Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Help Me Howard: Leaky Pipe
We are under water restrictions, and we all know what that means: You can't pump water into your yard 24 hours a day, 7 days a week -- or can you? You see, one South Florida man has been complaining about the water company wasting water for months, and guess what has happened? For the answer, let's bring in Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- After Dennis retired, he picked up two hobbies: One is riding around with his good friend Imos and the other hobby is fishing.
Dennis Potter: "Go out in my boat. That's about it -- go fishing."
Being on the water makes him smile, but being in the water makes him scowl.
Dennis Potter: "Yes, it's very frustrating -- and don't seem like the water company wants to do anything about it."
Dennis lives in Davie.
Nine months ago, water started bubbling out of this valve box in his yard -- lots and lots of water.
Dennis Potter: "God, I really couldn't say, but it's a lot of water everyday."
More than a lot. For example, a leaky toilet can lose 9,000 gallons a month. What is worse, hundreds of thousands of gallons have been lost since the water company was called to repair it.
Dennis Potter: "And the water department has been out here two or three times and done absolutely nothing except paint the ground and paint my fence."
Dennis is worried because his yard is soggy, and a nearby electric transformer has started to sink into the mud.
Dennis Potter: "It scares me. I don't like living next to water and electricity like this, especially with the box leaning like it is, towards the water."
In part, he is amused by the leak; after all, we are under mandatory water restrictions.
If you or I ran sprinklers 24 hours a day, we would get a knock on the door -- but no knocks for the water company.
Dennis Potter: "I'm not allowed to wash my boat, but, leaking this much water in the ground every day, if I could use this to wash my boat, I could wash it everyday."
But is it legal for the water company to waste water, while everyone else has to conserve water? To find out, Dennis called Help Me Howard.
Howard Finkelstein: "The answer is as clear as water: Nobody has a right to waste water, and, just as cities or counties can fine you for violating the water restrictions, the South Florida Water Management District can fine water providers even more -- up to $10,000 a day."
When I spoke to the South Florida Water Management District they told me it's a shame it took that long. They continued to say, "While we have enforcement power over the utilities, the leaky valve was not reported to us."
When we spoke to Ferncrest Utilities in Davie, they told us this repair wasn't simple since it involved turning off the water in the entire neighborhood and that everyone had to be notified ahead of time, that they had scheduled repairs four separate times, but each time a bigger emergency popped up.
Dennis Potter: "Tighten up a little on your wrench."
A week later, they got to it.
Dennis Potter: "Did she finally stop? I think you got it -- you got it."
The leaky valve, which wasted hundreds of thousands of gallons of water, was fixed.
Good news for Dennis -- who now can't wash his boat whenever he wants -- but at least won't have to walk through a soggy yard to get to it.
Dennis Potter: "I feel that it's fixed. The water leak is fixed. That's great."
Patrick Fraser: "Now, if you or I turn our sprinkler on, its up to the police or code enforcement to ticket you. The water district made it easier for them by sending out 10,000 tickets that can be written if people get caught watering when they are not supposed to. No word yet on how many of those tickets have been handed out."
Dripping with disgust over a draining situation? Pull the plug on it and contact us. We'll flood you with assistance.
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