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Interagency Copper Pipe Corrosion ("Black Water") Project Minutes:
Meeting #1 (August 24, 2000 @ 1:00 PM)

The initial Interagency Copper Pipe Corrosion ("Black Water") Project meeting was held on Thursday, August 24, 2000, in the Easley Building. The following is a summary of the discussion at that meeting:

The meeting was very well attended, including reps from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Florida Department of Community Affairs (DCA), the Florida Department of Health (DOH), the Office of Public Counsel (OPC), Nassau County Building Department, Pasco County, Orange County, Southwest Florida Water Management District (WMD), Florida Association of Counties, Florida League of Cities, the Governor's Office, the Florida Conflict Resolution Consortium, Aloha Utilities, and several Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) staff.

FPSC Commissioner Lila Jaber kicked off the meeting by welcoming participants and explaining the purpose of the meeting.

Tom Walden (FPSC) discussed hydrogen sulfide corrosion problems, including a synopsis of the three prior studies of the problem.

Patti Daniel (FPSC) presented our draft proposals for the work group structure. She explained that we were hoping to have volunteers to chair the following groups and stressed that although we had shared our ideas for the groups, each group would have complete flexibility to shape its own agenda:

Group A - Current Copper Pipe Corrosion in Homes: Repair or Replace -
Explore possible options to aid customers with existing damaged pipes. Group A may want to explore the scope of the problem --how many homes are affected, etc.

Group B - Prevention of Future Copper Pipe Corrosion: Treatment to Remove Hydrogen Sulfide -
Explore possible water treatment options to remove hydrogen sulfide and possible revisions to DEP standards. (Currently, the quality of the water as it enters the customers' homes is meeting all state and federal drinking water standards.)

Group C - Prevention of Future Copper Pipe Corrosion: Building Codes/County Ordinances -
Explore new (or changes to existing) building codes or county ordinances regarding the material used for water pipes in affected areas.

Patti Daniel (FPSC) explained that we were hoping that the work groups might meet twice a month, whether in person or by conference call, and suggested that everyone agree on dates for the working groups to meet the first time. After that, each group could make its own plans for future meetings. Each work group should document its efforts and make a report on its progress to the larger Interagency Project group. She offered that our staff would help by developing e-mail lists, setting up conference calls, or making other arrangements as requested by the work groups.

The participants made several suggestions for other entities that should be invited to future meetings, including the Florida Section of the American Water Works Association, the Water Quality Association, the Florida Home Builders Association, the Building Materials Association, and the Plumbing, Building, & Gas group. Mimi Drew (DEP) suggested that Staff Directors of appropriate legislative committees be invited to future meetings.

Bruce Kennedy (Pasco County Utilities) suggested that the head of the workgroups should have the power to choose who they want involved in the groups. Van Hoofnagle (DEP) and Pepe Menendez (DOH) agreed and added that the head of each workgroup should be able to determine the size of the group as well. Mimi Drew (DEP) suggested it might work better to keep the work groups small and that if we invite industry representatives too soon, the process may get bogged down. Instead she suggested that the technical groups come up with ideas to suggest in a public forum.

Feedback on Group A - Current Copper Pipe Corrosion in Homes: Repair or Replace
Ann Stanton (DCA) questioned whether a surcharge to cover repair or replacement was a viable option. Van Hoofnagle (DEP) explained that the areas of the state with hydrogen sulfide in the water were generally a band across the middle of the state, and up and down both coasts. However, he noted that DEP doesn't monitor for hydrogen sulfide and does not have data on the number of customers with the problem. Pepe Menendez (DOH) said they do not have data on affected customers with the exception of complaints received. Also, Dave Porter (consulting engineer for Aloha Utilities) stated that the map presented by staff at the meeting only represents areas where people voluntarily identified the problem during a study done by the Richter School at the University of Florida and may not address all the areas that have the problem. Bruce Kennedy (Pasco County Utilities) discussed that they determined the level of their black water problem based upon complaints -- that the black water problem is a random problem and that the water meets standards. Additionally, they entered into a contract to purchase water from Tampa Bay with a provision covering water aesthetics. He suggested this might be an option for other utilities with this problem.

Feedback on Group B - Prevention of Future Copper Pipe Corrosion: Treatment to Remove Hydrogen Sulfide
Van Hoofnagle (DEP) voiced concern about the expectation of completing such a complex project in a few months. Mimi Drew (DEP) discussed the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act -- that if Florida DEP wants to set a drinking water standard that exceeds the federal standard, the proposal would have to be approved by the Governor and Cabinet. Van Hoofnagle (DEP) added that it is difficult to set secondary drinking water standards.

Feedback on Group C - Prevention of Future Copper Pipe Corrosion: Building Codes/County Ordinances
Ann Stanton (DCA) commented that changes to individual county building codes to prohibit copper pipes in new residential construction cannot be accomplished under current laws without the Florida Building Commission approval. Additionally, she suggested getting data on whether building contractors may already be switching to CPVC pipe on their own in new construction.

Next Meeting
The group agreed to hold a second Interagency Project meeting on Friday, Sept. 29, and to invite industry to participate in this meeting. There also seemed to be agreement to go forward with the work groups. The participants agreed that the first working group meetings would take place on Friday, Sept. 8. The meeting was then adjourned.

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