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Florida Governmental Utility Authority working on water issues

Water from the tap isn't drinkable | July 28, letter What's flowing is barely water | July 24, letter

FGUA working on water issues

The Florida Governmental Utility Authority is aware of our customers' recent water quality concerns. The authority wants to reassure its customers of its commitment to providing the best possible water quality and customer service.

The recent water quality concerns are primarily attributable to hydrogen sulfide, a gas that produces a sulfurlike odor and can often lead to black water forming in the water system. Hydrogen sulfide is naturally occurring in the local water supply. Warmer summer temperatures increase the water temperature, which increases the potential of hydrogen sulfide to reform in the distribution system after it has been neutralized by chlorine at the water treatment plants.

The authority is actively taking efforts to reduce water quality concerns experienced by our customers. Its staff is quickly responding to customer complaints and taking appropriate actions to ensure the best possible water quality is being supplied. The authority is regularly flushing its water lines throughout the system, has added corrosion inhibitors to the system to prevent pinhole leaking of pipes in customers' homes, is limiting the flow from wells with lower water quality while increasing flows from wells with higher water quality and checking water system valves, lines and equipment throughout the service area.

Additional capital improvements in the next two years will provide for upgrades and new equipment in the water service territory. This will include new treatment systems that remove hydrogen sulfide without the potential of reformation. Additional piping will also be installed throughout the distribution system in areas where the water can become stagnant to increase the flow and delivery of clean water. The distribution system will also be interconnected to the Pasco County water system to alleviate pumping pressure on the wells serving the Seven Springs service area. These improvements will enhance the quality of water throughout the authority's Pasco utility system.

The authority appreciates the patience and support of its customers as we continue to demonstrate our commitment to excellent customer service and quality water to the community.

Robert Sheets,

systems manager, FGUA

Sinkhole plan didn't work out

Did our elected officials really think mortgage companies would not catch on about the automatic dropping of sinkhole coverage? The if-they-don't-ask, don't-tell-them suggestion that Sen. Mike Fasano made at a meeting at the Spartan Manor was not going to work for long.

While I was president of HAC (Having Affordable Coverage) I strongly warned people the new legislation to automatically drop sinkhole coverage was risky and that when the mortgage companies figured it out the coverage would be required. We already knew of local banks that were requiring it, but it is only a matter of time before they all will require it. It is after all a peril that can destroy your home and cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair.

Well the proof just came in the form of a letter from U.S. Bank Mortgage Co. to a mortgage holder. The letter reads in short that the homeowner who had his sinkhole insurance automatically dropped from his insurance company is required to maintain his coverage or it will be forced.

The letter states:

"We understand from speaking with many insurance agents located in Florida that catastrophic ground collapse has been added to these policies in lieu of sinkhole coverage. However, our research has indicated major differences between these two perils. A sinkhole is the systematic weakening of the land supporting your home. If damage attributed to a sinkhole were to occur to your home, your property could still be deemed livable by your local authorities.

"A catastrophic collapse is a geological activity that results in all of the following conditions: 1) an abrupt collapse of the ground cover, 2) a depression in the ground cover visible to the naked eye, 3) structural damage to the building, including the foundation, and 4) the insured structure must be condemned and ordered vacated by a government agency. While we understand the financial burden caused by the current insurance situation in the state of Florida, we are required to ensure your home is covered in the event of damage. Sinkhole damage not only causes significant damage, but the repair costs are very high. Without sinkhole coverage, a homeowner would have to bear the burden of the cost to repair the property while maintaining their monthly mortgage payment.''

Now, what shall I tell this man who has Citizens Insurance, lives in Pasco County where no other insurance companies are writing and cannot afford to add the sinkhole policy back? Not to mention now to add the insurance back you will have to have a sinkhole evaluation at your cost. So much for our elected officials working to help lower our insurance!

Virginia Stevans, New Port Richey

Schools need the extra quarter-mill

The state Legislature gave Florida school boards authority this year to raise taxes up to an additional one-quarter mill, or 25 cents per $1,000, to cover expected deficits.

Growth in Pasco is projected at 13.44 percent over the next five years. Our schools become overcrowded as they open.

The state and federal government pieces of the school funding pie have been small, historically. The responsibility of financing our children's education has always rested with our communities. We must accept this responsibility. We must support our schools.

Be aware, we will never fully regain our property values if we do not support schools. As more jobs are created and the economy recovers, families relocating to our area will consult with Realtors and ask, "What is the best school district?'' The answer will determine where families settle. If we want our communities to prosper, we must take care of our schools and that takes money.

I am not a Realtor. I am just a mom who relocated her family to seven states and eight locations in 17 years. Good schools are funded properly.

I respectfully urge the Pasco County School Board to reconsider its decision on the quarter-mill. It is simply the right thing to do.

Arlene Andrews, Wesley Chapel

Texting while driving must stop

We would like to thank the St. Petersburg Times for the July 28 editorial Driving, devices don't mix. We could not agree more, which is why we introduced legislation addressing this very issue in 2007 (HB 193) as well as 2008 (HB 261).

More and more new studies are emerging with disturbing data describing the effects of distracted driving. As the Times mentions, 14 states have outlawed text messaging while driving.

Additionally, five other states have outlawed the use of handheld cell phones while driving altogether. The National Safety Council posted findings last year indicating that talking on a cell phone is equally as hazardous as drunk driving, emphasizing that cell phone use increases the risk of a crash fourfold.

Organizations like AAA have also recognized the growing need for protecting our teenage drivers. Our young motorists frequently engage in a deadly mix of texting and talking on their cell phones while driving; when compounded with their inexperience behind the wheel, it puts everyone at risk.

While many are concerned with the personal freedom and privacy of cell phone users, the Legislature must take action to protect the innocent who are being harmed by the those distracted drivers.

The right to swing your fist ends where the other person's nose begins and the right to be on your cell ends when others are put at risk.

It is our hope that the Legislature will act on this issue and protect innocent drivers, passengers and pedestrians, while ensuring that inexperienced motorists are only focusing on one thing: learning how to be safe and responsible drivers.

John Legg, state representative, District 46

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Florida Governmental Utility Authority working on water issues 07/29/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 29, 2009 11:08pm]
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