Erosion Control Company Penalized $18,975

Erosion Control Company Penalized $18,975
Following Backflow Incident Involving Somerset Water Supply

BOSTON - The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) penalized R.B. Arello Company, Inc. (d/b/a Hydrograss Technologies, Inc.) $18,975 in response to a backflow incident to the Somerset Water Supply, which resulted in a Do Not Drink Order, that occurred when Hydrograss was acting as subcontractor to Cianbro/Middlesex at the Veteran's Memorial Bridge construction project in Somerset.

On May 31, 2011, Hydrograss was conducting hydroseeding for this project, in part as an erosion control measure, when an employee accessed a new fire hydrant located adjacent to a nearby nursing home. The nursing home at that time was drawing in large quantities of water, and the improper connection by Hydrograss - a violation - and the change in pressure at the hydrant, caused a backflow that resulted in hydroseed material being drawn into the water distribution system.

Soon after, the Town of Somerset notified MassDEP of the presence of hydroseed material in the public water supply distribution system. MassDEP immediately issued a Do Not Drink Order to Somerset, and the order remained in effect from May 31 to June 2, 2011, while the system was flushed out and tested for hydroseed material.

"Contractors and operators withdrawing from public water supplies must be fully aware of their responsibilities under the regulations in order to prevent any impacts to a public water supply or its distribution system," said David Johnston, director of MassDEP's Southeast Regional Office in Lakeville. "The slightest inattention to detail while connecting to a public water supply can impact a community for days."

Hydrograss took immediate, responsible actions itself, and has since worked to prevent any future backflow incidents by conducting additional employee training sessions. Also, Hydrograss has initiated safeguards, including the purchasing of mechanical backflow preventers/fittings and outfitting its trucks so that proper connection to hydrants is ensured. In addition to admitting to the violation, Hydrograss has agreed to pay the full $18,975 penalty.

City of Sarasota spending $1.2 million for backflow devices

The Sarasota City Commission said Monday it would prefer the city pay $1.2 million over the next five years to install backflow prevention devices than endure the code-enforcement headaches that would ensue if it leaves the financial responsibility up to the city’s water users.

During its Oct. 3 regular meeting, the commission agreed to spend $250,000 per year for the next five years to install approximately 3,000 residential and 1,400 commercial backflow devices.

In an emergency, such a device prevents the backflow of contaminated water from a house or office into the city’s water system.

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Court rules homeowners responsible for improper sewer connection missed by city

Municipal plumbing inspectors can breathe a sigh of relief Thursday after a state Court of Appeals ruled communities do not have to pay homeowners' costs of correcting private sewer misconnections overlooked by inspectors.

A West Bend couple lived in their home for nine years before a city official notified them in 2008 that their private sanitary sewer lateral was discharging to a storm sewer instead of the public sanitary sewer main beneath the street.

An investigation determined that a private plumber connected the lateral to the wrong sewer when the Fairview Drive home was built in 1999.
Scott and Danette Neuendorf sued the city for negligence to recover costs of correcting the mistake, alleging a city inspector should have discovered the cross-connection in 1999.

Though an inspector generally is required to check compliance with municipal codes, there is no requirement that an inspector must verify a sanitary lateral's proper connection to a public sanitary sewer, the state appeals court said in a decision released Thursday.

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BLOGGER'S NOTE - Although this story is about a sewer cross connection, liability will be similar in a water cross connection. The ultimate reponsibility lies with the property owner and their licensed plumber.

Police Shed New Light on Fatal Beating of Security Guard

Victim's Wife Urges Thieves To Come Forward

Palm Beach Gardens police officers shared some new details Monday about a brutal beating that left a security guard dead after being in a coma for 10 weeks.
Jacques Novembre, 61, was working an overnight shift at the Promenade Shopping Center on Alternate A1A when he was beaten and left to die. Investigators said Novembre likely approached criminals in the act of stealing backflow prevention devices, WPBF 25 News' Ted White reported Monday.

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Time to Winterize

The first freeze for North Platte, NE was on Sept. 30, so now's the time to get your sprinkler system winterized.

Whether you have a professional help you out, or you do it yourself, there are some things to remember as you start the process of preparing your sprinkler system and your lawn for the winter months. Mostly, you want to avoid having any frost on any above ground equipment, which can lead to costly repairs.

If you have any above ground components, make sure to get them covered for additional protection.

"Backflow devices may be wrapped with several old towels or blankets and then covered with a trash can," said a release from Barr's Sprinkler Systems in North Platte. Freezing can easily damage pumps and backflow devices.

For do it yourselfers, T.J. Williams, with the Sprinkler Medic in North Platte, recommends making sure you have the proper air compressor.

"A lot of home air compressors don't have the volume to blow them out properly," Williams said.

However, he said anything above 80 PSI could damage your system. He said his company uses about 50-60 PSI when they winterize systems. Barr's recommends a one horsepower, or more, air compressor.

"Make sure your water is shut off at the source," Williams said. "Leave your blackflow open to drain when you're done blowing it out. Make sure you have completely evacuated the system."

Also, for do it yourselfers, remember to set your valves to semi-open, or at a 45-degree angle.

McAllen Ordinance Requires Backflow Preventers

Beginning October 1, 2011 backflow preventers are required by law in the City of McAllen to prevent water contamination. What is a backflow preventer and who needs one? Watch this YouTube video produced by the McAllen Cable Network.

New Phila Commences Backflow Program

Possible water contamination and other issues could soon be a thing of the past for some area residents.

