Learn More About Your Water System
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Old Sun Cove Water Tower
—Photo courtesy of Dick Rowley—
WHO IS MY WATER MANAGER?
Currently, the Association contracts out the management of its water system to Don DeFord. He is a certified Cross Connection Control Specialist and a certified Water Distribution Manager II (WDM2). The previous Water Manager offered many extra services to members (such as troubleshooting leaks, assessing properties, assisting with turning water on and off at the meter, and assisting members with their backflow devices, etc.) that will no longer be available, so please be aware of this change!
AS A WATER PURVEYOR, WHAT IS SUN COVE'S RESPONSIBILITY TO ME?
It should go without saying that Sun Cove is responsible for providing you with clean, safe, palatable water at all times, as well as responsible for maintaining our transmission and distribution systems to ensure this standard. Additionally, Sun Cove is responsible for providing you with a standard minimum of 30 pounds per square inch water pressure at your water meter.
WHAT IS SUN COVE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR AS
A WATER PURVEYOR?
It is important for our Members to understand that Sun Cove’s responsibility as a Water Purveyor ends on the customer’s side of the water meter. Please understand that any problems after the meter are the Member’s responsibility both physically and monetarily. That said, the Water Manager is often available (time allowing and on an appointment basis) to look at a particular situation and give whatever advice he can. Staff will always investigate reported leaks, generally shutting off the water at the meter and notifying the Member of a problem. We appreciate all of the eyes and ears provided by Members! Additionally, the Water Manager is happy to disconnect a Member’s service connection upon request and with a week prior notice. If there is an emergency, the Water Manager is on-call 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
HOW MUCH WATER ARE WE ALLOWED TO USE?
As it stands now Sun Cove does not enforce any limitation on an owner’s water consumption. The entirety of Sun Cove itself has an overall limit of approximately 119 million gallons per year, which comes from the total amount of water rights owned by Sun Cove. That sounds like a lot of water, but as Sun Cove grows, its usage is adding up fast! This means that in the future it may become necessary for Sun Cove to set a maximum usage number for each member and perhaps levy a fine for excessive usage. Were this to occur, and if we chose that number based solely on Sun Cove's current water rights, each property would be allotted an annual 220,000 gallons (approximately). However, the less water we use the longer it will take us to reach such a point in the future, which is why conservation is so important. SEE HOW THIS NUMBER IS GENERATED
HOW DO I GET WATER TO MY PROPERTY?
If you never hooked up to Sun Cove's water distribution system and wish to do so, you must notify the office staff of your desire so they may issue a Water Availability Request form to the correct department. After the request has been approved, there is an $800 fee to connect, after which the Water Manager will install your meter. Checks may be received at the office in person or mailed to 250 W Beach Drive, Orondo, WA 98843.
IS MY WATER SAFE?
Sun Cove complies with all Washington Department of Health regulations. Many of these include routine testing of water, which is summarized for owners yearly in the Sun Cove Water Quality Report. Over many years of testing Sun Cove's water has consistently shown to be safe for use and free of any significant contamination. SEE WATER QUALITY REPORT ARCHIVE
WHAT IS CROSS-CONNECTION CONTROL?
Cross-Connection Control means systematically trying to eliminate or mitigate connections in a private-property plumbing system which could "backflow" into the mainline. (CLICK HERE for a short video showing just how this occurs!) Backflow is a condition that occurs when, for various reasons, water in pipes flows in the opposite direction of which it was intended. Control is established using special valves. In situations where a potential cross-connection exists, such as the presence of in-ground irrigation, "backflow valves" are required to keep any potentially polluted water from flowing backward into our water system. While backflow is a rare occurrence, the ramifications it has can be staggering. In America thousands of cases have been reported over the years, documenting various types of harm to water customers due to contamination. Click HERE for examples of backflow incidents from the 70s and 80s, and click HERE for a detailed, in-depth account of many backflow incidents, complete with illustrations and schematics (starting on page 4).
