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Water-Related News

Resident inspires backlash to city's backflow prevention policy

As Devin Rutkowski tells it, a scourge is taking over the sidewalks of the city, infecting vital areas such as St. Armands Circle and downtown Sarasota.

The culprit? Backflow preventers, a device designed to avoid the pollution of the city’s water supply. Although the less perceptive might overlook the metallic pipes, Rutkowski has a grim prediction about the impact the city’s current regulatory policy will have on its shopping districts.

“We will be the laughing stock of the state of Florida,” Rutkowski said at the Oct. 13 St. Armands Business Improvement District meeting. “It defies logic.”

During the past 10 days, Rutkowski has made similar appeals at City Commission, Downtown Improvement District and Historic Preservation Board meetings. Months of research have led him to the conclusion that, at best, the city’s backflow preventer rules are cluttering up commercial areas.