Last week at a New Philadelphia council meeting, New Philadelphia Service Director Jim Zucal announced the city was planning to move forward with its new backflow program.

Zucal says the entire program, while not focusing on specific areas, will encompass a large part of the city.

Cross-Connections Still the Major Topic of Kirkland Question Period

Attendance was about half of the last Kirkland council meeting held at the beginning of the month but those who came still voiced their concerns over the fact that the owners of the suspected homes with cross connected pipes have to pay for the work themselves.

A resident, who had written a letter to Mayor John Meaney, asked council why the city hired two lawyers instead of two inspection engineers to help out the affected citizens. “I am not going to answer that question,” Meaney said. “I will take it under advisement and respond to you in writing.”

Questions Over Water Quality at Philly Airport

Philadelphia International Airport has lost its "approved" status for watering and aircraft servicing, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said in an Aug. 9 warning letter to airport executive Mark Gale.

In the warning letter, FDA put Philadelphia International Airport on "provisional" status, giving it 30 days to either regain approved status or face being listed as "non-approved" for carrier use.  In the worst case scenario, being non-approved could shut down all or part of one of the East Coast's second-tier airports.

Magnolia Homeowners Must Have Backflow Prevention Devices Tested

Magnolia homeowners with underground lawn sprinkler systems will soon experience full enforcement of inspection requirements.

Magnolia Water System general manager Robert Baxley said the city has had "Cross Connection Program Ordinance 6-02" in place since May 2006, but that it hasn't been fully enforced.

Baxley said in a statement that he had a meeting with the Arkansas Department of Health's cross connection program administrator, and was advised to enforce its rules.

A Sneak A-Tax Arrives in the Mail

To the editor:

We have received a letter from a certain Mr. Al Hildred of Aquarion Water Company, who has the wonderful title of "Cross Connection Control." He informs us that according to PHC Reg 19-13-B38 we must have our lawn irrigation system checked to ensure that we have a backflow prevention device and that it is functioning properly, lest we unluckily die of contamination due to back-siphonage or back-pressure. Further, the price for this test is $55. I am informed by our provider that Aquarion will do the test for the same price.

W. Dundee to Survey Property Owners on Need for Backflow Device

WEST DUNDEE — Weekend warriors who have installed their own lawn irrigation systems without a permit are destined to inherit another project, village officials say.

Following Illinois Environmental Protection Agency regulations, the village board recently adopted a survey process to determine if residents need to install a backflow prevention device on their property.

The device, used to protect the public water supply from contamination or pollution, already can be found on more than a quarter of the properties in the village, West Dundee Public Works Director Rich Babica said.

Cost of Installing New Devices for Water Systems Irritates Residents

EMC News - With the cost of tipping fees, bag tags, water rates and taxes on the rise, some Kemptville residents are concerned with the latest requirement to install backflow prevention devices and lockable shut-off valves to their water systems.

Those concerns have prompted council to explore possible payment plans to make the changeover more manageable for residents.

Backflow Testing Debate Delayed

LAKE WALES - There's a lot of concern about a proposed plan to have the city do backflow device testing.

Mayor Mike Carter had asked to have backflow preventers on Tuesday's workshop because he'd received calls suggesting the city might take money away from local plumbers by doing testing in-house.

It also could cost residents quite a bit to comply with state and federal rules to have the devices.

Stolen Plumbing Parts Crippling Local Businesses

Customers hoping to eat at McDonald's on Wednesday received an unusual greeting.

"Sorry, we're closed!" said one employee.

The franchise located on Jackson St. was closed because someone stole its backflow valve located outside. As a result, there was no water service or water pressure.

Niles Shuts Off Water to Businesses for Failure to do Tests

The city’s water superintendent briefly shut down water service to five prominent businesses last week and warned that more could face the same fate for failing to test their backflow devices.

Backflow is the unintentional reversal of flow in a potable water system that could contaminate drinking water.

Neighborhoods Left in the Dark, Parks Suffer

Before dawn on Monday, Scot Smelker’s phone rang.

Water, the caller said, was spouting like geysers -- hundreds of gallons a second into the sky -- from an irrigation system Smelker’s All American Landscape Co. maintains in Stetson Hills.  Thieves had broken through steel cages and stolen seven expensive copper valves...

School District Sues Over Flooded Building

Five years after a new addition was built to one of its schools, the Pontiac-William Holliday School District claims it sustained major damages when an excessive amount of discharge water flooded the recently constructed school structure.  [...]

The school district claims a backflow preventer valve malfunctioned during the night of May 26, 2009, causing an excessive amount of water to be discharged directly into the new domed school addition.

Police: Do Not Drink Water in Somerset

SOMERSET, Mass., (WPRI) - Police are advising people not to drink the water in Somerset.

Authorities issued the order after there was a cross connection when a hydroseeding company connected to a fire hydrant.

Unlawful Connection Caused Water Warning

KILAUEA, HAWAII - A "do not use" advisory in Kilauea last week was caused by an unlawful cross connection that was installed by a Department of Water customer in Kilauea, a county press released stated.

The cross connection was caused by the customer connecting a surface water irrigation line to the water system without an approved backflow preventer. When the pressure in the irrigation line increased, irrigation water was pushed into the county water system, causing the contamination, according to the release.

Harmless Garden Hose?

What appears to be a harmless garden hose connection creates a dangerous cross connection between potable and non-potable water.

High Pressure Steam Cross-Connect

Bad Idea:  High pressure steam pipes and eye wash station cross-connection.