Hillsborough suspends backflow enforcement

08/20/08 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:

At today’s Hillsborough County Commission meeting, the Board decided to temporarily halt enforcement of residential backflow prevention violations. Eight Sun City Center residents spoke in favor of the county suspending enforcement.

Many of the residents who spoke had received notices of violation because they do not have backflow valves that prevent the lake water they pump for irrigation from contaminating the drinking water supply. Expensive backflow pumps are required, even at houses where the two water systems are not connected with each other, said Joyce Nodland, president of the North Lake Association.

Sun City Center resident David Brown told the Commission that he thinks the backflow valves could be easy targets for vandals or people looking to cause harm through the county’s drinking water system.

A backflow pump requirement has been challenged in Palm Beach County, which is one reason why Paul Vanderploog, Hillsborough's director of Water Resource Services, recommended suspending enforcement.

The Board voted unanimously to delay enforcement of residential backflow prevention violations until October 1, 2009.

Commissioner Al Higginbotham asked county staff for a report about federal funds available for affordable housing.

During public comment, David McCallister, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, suggested that the so-called “Hillsborough Veterans Memorial Park” should be promoted as a tourist attraction. It is the site near I-4 and I-75 where his group plans to fly a giant Confederate battle flag. McCallister said there are two other tourist attractions in the county where a different flag is flown, one is the Seminole Indian Reservation and the other is Ybor City’s Jose Marti Park.

The Board also approved a budget amendment to appropriate $2.1 million to increase the budget for the court-related technology fund by taking the money out of the countywide general fund. A supermajority vote was required. It passed 6-0 with Commissioner Al Higginbotham absent.

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bad move

First, there is no such thing as a "backflow pump" to protect the drinking water distibution system, and second, the requirements to protect drinking water systems from contamination are state required, thus the county has no authority to suspend the rule.

Master Plumber, 28 years -

Whew! Glad to read that those ridiculous and expensive backflow pumps won't be enforced! Nobody needs such useless-to-harmful thinking to be siphoning bucks out of their wallet. Looking forward to DEP surveys, and fines, against the authorities-having-jurisdiction who abrogate their duty to ensure, [with an "e"], the integrity of the potable systems they are responsible for. Ignorance offers no protection, and free lunches are found in the dumpster. If you want to drink canal water, go ahead! Just don't try to serve it to me through the community's system! Why did the Commissioners make the halt temporary? Are they wimps? Are they suspicious that the move is ill-advised? Spend the pennies now, or loose the system later.

Tax Payer

Excellent move! This backflow requirement is BS! I expect the Plumbers to "fear Monger", but what else is new.

What are they thinking

Maybe they might want to red the EPA and State regulations on Backflow Prevention and Cross-Connection Control, They might want to even start with the Safe Drinking Water Act that is the foundation of the safety issue. Please council do some reaserch on the issue and reverse your ruleing before it costs the town and customers more money from fines and fees that installing them would be. BTW you just paid another $2.1 Million on some software that will make there job easier why not spend $250 thousand to protect the towns people.