Letter to the Editor: January 29, 2015

Published on: January 28, 2015

Hijacked by the bureaucracy

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection,  or FDEP, recently established statewide regulations for homeowners who irrigate their lawns from a pond or well. The FDEP approved the Dual Check valve as the basic device to prevent the backflow of pond and well water from being over-pressured back into the County’s drinking water system.  Palm Beach County has been using Dual Checks in their residential areas for a number of years. The FDEP has projected that the statewide use of Dual Checks in local Ordinances will result in savings of almost $40 million per year to Floridians.  Prorated to Hillsborough County, that is a savings of over $2.5 million dollars per year for homeowners!

A revised version of the Hillsborough County Ordinance 03-6 is being drafted by Ed Helvenston (County Attorney’s Office) and George Cassady and Bob Tisdale (Public Utilities Dept).

What could possibly go wrong with that arrangement?

For starters, instead of specifying the basic and inexpensive Dual Check that the FDEP approved and that would have saved County residents over $2.5 million per year, these three have chosen a valve that they know will pass through costs to homeowners of $100 to $800, year after year.

Instead of specifying the basic tamper-proof Dual Check, these three have selected a valve that they know provides direct access into the County’s public drinking water system for contamination by terrorists. [sic]

And perhaps most telling of all, instead of drafting an Ordinance based on the cost/benefit of the Dual Check, these three have chosen a valve that they know will create the framework for a lucrative kickback scheme.

The revised Ordinance will come up for approval by the County Commissioners sometime this spring.  I encourage The Observer News readers who irrigate from a well or pond to contact their Commissioners now and ask them to only accept the Ordinance if it specifies the economical and safe Dual Check valve.

To let the Commissioners know how you feel about this matter, go to hillsboroughcounty.org and click on “How do I … Contact My Commissioner.”

David Brown
Sun City Center

The writer is the Citizen Representative on the Hillsborough County Cross-Connection & Backflow Control Board. He has received Hillsborough County’s Moral Courage Award and the Florida Senate’s Medallion Award of Excellence for his work on behalf of citizens.