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City Creates Backflow Loan System Strucutre
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Required to protect its water system purity by preventing backflow from commercial businesses, the Riverbank City Council has established rules for a loan system to fund businesses required to install the one-way valves.

About 20 businesses will be paying several hundred dollars each to install the backflow preventers but at least now can borrow the money from the city.

Council still has to tackle, however, the ticklish question of whether some dozen businesses for which the city installed backflow valves for free during downtown reconstruction will be required to pay for that work after the fact.

Those funds actually came from the Riverbank Redevelopment Agency exchequer and the valve installation was done when the streets were already torn up.

At the Sept. 13 meeting, council settled on revised rules of a loan program for the remaining backflow preventers.

Business owners must repay the city loan within one year instead of six months (as originally proposed at the June 14 meeting), staff will charge a flat administrative fee (instead of the original .5 percent simple interest), and work must be done by a contractor of the city's choice (selected out of three bids secured by the business owner).

The one-time administrative fee will be $60 for a one-inch pipe system and $75 for a two-inch pipe, the loan must be paid on a monthly basis within one year, and failure to pay will result in the loan being turned over to a collections agency.

Each year council will designate the amount of funds available for this program, establish an application period and prioritize loans based on the location's degree of hazard for potential cross contamination.

The city already charges a fee of $49.50 for inspecting backflow preventer installations to see that the work is done properly.

For the time being the state only requires backflow valves of businesses but is expected ultimately to require them of residential properties also.