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(NBC 2 Fort Myers)   Want to go green and generate your own power & water? At least one Florida city has a problem with that   (nbc-2.com) divider line 81
    More: Florida, WBBH News, Bonita Springs, Cape Coral  
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10222 clicks; posted to Main » on 23 Feb 2014 at 9:02 AM (34 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-02-23 08:51:32 AM  
Do you have to pay if you don't use any of their power or water? If not then just hook up.
 
2014-02-23 09:07:24 AM  
There is often a monthly connection fee.

The city is trying to guarantee everyone has access to potable water. Requiring everyone be hooked up to potable water is a lot cheaper than having to treat people for water borne illnesses on a regular basis.
 
2014-02-23 09:08:58 AM  

EvilEgg: Do you have to pay if you don't use any of their power or water? If not then just hook up.


There is a monthly fee for inspecting, but other then that no there isn't really any bill. The City is concerned with the Water supply, rain water isn't treated and if she doesn't take careful measures she can end up horribly sick. I had a well on my rental property for over 30 years, recently it got contaminated and the state of florida stepped in to give me city water and have it installed. I couldn't do it on my own because its over $30,000 to have it installed. Fact is the county required me to fix it or I would have a condemed property.

Basically they are going to require her to have a water purifier or some kind of filtration system installed, this is hardly newsworthy really.
 
2014-02-23 09:11:24 AM  
Water access fees and utilities fees are tied and pay for things like fire hydrants and rain gutters and treatment as well.  Want to be off the grid?  Move away from the grid instead of having other taxpayers and users subsidize the parts you still need.
 
2014-02-23 09:12:28 AM  
No city power or water running through her house walls. Instead, she uses solar panels and treated rain water for survival.

Good thing she's not out west. She'd be arrested for just collecting the rainwater.
 
2014-02-23 09:16:37 AM  
Is she tied into the municipal sewer system or is she on septic, because she would need to pay for the sewer hook-up even if she was using a well or rain water.
 
2014-02-23 09:23:13 AM  

DigitalCoffee: No city power or water running through her house walls. Instead, she uses solar panels and treated rain water for survival.

Good thing she's not out west. She'd be arrested for just collecting the rainwater.


No doubt. What a stupid rule for homeowners. I can't even install a rain barrel to water the garden. It's not like we have a shortage of rain in the winter around here.
 
2014-02-23 09:24:11 AM  

EvilEgg: Do you have to pay if you don't use any of their power or water? If not then just hook up.


Fee or no fee, this is her home and her choice. I hope she wins this fight.
 
2014-02-23 09:24:50 AM  

DigitalCoffee: Good thing she's not out west. She'd be arrested for just collecting the rainwater.


Where do you live outwest? I use rainwater collection systems all the time on commercial projects in CA.

It's more fun in the Virgin Islands though. There, rainwater collection is required by code and it's easy to use it for drinking water (in CA we usually use it to flush toilets only).

Now, if you really want to freak out code inspectors try treating all your sewage onsite and using the recovered water to flush toilets. They have trouble with that.
 
2014-02-23 09:35:32 AM  
Cape Coral has one of the most Nazi-like HOAs and Code systems in the country.
 
2014-02-23 09:36:52 AM  

Surpheon: DigitalCoffee: Good thing she's not out west. She'd be arrested for just collecting the rainwater.

Where do you live outwest? I use rainwater collection systems all the time on commercial projects in CA.

It's more fun in the Virgin Islands though. There, rainwater collection is required by code and it's easy to use it for drinking water (in CA we usually use it to flush toilets only).

Now, if you really want to freak out code inspectors try treating all your sewage onsite and using the recovered water to flush toilets. They have trouble with that.


It used to be illegal in Washington because property owners don't have the rights to the water (the state does), but it looks like they changed it:  http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/hq/rwh.html
 
2014-02-23 09:41:40 AM  

Rabid Badger Beaver Weasel: It used to be illegal in Washington because property owners don't have the rights to the water (the state does),


Just reading that makes me all kinds of pissed off.

:-(
 
2014-02-23 09:41:58 AM  

phenn: EvilEgg: Do you have to pay if you don't use any of their power or water? If not then just hook up.

Fee or no fee, this is her home and her choice. I hope she wins this fight.


Would you consider it the city/counties choice to deny her all services based on her decision?
 
2014-02-23 09:46:19 AM  
I've joined the Red movement.

We heat our homes with toaster ovens, cool them by leaving the fridge open all day, and water the lawn with bottled water from Fiji.
 
