On April 25, 2012 Lee County officially took over Bayshore Utilities. Since that time Lee County Utilities’ staff has been contacted with questions regarding the future of your water supply. The following list of questions and answers has been created to try and address these questions and provide a clearer understanding of LCU’s strategies. All information provided is preliminary and may change as more information is gathered and analyzed.
Q: How can I obtain status reports and information as this process develops?
A: There are multiple ways for you to stay informed.
1. You can provide your name, address, phone number and email address to Utilities@leegov.com to be placed on an email list that we will use to distribute information.
2. You can check our website at www.leegov.com/utilities and click on “Bayshore Utilities”.
3. You can call our Customer Service at 239-533-8700.
4. Community Meetings
Q: If I am experiencing a problem with my water right now, who can I contact?
A: Residents can call Lee County Utilities at 239-533-8700 or email us at Utilities@leegov.com.
Q: Why is Lee County now running Bayshore Utility?
A: Bayshore Utility was under a consent order by the Department of Health to make certain capital improvements to improve the water quality. Because no effort was made by the private utility owner to make these improvements, the Department of Health filed an Application for an Order to Show Cause to declare the utility abandoned and the Order was granted. The Lee County Attorney’s Office petitioned the Court requesting an emergency hearing to assign responsibility to Lee County Utilities. This petition allows Lee County Utilities to commence activities within the utility to protect the public health and safety of this community.
Q: Why was a No Consumption notice put into place?
A: Once Lee County Utility (LCU) staff was able to obtain access to the treatment plant, they found the treatment facility to be in deplorable conditions. LCU thought it was best to notify the community not to consume the water until more information was available to evaluate the safety of the water in order to protect the health of the community. Finished water samples were collected on Thursday, April 26, 2012 and results should be available for review within two weeks. The results will be analyzed and if it is determined the water quality is safe for consumption, further information will be provided.
Q: Now that the County has taken over ownership, what are the next steps?
A: LCU has obtained an emergency construction permit from FDEP and DOH to construct a temporary 8 inch water line connecting the LCU transmission line, located at Donald Rd and Gardenia Cr, to the Bayshore Utility distribution system, located at Winston Rd and Club House Rd. The line will be placed mostly above ground and run approximately 5,000 feet. It is anticipated that the water will be in service within eight weeks.
LCU is putting together a long-term action plan that includes installation of a permanent transmission line from LCU main line, replacing the entire Bayshore Utility distribution system within the neighborhood, adding fire hydrants and upgrading the fire protection system to current code, and replacing all the water meters with more accurate Automatic Meter Reader (AMRs). This scope of work would upgrade the antiquated distribution system to current LCU standards. During this work, the contractor would also be tasked with abandoning the groundwater wells and completing the demolition of the plant.
This process would be performed by a contractor and require approximately 12 to 18 months to complete.
Q: How much will it cost to upgrade the system?
A: LCU cannot operate or make improvements to the existing aged and antiquated systems. The plant and distribution system was installed in the 1950s and is long past its useful life. The construction costs are estimated at approximately $2.2M.
Q: If I installed my own groundwater well and am not currently connected to the Bayshore distributions system, will I be required to tie-in to LCU?
A: There is no mandatory connection to the existing or upgraded water distribution system. If home owners determined that they would prefer to tie into the distribution system in the future, they can contact our Customer Service staff to obtain more information and enquire about connection fees and establishing monthly services.
If an MSBU is established for the long-term proposed improvements to connect to the LCU system, each property will be assessed a portion of the total cost to upgrade the system. However, even if a property with a private well is assessed for the improvements, they are not required to tie into the service.
Q: Will we be able to apply for a rebateable agreement?
A: The assessment would only include the cost necessary for their demands and therefore, a rebateable agreement would not be required.
Q: We will be charged for the placing and removal of the temporary line?
A: No, the cost of the line will be borne by the LCU users as part of our operations budget. We plan to re-use much of the pipe once it is removed for other projects.
Q: If we don’t live in YCC, can we tie into the temporary line?
A: No one will be able to tap into the temporary line.
Q: If we don’t live in YCC, will we be able to tie into the permanent line? How much will it cost?
A: Once the new transmission line is in place, customers can request to tap into it and pay connection fees per the standard procedure.
Q: If we live up north during the summer, how can I temporarily disconnect my service?
A: Temporary Disconnect Information