maintenance and inspections of all residential backflow prevention devices. Of course this will be be indirectly billed back to the water customer as higher rates. Perhaps this is an incentive?

Other Hillsborough County citizens are also concerned and have added thier comments here:
Backflow Valve Controversy - Hillsborough County Florida
Backflow Prevention Ordinance

Hillsborough County has a special board to hear complants about the backflow prevention ordinance. During a recent meeting this board voted to limit citizen input to 5 minutes each, showing little concern for what the homeowners had to say. A core element of good government should be to increase interaction with citizens which will lead to better policy making decisions.
Residential 4 Water Well
Residential 4" Water Well
Feeds Directly into Irrigation System
Feeds Directly into Irrigation System
Cross Connection Disconnected
Cross Connection Disconnected
No Cross Connection
No Cross Connection
Required Backflow Prevention Device
Required Backflow Prevention Device
Hillsborough County Florida
Hillsborough County Florida
Unsightly Backflow Devices
Unsightly Backflow Devices
Subject to Theft and Vandalism
Subject to Theft and Vandalism
Water Pressure Tank - No Cross Connection
Water Pressure Tank - No Cross Connection
Cross Connection Backflow Prevention
Cross Connection Backflow Prevention
What about Rain Barrels - Auxiliary Water
What about Rain Barrels - Auxiliary Water
Backflow Devices Not Required
Backflow Devices Not Required
Backflow Devices Proposed in Florida
Backflow Devices Proposed in Florida