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Apopka City Council

Backflow Prevention Program remains a confusing issue in Apopka

One resident offers alternative options at City Council meeting


Rod Olsen does not like the new Apopka Backflow Prevention Program.

Olsen, a resident and a vocal critic of the plan, offered an alternative in public comments at the March 2nd City Council meeting, and then released a statement to The Apopka Voice:

"Due to the City’s failure to ensure the backflow preventers were inspected and as a service to the Citizens of Apopka the City should take on the responsibility of inspecting, repairing, and replacing the backflow preventers.

To date, the range of inspections in Rock Springs Ridge that have been shared with me have run from $60 to $175 and installations have run from $495 to $883.95.

The Dual Check 5-year backflow preventer wholesales for $190-200 and its repair kit wholesales for $30.  The Zurn backflow preventer wholesales for $180.  

The Ford backflow preventer, which the City currently has 100 or so in stock, wholesales for $100.  The Watts backflow preventer wholesales for $100.  As of this writing, we have only found the Watts backflow preventers in Rock Springs Ridge.  The Zurn and Watts models require inspection every 2-years.  The Dual and Ford models require a 5-year inspection.  All these backflow preventers are currently in limited supply or out of stock.

The anticipated Homeowner install, all-in appears would run $250-$500 and, to date, as much as $883.95.  

Area plumbers earn between $85-$140/hour.  This calculates to $100-$200 in labor per installation for an uncomplicated install.  If your current backflow preventer is not in an in-ground box, your preventer is buried in the in-ground box or if you use the Ford backflow preventer, you can anticipate additional labor costs in the $150-$250 range.  The Ford backflow preventer will not fit in the current in-ground box. 

It is possible that an individual Homeowner could install a State Approved Backflow unit themselves but would require the City to perform a visual check. All 4 of the above-mentioned backflow preventers are State approved.  

Orange County assumes inspection, repair, and replacement responsibility for backflow preventers and charges their Homeowners $3/month.  Altamonte Springs also assumes the inspection, repair, and replacement of only the Dual Check model.  The City of Apopka should also assume this responsibility.

I strongly urged Apopka City Council to take control of this matter.  It will be a WIN-WIN.  

  • It will provide a wonderful SERVICE TO THE CITIZENS OF THIS COMMUNITY.  
  • It will be more user-friendly for our Homeowners 
  • The City, who the State holds accountable, will have control and 
  • It will save the City in administrative costs of monitoring, enforcing, and the cost of related follow-up.  

For this homeowner, paying an additional $3, $4 or even $5/month would be more than worth taking this matter off my plate.

In that we pay the City for this utility, the City should assume the responsibility of inspecting, servicing, and replacing these State required backflow preventers."


At the February 16th Apopka City Council meeting, the Public Services Department gave a presentation about backflow preventers and the cross-connection program. The Council voted 5-0 in favor of the plan.

On the City website, the plan is outlined:

Backflow Prevention Program

In its ongoing efforts to protect your drinking water supply, and in accordance with the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation's requirements, the City of Apopka has expanded its Cross-Connection Control program. 

The main purpose of this program is to prevent contaminated water from flowing back from our customers into the City's drinking water supply through a "Cross-Connection." A cross-connection is a physical connection between a drinking water supply and a non-drinking water supply. 

A reverse flow or "Backflow" can occur in two ways, by backpressure or back-siphonage. 

  • Backpressure occurs when the water pressure from the customer's plumbing is greater than the water pressure in the City's water supply system.
  • Back siphonage occurs when suction is created in the customer's plumbing due to the low pressure in the City's water distribution system, usually caused by a water main break or fire hydrant use.

The most important tool of the Cross-Connection Control program is the backflow prevention device. Usually, this device is installed on your drinking water line between your home or business and the drinking water meter. Backflow preventers come in many shapes and sizes depending on use and application. 

The City's Water Maintenance Department will help you determine which backflow prevention device is right for your property and how often you need to have it tested by a certified technician. 

For additional information, please email our Water Maintenance Department or call 407-703-1730.

Certified Backflow Testers


Commissioner Doug Bankson acknowledges it is a complex issue but stands by the decision made by the Council.

"As we have pivoted to be in compliance with this mandate, the backflow preventers have been a confusing issue for many, and I am in favor of giving our citizens the right to either address it themselves or have an option for the City to test it and include the cost in their water bill," he said. "We have to parse the legal side as it is owned by the homeowner but with their permission, I believe it will be much less of a hassle and can protect them from price gouging."

Commissioner Diane Velazquez, however, would consider Olsen's suggestions.

"Yesterday, March 2, 2022, at the city council meeting, one of our city residents spoke about the issues of back-flow preventers," she said. "The city is requesting that those Apopka residents affected by this situation take action. Mr. Rod Olsen researched the subject and came up with suggestions that I strongly think should be considered. The price fluctuation on what plumbers are charging to test and or install these devices should not have such a price spread. Since many of our residents are expressing concerns on this issue, we at the city should provide additional information on their options. Mr. Rod Olsen is providing the City with information that may solve and remedy this problem, let's not ignore it or his suggestions."

Apopka Mayor Bryan Nelson believes Apopka has already discussed the subject and stands by the City's plan.

"Orange County’s Cross-Connection Program charges homeowners $3 a month which has been determined to be not adequate to cover the costs associated with the program based on their past financials," he said. "Rather than going that route, the City Council voted unanimously to give homeowners the options of having their devices tested and/or replaced by a qualified contractor or City staff.  If a resident goes with the City option, the price for device testing is $60 and the price for replacing the device is $300.  If a contractor can offer device testing and/or replacement at a lower cost, the homeowner can pursue that choice instead.  The City has given a list of preferred vendors, which is updated weekly, to help find a reputable, certified cross-connection tester.  The City is trying to give residents as many alternatives as possible to comply with DEP’s regulations, which were put into place in 2014 with testing beginning in 2016.  DEP is requiring the City to start mandatory testing in March 2022.  Due to the large volume of testing and replacements needed, DEP is giving the City an extension to comply with the new regulations.  Homeowners are required to be on a waiting list either for the City or a qualified vendor to be in compliance."

Cross-Connection Program, Backflow Prevention Program, Apopka City Council, City of Apopka


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