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Manatee County Government Administrative Center Commission Chambers, First Floor 9:00 a.m. - September 24, 2013
September 24, 2013 - Regular Meeting
Agenda Item #48


Subject
Reclaimed Water Connection Fee Adjustments to Address Backflow Prevention Device Standards Issues in Country Meadows

Briefings
Briefing Provided Upon Request

Contact and/or Presenter Information

Mark Simpson, Water Division Manager, x-5258



Action Requested

Approval of reclaimed water connection fee adjustments to offset customer costs for correcting backflow prevention devices in Country Meadows that do not meet current County Standards



Enabling/Regulating Authority

Section 2-31-103, of the Manatee County Code of Ordinances, - Powers of the county (k) allows the county to provide “exemptions from rates, fees, charges and/or assessments for certain users of the system”, “provided such exemptions are fair and reasonable.”



Background Discussion

The reclaimed water system in the Country Meadows subdivision was installed as a ‘dry system’, meaning it was not connected to a water source as the county reclaimed system was not available. However, the Land Development Code required properties there to have an irrigation system, so potable water for irrigation was allowed as a temporary source to protect the landscape investments of the property owners until the County reclaimed system was extended to reach this subdivision. Unfortunately, economic considerations delayed extension of the reclaimed system and development build-out.

In response to requests from the Country Meadows HOA for reclaimed water service, Manatee County was able to secure a cooperative funding grant from the Southwest Florida Water Management District and was able to complete the reclaimed water extension to the system in Country Meadows in June 2013. As residents called to arrange for new reclaimed service to their properties, several challenging issues arose in this unique scenario of conversion of a ‘dry line’ system. Regulations require that before a reclaimed water meter is installed, proper protection from backflow/back siphonage on the potable water line that meets current Utility Standards must be present.  Although all of the homes in Country Meadows had backflow prevention devices installed on their potable lines serving their home and their irrigation system, some did not have the type required if reclaimed water is present. In addition, many did not meet the Utilities Standards for materials or installation, some of which may have changed over the years, but others have not. Acknowledging some degree of County responsibility for the existence of these sub-standard devices, we propose to compensate the residents for the changes required through an adjustment of their reclaimed water connection fee.

A site inspection of the 244 properties with residences in Country Meadows was conducted by UD personnel noting deficiencies in existing backflow devices and changes needed before reclaimed water meters could be installed. The needed actions for each site included those required to bring existing backflow prevention devices up to the current standard (correct type, material, height, etc.) and those needed even if an installed device met standards (removal of second BPD, connection of irrigation system to reclaimed meter box). Four levels of adjustment to the $300 connection fee are proposed based on the action needed to ensure required protection on the potable water line as described below:

1 - bringing BPD protective concrete pad to current standard - $77.50

2 – readjusting BPD height on copper pipes to meet standard - $101.00

3 - removing existing BPD installed on PVC and re-installing on copper - $150.00

4 – removing existing BPD installed on PVC and installing new BPD on copper - $300.00

Some properties may qualify for only level one or level two, and some may qualify for both, depending on the information found in the site inspection. No property would qualify for more than $300 in fee reduction. Although property owners may elect to do more than is needed per the site inspection (i.e., complete new installation for aesthetic reasons) the fee credit for each property will be based only on the site inspection results. In addition, as Manatee County has no control over costs charged by a plumber, we will not reduce the connection fee greater than the set amount for levels 1 – 4 above. Properties that have existing devices that meet current standards will not be eligible for a connection fee reduction, as they will not have the additional costs others have in making their device meet standards. Based on the results of the site inspections and the required corrections, a maximum total of $41,315 in connection fee reductions could be issued to residents in Country Meadows. It is expected that the total reduction will be less as it is unlikely that all residents will choose to select reclaimed water service. In addition, the maximum available fee reduction is included for each property, though approximately 30 may actually qualify for a lower reduction based on the type of correction they perform.

The proposal preseented above was developed after extensive discussions with the affected property owners and represents a solution that both parties feel is fair and reasonable.



County Attorney Review
Not Reviewed (No apparent legal issues)

Explanation of Other


Reviewing Attorney
N/A

Instructions to Board Records

None



Cost and Funds Source Account Number and Name
4010000000343531 : Reclaimed-Connect

Amount and Frequency of Recurring Costs
$0.00