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Helix Water District is warning its customers to be wary of thieves going after outdoor plumbing fixtures.

Specifically, Helix is concerned with the theft of water-backflow-prevention devices, required at commercial buildings, buildings with fire sprinkler systems, and on properties with wells or other alternate water sources. The devices prevent untreated water from siphoning back into sanitized municipal water supplies.

The devices are large, heavy, and often made of brass and copper, materials with high scrap value at recycling yards. Although laws are in place requiring recyclers to collect contact info and verify driver’s licenses of anyone turning in the devices, thefts have continued to rise across the county.

Helix recommends installing locked cages over the devices to make their dismantling more difficult. Also advised is painting over the metal – painted materials carry a lower value at scrap yards.

Pictured: exposed and caged backflow-prevention devices.


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monaghan Aug. 12, 2011 @ 7:26 p.m.

Either way, really good-looking.

This is the only city I know where plumbing devices and electrical boxes are permitted to litter the above-ground landscape -- and sometimes the sidewalk right of way. For a long time I thought, maybe we have a high water table in San Diego. But that can't explain the proliferation of these boxes everywhere, even at high elevations. Probably it's a cheap shortcut for the utilities and the hell with the public. The Reader should tell us why this is.


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