2014-02-23 09:46:48 AM  
Article conveniently skips over the whole sewage issue.  Where does she think it goes when she flushes the toilet?
 
2014-02-23 09:47:14 AM  

notto: phenn: EvilEgg: Do you have to pay if you don't use any of their power or water? If not then just hook up.

Fee or no fee, this is her home and her choice. I hope she wins this fight.

Would you consider it the city/counties choice to deny her all services based on her decision?


Well, that kind of depends, doesn't it? Are they services that she funds through things like a phone line? Then, no. If taxes from water or power fund certain services then she probably has no reasonable expectation of receiving them.

I just find it rather stupid for the city to demand she buy something that she appears to be supplying for herself rather well.
 
2014-02-23 09:47:50 AM  

Belias: Article conveniently skips over the whole sewage issue.  Where does she think it goes when she flushes the toilet?


She might have a septic system installed.
 
2014-02-23 09:48:52 AM  

Belias: Article conveniently skips over the whole sewage issue.  Where does she think it goes when she flushes the toilet?


She probably uses a composting toilet. You could ask the same about where it goes when she takes a bath, but you probably already know the answer to that.
 
2014-02-23 09:52:57 AM  
http://www.news-press.com/article/20140221/NEWS0101/302210033/Cape-Co r al-off-grid-woman-eschews-order-hook-up-water

He found her guilty of the section which dealt with the water system and maintenance. Alternative means of power are possible but need to be approved by city officials, according to Paul Dickson, the city building official. When it comes to water, the options included installing a potentially more complicated and expensive system that would filter rain water through the pipes while maintaining temperatures and pressure. Speronis also uses the city sewer system for drainage. There are liens on the home to collect those fees.
 
2014-02-23 09:55:39 AM  

Elfich: There is often a monthly connection fee. The city is trying to guarantee everyone has access to potable water. Requiring everyone be hooked up to potable water is a lot cheaper than having to treat people for water borne illnesses on a regular basis.



That and preventing the slum buildings that used to plague the country.
 
2014-02-23 09:58:21 AM  
The reality is she needs to pay the base water bill monthly to pay her fair share if she is using public sewer - which she is doing. If she doesn't want to pay she should get a septic tank installed.
 
2014-02-23 10:02:46 AM  

notto: http://www.news-press.com/article/20140221/NEWS0101/302210033/Cape-Co r al-off-grid-woman-eschews-order-hook-up-water

He found her guilty of the section which dealt with the water system and maintenance. Alternative means of power are possible but need to be approved by city officials, according to Paul Dickson, the city building official. When it comes to water, the options included installing a potentially more complicated and expensive system that would filter rain water through the pipes while maintaining temperatures and pressure. Speronis also uses the city sewer system for drainage. There are liens on the home to collect those fees.


Thanks for that. It looks like this woman is using services that she is not paying for. So she is not really "off the grid". I say live how you want, but if you use city services you should pay for them. That and the government has every right to make sure that basic sanitation requirements are met.
 
2014-02-23 10:21:08 AM  

EvilEgg: Do you have to pay if you don't use any of their power or water? If not then just hook up.


Yes, here in California municipalities charge a connection fee starting at about $30 a month for private homes. That gets the use of both the water and sewer systems. The water itself is an additional charge...about $1.25/unit (100 CF...748 US gallons) to buy the water, and the average California home uses about 125 gallons per day. To get rid of the water (to use the sewer system) one incurs an additional charge of about 10 cents a unit. Figure $35-ish a month, or nearly $400 a year. If the lady in TFA is on a fixed retirement income, that might be the straw that breaks the camel's back.
 
2014-02-23 10:29:21 AM  
It's illegal in many states to collect and use rain water because they don't own it, the state does.
 
2014-02-23 10:39:52 AM  

notto: Water access fees and utilities fees are tied and pay for things like fire hydrants and rain gutters and treatment as well.  Want to be off the grid?  Move away from the grid instead of having other taxpayers and users subsidize the parts you still need.


This. Off the grid and inside the city limits are not compatible states of being. TANSTAAFL, lady.
 
2014-02-23 10:49:04 AM  
"I don't have to justify my life. They have to. That's the way our system of justice works. They have justify it. I don't" Speronis said.

It's cute that she still thinks she's living in the old Republic.
 
2014-02-23 10:49:40 AM  

BGates: It's illegal in many states to collect and use rain water because they don't own it, the state does.


