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No Wipes in the Pipes!

Mar 15, 2020

Disinfectant wet wipes, paper towels and toilet paper are flying off the shelves. These products help keep us clean and reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. But when we remember that products like baby wipes and wet wipes are not as “flushable” as typically advertised, it’s no surprise that we’re now at a greater risk for sewer blockages in our communities.

If TP isn’t available, it’s easy to reach for an alternative – but keep in mind these wipes need to stay out of our pipes, period. Keep a bin next to the toilet for disposal! Do with wet wipes what you’d do with a baby’s diaper or other hygiene products.

When “flushable” wipes enter your plumbing system, they don’t disintegrate like regular ol’ toilet paper. They often hold together better than a paper towel and they require more water to travel the distance from inside your house to the buried sewer lines outside. At some point in this journey, you’re going to get a clog! If wipes survive the trip to the water treatment plant, they just clog up the giant pumps there, creating even bigger problems.

So now that we’re never flushing our wet wipes again, are you wondering what else doesn’t belong down the drain? Read this quick list of items we’re all guilty of tossing… Now here’s to helping our pipes stay clog-free.

  1. Q-Tips and cotton balls – They will never disintegrate like TP, so don’t flush ‘em.
  2. Feminine hygiene products – Pads and tampons are meant to absorb liquids, not break down in them. They are never safe to flush.
  3. Dental floss – Floss might look harmless, but this stuff is tough. It can create a net when it’s swishing around in your pipes and wrap around parts of your septic system, even burning out the motor.
  4. Diapers – No no no no no! Diaper pails exist for a reason.
  5. Condoms – They’re designed to never break down in water. Put it in the trash.
  6. Medication – Toilet water doesn’t break down the prescription drugs you flush, meaning that whatever you’re taking will end up in the environment. Throw into the trash or return it to a pharmacy.
  7. Kitty Litter – Some cat litter brands advertise as being flushable, but don’t believe the hype. All it does is make water more difficult to purify on the other end.
  8. Cigarettes – Ciggie butts are full of chemicals! Don’t smoke them and don’t flush them.
  9. Hair – When flushed, hair acts like dental floss and creates a net that gets caught on everything. Plus, it never dissolves in water, no matter how long its there.
  10. Bleach – It’s too harsh of a chemical to use as a part of your routine cleaning, try getting toilet stains out with vinegar instead.

And of course, no fats, oils or grease, either! But more on that later.


UTILITIES INC. OF FLORIDA ANNOUNCES SUSPENSION OF WATER SHUTOFFS

Mar 11, 2020

Delinquent Accounts Will Not Be Cut and Suspended Accounts Restored 


Altamonte Springs, FL.
– Gary Rudkin, President of Utilities, Inc. of Florida, has announced that the company will be suspending water service shutoffs for delinquent payments in all its service territory effective immediately. Additionally, the company will begin reconnecting service to those customers who are currently not receiving water service due to lack of payment on delinquent accounts.

 “As a public utility, we understand our obligations to the communities we serve including the personal safety of our neighbors through personal sanitation,” said Rudkin. “We know a safe and reliable source of potable water is vital for hand washing, surface cleaning, and all other measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.”

Utilities, Inc. of Florida customers impacted by this decision will be notified as quickly as possible and reconnections will begin promptly. Rudkin indicated that the policy will remain in effect until at least March 30 and will be reevaluated at that time considering the prevailing COVID-19 conditions.  Customers who are behind on their bills are encouraged to bring them current or discuss their options with customer service as the suspension of shutoffs is only temporary. 

“Maintaining service to our customers is a simple decision for us as we encourage everyone to follow the guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to protect themselves and their families,” Rudkin added. 


UIF Begins Beautification of Eagle Ridge Facilities

Jan 22, 2020
Altamonte Springs, FL – Utilities, Inc. of Florida (UIF) is pleased to announce plans to beautify its wastewater treatment plant in the Eagle Ridge community of Fort Myers, FL. Investments in the Eagle Ridge project include the installation of a new 9-foot privacy fence with gate, removal of invasive vegetation and replacement with native vegetation, in conformance with Lee County code, and the installation of a new irrigation system to support newly installed foliage. These investments have been in collaboration with the Eagle Ridge Property Owners Association and Lee County and will provide residents additional visual buffer from the treatment plant, more efficient plant operations, as well as a more pleasant exterior to the community.

“We are excited about the upcoming improvements to the Eagle Ride treatment facilities and look forward to continued partnership with the Eagle Ridge community and Lee County.” commented new UIF President Gary Rudkin. “The appearance of our treatment plants is important to us, because many of them are located inside our customers’ neighborhoods.” Rudkin added.

