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TROUBLE SHOOTERS: Back flow problems

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Posted at 5:10 PM, Aug 22, 2022

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — On today's Troubleshooters, an Aransas Pass family has experienced some real challenges.

First, Hurricane Harvey destroyed their home.

Then the brand new home they bought, burned down right after the February 2021 big freeze across Texas.

But that's not why they say they called us.

They say they called us because of a dispute they're having with Rincon Water Supply, the company that supplies water to parts of San Patricio and Aransas counties.

We'll hear from Rincon in this story as well.

At the center of Richard Lopez's complaint against Rincon, is a back flow valve that sits in front of his property.

"Tell me what this does ?" the Troubleshooters asked Lopez the day we visited his property out on CR 1432. "Why is this important ?" Lopez replied "it allows water to come in, but if you contaminate the water inside your household, it can't be flushed back out. It prevents it from going down to the neighbor's house."

According to this email, sent at our request, from Rincon General Manager Kenneth Johnson to the Troubleshooters, Lopez established service with them in August 2018. He had a back flow installed and inspected it within the 30 day deadline given by Rincon.

Rincon inspects the valves annually.

"Do you have to use Rincon out here for your water service ?"

"Yes sir. That's the only water service we had."

But according to Rincon, when it came time for the September 2021 inspection, it was discovered that the back flow valve at Lopez's residence wasn't in place.

Lopez tells the Troubleshooters it had frozen in the big freeze of February 2021.

Rincon claims they gave Lopez, a disabled veteran, time to get it installed, but it wasn't until August 2nd, 3 weeks ago, after Rincon had shut his water off for 2 days, that Lopez had a new valve installed at an out-of-pocket cost of nearly $900.00.

That's money Lopez said was designated for back-to-school supplies for his grandchildren.

So what he's asking for is for Rincon to refund him that money.

"I'm fine with the rules, but let's everybody play by the rules. And once a year you have to have it inspected. That's $125.00 and it's at our cost."

Kenneth Johnson with Rincon said in email to the Troubleshooters that if Lopez had not removed the existing valve, he wouldn't be in this position.

And further, Rincon says they do not dictate to its customers where to buy a back flow valve, only that you do.

They did not answer our specific question about whether back flow valves are mandatory for all residents living in the areas they service.

And they add that if Lopez is welcome to discuss his issue with the Board of Directors.

They meet once a month.