Old urban legend. A few minutes on google showed that only Utah still "prohibits" rainwater collection (and they're in the process of revoking an old and virtually never enforced law). And while Colorado has some restrictions, rural homeowners on wells generally may do so. There are numerous restrictions, but generally one may legally collect and use rainfall from the roof before it hits the ground.
 
2014-02-23 11:28:24 AM  

Deathfrogg: "I don't have to justify my life. They have to. That's the way our system of justice works. They have justify it. I don't" Speronis said.

It's cute that she still thinks she's living in the old Republic.


The fictional old Republic that never existed.
 
2014-02-23 11:28:58 AM  

Deathfrogg: "I don't have to justify my life. They have to. That's the way our system of justice works. They have justify it. I don't" Speronis said.

It's cute that she still thinks she's living in the old Republic.


Are you under the impression that there were no "intrusive" laws in the US at one point? Or are you chortling over her unsophisticated ideas?
 
2014-02-23 11:32:22 AM  

Rabid Badger Beaver Weasel: Belias: Article conveniently skips over the whole sewage issue.  Where does she think it goes when she flushes the toilet?

She probably uses a composting toilet. You could ask the same about where it goes when she takes a bath, but you probably already know the answer to that.


It would be an  interesting question. For the bulk of my youth, my parents lived on land with septic tanks. I imagine in Cape Coral, there's not enough soil for septic tanks. I bet the limestone is just sitting there under skimpy top soil.

But there are other ways of treating waste.
 
2014-02-23 11:37:43 AM  

yakmans_dad: Rabid Badger Beaver Weasel: Belias: Article conveniently skips over the whole sewage issue.  Where does she think it goes when she flushes the toilet?

She probably uses a composting toilet. You could ask the same about where it goes when she takes a bath, but you probably already know the answer to that.

It would be an  interesting question. For the bulk of my youth, my parents lived on land with septic tanks. I imagine in Cape Coral, there's not enough soil for septic tanks. I bet the limestone is just sitting there under skimpy top soil.

But there are other ways of treating waste.


I agree it's an interesting question, but it doesn't apply to her. One of the linked articles states that she remains hooked up to and uses the city sewer system, but that she refuses to pay for its use. They will eventually foreclose for back fees, I suspect.
 
2014-02-23 11:39:52 AM  

Belias: Article conveniently skips over the whole sewage issue.  Where does she think it goes when she flushes the toilet?


In my case it goes into the 1000 gallon septic tank and then out through my fields via the field tiles.
But then again...i live on over 30 acres of land and have all mineral and water rights.
 
2014-02-23 11:55:58 AM  
It doesn't matter if she doesn't want to pay for incoming water.  If she is using the municipal sewers for outgoing water, she has to pay.  It's a package deal.

Basic connection fees can be quite substantial.  I have a seasonal summer cottage (in Canada), with a line supplying power (water is well, treatment is septic).  During the winter months the waterlines are drained and the power is turned off at the main breaker.  I receive quarterly power bills, and for the quarters that I use zero power, it still works out to about $100 in connection & maintenance fees.  $400/yr even if I use nothing.  But I pay it because I understand the rules, and I do want that power available for the summer months.
 
2014-02-23 12:06:48 PM  
This citizen is living in a duplex within city limits. She is taking advantage of services provided by the city and is subject to city codes. I wonder how much money her imagined 'right' to freeload off the city is going to cost taxpayers.
 
2014-02-23 12:26:43 PM  

Stone Meadow: BGates: It's illegal in many states to collect and use rain water because they don't own it, the state does.

Old urban legend. A few minutes on google showed that only Utah still "prohibits" rainwater collection (and they're in the process of revoking an old and virtually never enforced law). And while Colorado has some restrictions, rural homeowners on wells generally may do so. There are numerous restrictions, but generally one may legally collect and use rainfall from the roof before it hits the ground.


So, you're saying the urban legend is that it's 100% illegal and you're correcting it by saying it's sometimes illegal.  Got it.   We're limited to one rain barrel per household where I am.  Water rights are very very real.  Arizona has just as much right to Colorado snowfall as Colorado citizens.  That's why protections are in place.
 
2014-02-23 12:34:56 PM  

Livinglush: The reality is she needs to pay the base water bill monthly to pay her fair share if she is using public sewer - which she is doing. If she doesn't want to pay she should get a septic tank installed.