The Eagle Ridge improvements exemplify UIF’s commitment to build, maintain, and manage the complex infrastructure necessary to provide reliable service to the residents of Florida. Coupled with the improvements to UIF’s Seminole County facilities completed in 2018 and 2019, they improve the ability to provide water and wastewater services in conformance with current and future environmental regulations as well as leverage more technologically advanced infrastructure for the benefit of UIF’s customers.

For photos and ongoing information about the project please visit our social media pages: www.facebook.com/MyUIFlorida and www.twitter.com/MyUIFlorida.

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Gary Rudkin Named President, Utilities, Inc. of Florida

Jan 13, 2020
Gary Rudkin has been named President of Utilities, Inc. of Florida. effective January 13, 2020.

Catherine Heigel, Executive Vice President and COO of Corix Regulated Utilities, said, “I am excited to welcome Gary to our team. He is a proven leader with a strong track record of building teams that drive results and enhance relationships with customers.”

Rudkin has more than 28 years of experience in utility and industrial project management and operations and maintenance. He was most recently President of Corix Utilities in Norman, Oklahoma, where he oversaw the utility operations serving Oklahoma University.

Rudkin said, “I am honored and energized by this opportunity to assume leadership of Utilities, Inc. of Florida. I look forward to working closely with our team members to provide safe, reliable water and wastewater services and to engaging with our customers and stakeholders.”

Rudkin replaces John Hoy who announced his retirement after serving the company for 14 years.

Click to download the press release PDF

Statement Regarding PFOA/PFOS

Dec 06, 2019

At Utilities, Inc. of Florida we are committed to providing safe, reliable and cost-effective water and wastewater services that ensure the ongoing health and safety of every community we serve. Ongoing industry-standard testing of our processes and products helps us meet that goal.

Results of the regular testing required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state regulatory agencies are made available to customers each year in Consumer Confidence Reports found on our website. Each of our systems publish test results with comparisons to the EPA established Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) standards. We are proud of our record of compliance with federal and state health and environmental regulations to date and intend to keep that record intact.

Two compounds that are not currently regulated by the EPA, PFOA and PFOS, compounds created in the 1930s and used widely in consumer and commercial applications (e.g., Teflon), are among a class of synthetic chemicals (known as perfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS) that accumulate over time in the environment and our bodies. Studies are ongoing regarding the potential contaminative effect of these chemicals. We are taking proactive steps to address the issues surrounding them in anticipation of new regulations at the federal and/or state level.

These steps begin with an evaluation of all systems of greatest potential impact and an immediate plan for the best way forward. This plan includes:

  • Evaluating the use of various raw water sources required to meet volume demands coupled with additional steps to understand the relative importance of each source in overall system operation;
  • Making prudent capital investments as necessary;
  • Reviewing and evaluating related operational expenses where necessary; and
  • Modifying or removing sources of raw water supply.

Developing this plan for all our systems is ongoing and complex, necessitating coordination with various local, state and federal stakeholders. While we believe the costs of any remediation actions should be borne by the polluters, we are committed to addressing the issue proactively and look forward to the EPA and state agencies issuing clear and firm guidance that allows us to target our activity.

Our goal is to maximize the use of our resources to the greatest benefit of the communities we serve in the most cost-effective manner possible while ensuring the delivery of safe and reliable service to all our customers.  

For more information visit: https://www.epa.gov/pfas


UIF Continues Investment with Upgraded Wekiva Facilities

Aug 06, 2019

Altamonte Springs, FL – Utilities, Inc. of Florida (UIF) is pleased to announce the execution of a contract with Florida Environmental Construction, Inc. (FEC) to make significant improvements to its Wekiva wastewater treatment plant (Wekiva).

Representing a capital investment of over $6 million, the Wekiva project includes critical improvements including installation of three high-speed turbo compressors, two Aqua Aerobics membrane filters, one additional surge pump, chemical feed pumps, equipment storage building, and demolition and removal of older assets that have reached the end of their useful life. These investments will allow for a more efficient and reliable wastewater treatment process. They also will enhance the production of reclaimed water. The project also includes improvements to the appearance of the entrance gate, plant signage and landscaping around the entrance to the facility.

“We are excited about the upcoming changes and look forward to continued improvements, not only at the Wekiva, but elsewhere in Seminole County that allow us to continue to deliver quality service to families and businesses.” commented UIF President John Hoy. “Upgrading the appearance of our facilities is also important to us, particularly because many are part of the neighborhoods we serve” Hoy added.

These Wekiva improvements demonstrate UIF’s commitment to build, maintain, monitor and manage the complex infrastructure necessary to provide reliable service to the residents of Central Florida. Coupled with the improvementsto UIF’s Longwood facilities completed in 2018,they improve the ability to provide water and wastewater services in conformance with current and future environmental regulations as well as leverage more technologically advanced infrastructure for the benefit of UIF’s customers. Replacing aging water infrastructure is an investment in the needs of both current and future Florida residents.

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Click here to download this Press Release

Wekiva Improvements Fence