WHAT IS AN "IN-GROUND" IRRIGATION SYSTEM?
An in-ground irrigation system is one that utilizes sprinklers (usually spring-loaded) that set down at or below the ground level when no water pressure is being applied. Usually this is done to facilitate easy mowing of the lawn, and it is probably the most common system in Sun Cove. This is opposed to above-ground irrigation, which would be sprinklers that are attached to fixed, pipes that stick some distance out of the ground, elevating the sprinklers. This is common in older irrigation systems.
DO I NEED BACKFLOW PREVENTION?
Backflow preventers need only be installed in areas in which the potential for a problem may exist. Plumbing code dictates that your house’s plumbing and the devices within it (i.e., toilets, sinks etc.) should already be protected. However, "in-ground" sprinklers do present as a hazard. The pots these sprinklers recess into is usually filled with water, which could be contaminated. In a backflow event this contaminated water can easily be sucked back into the public water system. Many, if not most, of the residents of Sun Cove have irrigation of this type and are therefore required to have a backflow preventer. Every 5 years a survey is sent to the membership that identifies this and other common reasons for need of backflow prevention. The most recent survey was sent out in 2015.
WHERE DOES SUN COVE'S WATER COME FROM?
Sun Cove has two wells located in the park alongside of the boat launch access road. They are controlled by a computer system that resides inside the pumphouse. This is also the site of Sun Cove’s chlorine injection system. The water travels up a transmission line running on the west side of Sun Cove and is temporarily stored in a 200,000 gallon storage tank. This water then flows down mains and to lateral lines through a water meter, which is in a vault in front of your house, and, finally, to you, the customer.
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WATER METERS?
Water meters are a purveyor’s way of knowing how much water a customer uses. They are located in a concrete vault in the ground out by the street. Often there are two water meters (i.e., for two members) located in a single vault. The radio-read meter system that was installed in March of 2015 gives the Water Manager access to great amounts of data, including the ability to monitor flow and possible leakages over the winter season.
WHY DO I NEED TO KEEP MY VAULT CLEAR AND ACCESSIBLE?
It is important that Maintenance staff have constant access to the meter vaults, as it can never be known when a problem within the vault can occur, such as a malfunction in the register or radio-read units, or a leak. Please remember to keep your vaults clear of all obstructions, including landscaping, foliage, earth and parked vehicles.
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WINTERIZING
Winterization, i.e., shutting off the water to your house, is extremely vital, as this area of Washington State can get very cold, and has a frostline of perhaps eighteen inches or more. Needless to say, this is a recipe for pipes to freeze and break. During the 2013 winter alone, four houses within Sun Cove suffered major water damage from these leakages. Simply shutting off the water at the meter or at the shutoff within your own house could potentially save you thousands of dollars.
WHY DOES SUN COVE USE CHLORINE?
Although chlorine can be dangerous is its own right it is the most useful form of disinfection known to the water industry. It is the only method with which we can test for a “residual” content left within the water. The residual is the amount of chlorine left after the rest of the chlorine has been 'eaten up' by its job of disinfection; therefore, being able to detect a residual means that there was enough chlorine in the water to be effective, and then some. Sun Cove’s chlorination program is routinely monitored, adjusted and kept at the lowest possible useful level. This level is likely far lower than the average city’s water system.
DOES SUN COVE ADD OTHER CHEMICALS TO THE WATER?
No. Chlorine is all that is necessary regarding disinfection. Although Sun Cove utilizes ground water, its mineral content (excessive calcium content, buildup etc.) seems to be low enough that it does not require chemical correction. Sun Cove has never had a problem with excessive lead or copper and does not fluoridate water.
WHAT IS THE YELLOW LOCKING DEVICE IN SOME VAULTS?
This is a US customs shipping plug that is used to lock any meter connections that either do not have a meter installed, as no one has paid a connection fee, or that have required a mandatory water shut off. Sun Cove regulations issue penalties for unauthorized removal of these plugs.