I'm not sure a septic tank is an option in that part of Florida. Heck, in the middle of the state you don't have to dig more than a foot or two until the hole fills up with water. I don't think the tank would drain properly, if at all.

/helped build a fish farm in Kissimmee.
 
2014-02-23 12:36:48 PM  

KidneyStone: Livinglush: The reality is she needs to pay the base water bill monthly to pay her fair share if she is using public sewer - which she is doing. If she doesn't want to pay she should get a septic tank installed.

I'm not sure a septic tank is an option in that part of Florida. Heck, in the middle of the state you don't have to dig more than a foot or two until the hole fills up with water. I don't think the tank would drain properly, if at all.

/helped build a fish farm in Kissimmee.


I'll be darned. There are septic tank cleaning companies in that area so logically there must be septic tanks there.

I wonder how the heck the drain fields work.
 
2014-02-23 12:54:48 PM  

KidneyStone: Livinglush: The reality is she needs to pay the base water bill monthly to pay her fair share if she is using public sewer - which she is doing. If she doesn't want to pay she should get a septic tank installed.

I'm not sure a septic tank is an option in that part of Florida. Heck, in the middle of the state you don't have to dig more than a foot or two until the hole fills up with water. I don't think the tank would drain properly, if at all.

/helped build a fish farm in Kissimmee.


There are plenty of places in Florida still on septic... and they shouldn't be.  The ground for the most part is sand, and it has a bad tendency to leech into surface waters if not properly maintained (one of several reasons the Indian River Lagoon is royally farked), or even into shallow wells.  Most municipal codes require people that have access to sewage lines to connect in for just that reason, but some people are ducking the law because there is no real enforcement mechanism.  A new bill that passed voter referendum requiring regular inspection and permitting of septic tanks was shiatcanned two years ago by our masters in Tallahassee.
 
2014-02-23 01:00:18 PM  

mbillips: Deathfrogg: "I don't have to justify my life. They have to. That's the way our system of justice works. They have justify it. I don't" Speronis said.

It's cute that she still thinks she's living in the old Republic.

The fictional old Republic that never existed.


Twi'leks are real to me, damnit!
 
2014-02-23 01:13:22 PM  

Watubi: Stone Meadow: BGates: It's illegal in many states to collect and use rain water because they don't own it, the state does.

Old urban legend. A few minutes on google showed that only Utah still "prohibits" rainwater collection (and they're in the process of revoking an old and virtually never enforced law). And while Colorado has some restrictions, rural homeowners on wells generally may do so. There are numerous restrictions, but generally one may legally collect and use rainfall from the roof before it hits the ground.

So, you're saying the urban legend is that it's 100% illegal and you're correcting it by saying it's sometimes illegal.  Got it.   We're limited to one rain barrel per household where I am.  Water rights are very very real.  Arizona has just as much right to Colorado snowfall as Colorado citizens.  That's why protections are in place.


I guess you missed where I wrote "There are numerous restrictions, but generally one may legally collect and use rainfall from the roof before it hits the ground."

Yes, there are numerous restrictions. And just as there are "numerous restrictions" limiting how I operate my automobile, that doesn't make it "illegal".
 
2014-02-23 01:20:24 PM  

Elfich: There is often a monthly connection fee.

The city is trying to guarantee everyone has access to potable water. Requiring everyone be hooked up to potable water is a lot cheaper than having to treat people for water borne illnesses on a regular basis.


Mandating that people pay for a service they don't want is extortion
 
2014-02-23 01:29:37 PM  
I agree with the woman on not being hooked up to the city electrical grid.  But, I have to agree with the city on the water aspect, at least as far as sewage is concerned.  If she can come up with a sanitary way to store and then dispose of her waste then I think that the city should let her be.  But, until then, she can flush just like the rest of us.
 
2014-02-23 01:34:04 PM  

Stone Meadow: EvilEgg: Do you have to pay if you don't use any of their power or water? If not then just hook up.

Yes, here in California municipalities charge a connection fee starting at about $30 a month for private homes. That gets the use of both the water and sewer systems. The water itself is an additional charge...about $1.25/unit (100 CF...748 US gallons) to buy the water, and the average California home uses about 125 gallons per day. To get rid of the water (to use the sewer system) one incurs an additional charge of about 10 cents a unit. Figure $35-ish a month, or nearly $400 a year. If the lady in TFA is on a fixed retirement income, that might be the straw that breaks the camel's back.


