Village soon may start plumbing inspections

HUNTLEY – The village soon may offer a new service to residents, but private plumbing contractors aren’t happy about it.

It’s mandatory for residents who have a fire suppression system or lawn sprinkler system to have either checked once a year. Village officials say it’s often a 15-minute inspection that costs between $45 and $95.

Huntley may begin offering the service near the lower range for residents.

“It’s not so much about revenue as it is a service, I think, to our people,” Village Trustee Pam Fender said. “It’s still a matter of public safety.”

However, Paul Spiller of Palatine, who works as a private plumbing contractor in the Huntley area, said the village would be taking away customers from small-business owners.

He plans to file a petition with the help of local plumbing unions and organizations to try to get the village to take another look at the issue.

“We’re concerned about them offering the service of testing backflow preventers. ... The only reason they’re doing that is to generate income,” Spiller said. “The government is basically stepping in, taking away our bread and butter, because they need to support their existence.”

Spiller said he used to work for the village as a plumbing inspector from 1999 through 2006.

He still does “quite a bit” of work in Huntley, and other area municipalities also have moved toward providing inspections – hurting local plumbers.

“We’re going to try to give [the Village Board] some kind of alternative to benefit everybody,” Spiller added.

But Fender said she thought the plan would be cheaper for the homeowner in the long run.

“We would like this price to be a reasonable price, and we’re finding out some have not been very reasonable for a 15-minute inspection,” she said. “Keep in mind, we won’t do a repair. If someone has a problem, they’ll need to get it fixed.”

Backflow prevention assemblies are used to protect water supplies from contamination or pollution.

About 3,000 home units in Huntley have fire suppression systems.

The village would inspect only residential properties, not commercial or industrial. The idea might be a part of the village’s 2011 budget discussions next week.

A regular Village Board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at the Municipal Complex, 10987 Main St.

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