NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is warning some Nacogdoches businesses that backflow prevention devices are required.
The device prevents contamination when water pressure in a line drops unexpectedly.
Richard Cook is buying backflow prevention devices. Cook's Nursery and other businesses are required to have the devices to protect water supplies from pollution due to backflow.
“We got the certified letter stating what we needed to do.” It told Cook to fix the problem within 90 days of receiving the letter.
Cook had some devices in place but was told he would need more. Depending on the device needed the cost can run businesses a couple of hundred dollars to a thousand dollars.
“It was just a surprise out of the blue, but we just do what we gotta do,” said Cook.
Cook was among 120 business owners on a list randomly drawn up by the TCEQ. There were so many that the city hired a contractor to conduct the agency’s enforcement order to make the compliance inspections.
City Engineer Steve Bartlett explained, "These rules have been there, but in the past, there has been a little grandfathering of old businesses which is probably no longer being done. So we’re looking at all businesses trying to bring our system to snuff.”
Nacogdoches is currently in an ‘enforcement category’, along with other cities across the state by the TCEQ.
City leaders must develop new ordinances, a standard operating procedure and provide a calendar to the state on how it will enforce the rules on all commercial businesses.
Failure to do so could result in the state fining the city.
Restaurants and high-risk industries are accustomed to the requirements. Low-risk commercial businesses, not so much.
“In our case, every single commercial business will get inspected and every single building will get inspected,” said Bartlett.
“And then re-inspected in the future, so we’ll be watching for these. Everybody will have to do it. Absolutely, it’s a burden on everybody,” said Bartlett.
Cook relies primarily on well water. Still, he plans to take the one of many regulations his profession faces in stride.
"It's constant. There's always something, but I understand where they are coming from. It's really to protect the water source of Nacogdoches, so I do understand that."