BS.  Her municipality most certainly provides (or is probably mandated to provide) reduced price or even free service for those that can't afford it.  If she is on a fixed income, then she needs to pursue these programs just like anyone else in her municipality would.
 
2014-02-23 01:38:11 PM  

Warlordtrooper: Elfich: There is often a monthly connection fee.

The city is trying to guarantee everyone has access to potable water. Requiring everyone be hooked up to potable water is a lot cheaper than having to treat people for water borne illnesses on a regular basis.

Mandating that people pay for a service they don't want is extortion


She is not mandated at all.  She can move if she doesn't agree with the laws and codes of where she lives. If she chooses to live in a duplex in the municipality she does, she is making a civil agreement along with the other citizens (including her duplex neighbor) living there to adhere to the public laws and codes as put in place by the elected government in the area.
 
2014-02-23 01:53:26 PM  

Watubi: Stone Meadow: BGates: It's illegal in many states to collect and use rain water because they don't own it, the state does.

Old urban legend. A few minutes on google showed that only Utah still "prohibits" rainwater collection (and they're in the process of revoking an old and virtually never enforced law). And while Colorado has some restrictions, rural homeowners on wells generally may do so. There are numerous restrictions, but generally one may legally collect and use rainfall from the roof before it hits the ground.

So, you're saying the urban legend is that it's 100% illegal and you're correcting it by saying it's sometimes illegal.  Got it.   We're limited to one rain barrel per household where I am.  Water rights are very very real.  Arizona has just as much right to Colorado snowfall as Colorado citizens.  That's why protections are in place.


Um what. Where in the constitution is the rights to colorados snow granted to anyone. If you build in the desert you should expect water issues. It's your fault for building in the desert in the first place
 
2014-02-23 01:54:01 PM  

notto: Stone Meadow: EvilEgg: Do you have to pay if you don't use any of their power or water? If not then just hook up.

Yes, here in California municipalities charge a connection fee starting at about $30 a month for private homes. That gets the use of both the water and sewer systems. The water itself is an additional charge...about $1.25/unit (100 CF...748 US gallons) to buy the water, and the average California home uses about 125 gallons per day. To get rid of the water (to use the sewer system) one incurs an additional charge of about 10 cents a unit. Figure $35-ish a month, or nearly $400 a year. If the lady in TFA is on a fixed retirement income, that might be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

BS.  Her municipality most certainly provides (or is probably mandated to provide) reduced price or even free service for those that can't afford it.  If she is on a fixed income, then she needs to pursue these programs just like anyone else in her municipality would.


That she may be eligible for reduced rates does not make my post "BS". In any case I agree she has to pay up or move out. Simply refusing to pay for mandated municipal service is about as defensible IMO as refusing to pay property taxes "because I don't have kids in school".
 
2014-02-23 01:59:53 PM  

yakmans_dad: Rabid Badger Beaver Weasel: Belias: Article conveniently skips over the whole sewage issue.  Where does she think it goes when she flushes the toilet?

She probably uses a composting toilet. You could ask the same about where it goes when she takes a bath, but you probably already know the answer to that.

It would be an  interesting question. For the bulk of my youth, my parents lived on land with septic tanks. I imagine in Cape Coral, there's not enough soil for septic tanks. I bet the limestone is just sitting there under skimpy top soil.

But there are other ways of treating waste.


When you see a "hill" in Cape Coral, it's probably a septic tank.
 
2014-02-23 02:11:50 PM  
Yeah, there is a bill just to be connected. It may be even 12.00 a month, but it's a bill. Now if everyone decided they were going to become independent, the utility would lose that 12.00 per month from thousands of people.

We can't have that now, can we.
 
2014-02-23 02:15:25 PM  
Stone Meadow:  Simply refusing to pay for mandated municipal service is about as defensible IMO as refusing to pay property taxes "because I don't have kids in school".

Just FYI: We have '55 and older' communities whose main draw is that they don't have to pay school taxes. So once all the kids are out of the house and you hit 55 you can just move and not have to pay that anymore.

/yet they wonder why the schools are broke
 
2014-02-23 02:16:33 PM  
Warlordtrooper:

Um what. Where in the constitution is the rights to colorados snow granted to anyone. If you build in the desert you should expect water issues. It's your fault for building in the desert in the first place

It isn't in the constitution, but there is a pretty wide body of state and federal laws and some Supreme Court decisions dating back to 1907 that so state as much. 

http://www.cap-az.com/index.php/law-of-the-river

That link will give you a little history on water law in the west. Happy Reading!!
 
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