In the wake of the lead crisis in Flint, Michigan, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an international nonprofit environmental organization that works to protect the world’s natural resources and public health, conducted a deep dive into water infrastructure and protections across the country. Released in May 2017, the report highlights a countrywide need for upgrades to municipal water infrastructures.
According to the most recent data from 2015, when ranked by number of residents affected by drinking water violations, Florida was second only to Texas. The top five breaches, in order, violated the rules of the Safe Drinking Water Act addressing: 1) disinfectants and disinfection byproducts, 2) lead and copper, 3) total coliform, 4) pathogens, and 5) the public’s “right to know,” requiring annual water quality reports to be provided to consumers.
While Florida is not the only state that has allowed the municipal water works to become outdated, it is one of the top five with the largest number of people using contaminated water. Fixing these issues can be complex and expensive, as many states with aging infrastructure and a large number of rural communities know, as the lack the resources to replace old pipes, plants, and water mains is a huge hurdle. It’s a troubling issue, especially since according to the CDC, approximately 19.5 million Americans fall ill every year from pathogens present in public water systems.
Although Florida residents and environmental experts agree that their drinking water needs to be monitored more stringently, it is unlikely the state’s financial challenges and outdated plumbing will find a simple or timely solution. This leads many homeowners to reach out to their plumbing professionals to ask them for insights on how to address water quality for the whole home or at point of use, which is why one local company in Tampa, Your Plumber, decided to offer a comprehensive program and product offering to help solve their customer’s water issues.
Shawn Henson, together with his partner Trevor Abernathy, owns and operates Your Plumber, a local professional plumbing business in Tampa Bay servicing Pinellas and Pasco Counties. “I was a service manager in another industry when I was recruited by a plumbing company to handle service for them,” said Henson. A few years after that, Henson and Abernathy decided to go out on their own and opened Your Plumber.
“We originally started the company with a truck and a trailer in November 2016,” explained Henson, “but by Christmas we already had six trucks and now the business includes nine trucks and 22 employees.”
Your Plumber performs all types of plumbing services including emergency plumbing, water heaters, tankless water heaters, drain cleaning, faucet/toilet repair, water jetting, whole-house water filtration systems, sewer/water re-piping and water main line repair. “In February, we had to build out our building because we ran out of space and now are already making plans to expand further,” Henson said.
Henson credits much of their success to having an experienced, hard-working team of technicians and contractors and the company’s strong investment in ongoing training for their staff. He also noted that on the business front, Your Plumber has added a wide variety of plumbing service programs in a range of areas to solve more customer issues to build new revenue streams for the company.
One area they focused on is water treatment by specifically highlighting water quality issues in both Pinellas and Pasco Counties. Both counties have noted a high level of chlorination and hardness, making water treatment and filtration a crucial part of Your Plumber’s services to help their customers protect their family and their home’s water appliances.
Your Plumber will work with each customer to evaluate their water quality concerns and provide a variety of treatment solutions. According to Henson, water testing and treatment is especially important for Pinellas and Pasco Counties, since they have the second-worst water quality in the state. “Safeway sells a water test kit that tests for a few key elements, or we will test it for no charge. After the water test, we present the homeowner with a variety of water treatment options,” Henson said.
One environmentally-friendly option Your Plumber offers for municipal water applications is the Enviro Water Products Pro Combo whole home system which comes in a variety of sizes to handle any residence from a home to condo to large estate. The unit’s five-stage whole home filtration and unique conditioning system reduces chlorine, filters chemicals, removes sediment and prevents 99.6 percent of scale buildup. In addition to conserving water by utilizing an up-flow technology, it uses no electricity, requires no drain and avoids a salt-based softening process that can discharge brine water into the environment.
The first step in the process is reducing the amount of sand, rust and debris using a five-micron filter. Then, in steps two and three, a blend of high-grade activated carbons purifies the water of harmful chemicals, after which algae and bacteria are prevented from growing through bacteriostatic copper-zinc oxidation media in step four. During the final step, a proprietary salt-free water softener prevents the build-up of scale.
Henson notes that Your Plumber customers usually choose the system because “it uses no electricity, there is no water backwash and customer’s like that we offer an Enviro Club maintenance plan which includes a filter change every six months, discounts, and several other perks.”
Your Plumber owners found that the extra club incentive has helped to reassure customers who choose the Enviro whole home system that it’s low maintenance and it will protect their homes and families as well as the environment.
Henson notes that Your Plumber prides itself on providing the best customer service and solutions for its clients. “When we are called into a home, we look at the whole home to determine how to best serve the customer to solve both their short-term and long-term needs,” noted Henson. “Also, we have created a layered communication system with our customers, so they are confident when they book a job with us. First, they receive an email, then a text confirmation, and when our contractor is on the way, we send his/her profile to the customer, so they know who to look for when they come to their home.”
This combination of technology, top-notch training, whole home checks and full-service customer solutions have helped Your Plumber quickly grow into a top plumber in the area with room to continue to grow and expand.