Utility addresses low water pressure issues

— In the Weekly Update sent Thursday, Oct. 15, City Manager Steve Thompson shares progress in the efforts to increase water pressure Island-wide. The following is an excerpt from the prepared release, with the full document, including the proposed code enforcement lien amnesty program and other issues, in the related documents.

The city has increased the water pressure entering the city’s water system. Historically, the water pressure was 72-75 pounds per square inch (psi), and this has been increased to 82-85 psi over the past three months.

Water pressure to properties farthest from the water treatment plant has been an ongoing issue for the city and water customers. The State requires that the city maintain a minimum of 20 psi of pressure in the system at all times, and if the pressure in one area drops due to an increase in demand, the pressure being sent from the drinking water plant has to be increased at the plant to maintain the minimum 20 psi throughout the system.

Increasing the pressure is necessary to maintain this minimum of 20 psi throughout the system.

This higher system pressure can have an impact on homeowners through higher pressure and water flow at their homes, and you may notice the impact with sprinkler distances and flows. Over the next thirty days the city will be raising and lowering the pressure of the water as it leaves the plant to help establish the minimum required pressure to meet regulatory requirements. The pressure has been reduced to 80 psi this week and pressure gages have been installed in historically low pressure areas to measure the impact of this change.

The city has also constantly experienced significant water loss in the system due to leaking pipes, and ultimately elimination of leaks will improve the efficiency and savings in the system. Increasing the pressure in the system also helps the staff to locate and repair these leaks.

The city is working to develop a long-term solution to the problem of low and fluctuating pressure, and that solution is being reviewed by the Ad Hoc Utility Advisory Committee for recommendation to City Council in the coming months.

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Comments » 4

EdFoster writes:

First, leaking sewer pipes. Now leaking water mains. And the city never knew it when they bought this cumbling utility? Round of cheers for John Arceri, Utility Expert Extraordinaire, who got Marco into this mess. Round of cheers for Bill Moss who got a bonus for buying this piece of junk. Round of cheers for the City Council who pushed for the purchase because they were utterly ignorant of what they were buying, inexperienced and didn't bother to question anything.

Get ready for another round of cheers for the utility rate increases that are sure to follow!

Condo dwellers: are you going to let John Arceri and his coterie dupe you again?

Ed Foster

MarcoJimbo writes:

Less than 20 psi for more than 10 minutes requires a "boil water notice " be issued per the Florida Administrative Code. That's the law, ask any DEP licensed water plant operator. Yet Marco Island Utilities violated it to keep from breaking their promise not to raise rares beyond COLA for 5 years. Now that they're trying to make their case for an obscene rate increase in front of the Ad-Hoc Utilities Committee, we're starting to see a whole host of big dollar problems that have been hushed-up for the last 5 years. Thank God we didn't let these people get their hands on our electric utility.

EdFoster writes:

MarcoJimbo,

Marco Utilities DID break their word not to raise rates beyond COLA for X years. (You say 5, I remember 6 or 8, but it really makes no difference.) They raised rates by "tiering" them in such a way that the lowest rate dropped by 1 cent per thousand gallons while the highest-use rate increased by $1.43 a thousand. Everyone who used water for irrigation paid more each month under this scheme. It certainly was not "revenue neutral" as Finance Director Harrison claimed so it amounted to a "raise in rates."

I'd also point out that it should have been quite easy to know whether the water lines were leaking PRIOR to buying the utility. All the City need to have done was to check the amount of water processed by the Florida Water plants each month and compare that with the total usage as determined by summing the meter readings. The difference was lost in the system. Did the city do that before buying the utility? I don't know. If they didn't, they were s----- and should have; if they did and didn't tell anyone, they knew all along that they were buying a piece of junk and the people would have to pay to fix it! For shame!

Ed Foster

Marconian writes:

ED, I can see the point your trying to make but in fact it really isn't just that easy. See cause you have to think that you have natural and unnatural breaks that occur some of these breaks even on a smaller line can cause loss of thousands of gallons of water in just a few minutes so I truly don't think that is how you would determine your loss of water ratio but I'm sure they have ways to estimate but come on those are just ball park figures and still wouldn't be accurate.

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