First Northern California 'Sewer Smart Summit' set for June 15

Association of Bay Area Governments convenes first-of-its-kind meeting of government and industry influencers to address multi-million dollar sewer backup prevention problem. Innovative Sewer Smart Summit takes aim on "disconnects" in Bay Area war on sewer backups...

OAKLAND, CA, April 21, 2005 -- The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) today announced plans to convene a first-of-its-kind summit in Oakland this spring to address sewer backup prevention challenges. The aim of the Sewer Smart Summit is to create a dialogue between representatives from the government, regulatory and business organizations that influence sewer backup and backflow issues -- and identify resolutions to the conflicts that currently limit prevention efforts.

ABAG encourages representatives of San Francisco Bay Area community public works and building inspection agencies, other government and regulatory organizations, and business associations and organizations with an interest in sewer backup and backflow prevention to attend.

The Sewer Smart Summit is scheduled for Wednesday, June 15, 1-5 p.m., at Joseph P. Bort Metro Center in Oakland. For more information or to register to attend, send email to backupbuster@abag.ca.gov.

"The Sewer Smart Summit focuses on increasing the effort of Bay Area communities and homeowners in the prevention of costly sewer system backups," said Scott Haggerty, ABAG president and Alameda County Supervisor. "By involving agencies and organizations that oversee or regulate various aspects of sewer systems and back-flow prevention devices, we expect to improve our track record of backup-prevention success."

"One agency may require a homeowner to use a backup prevention device while the plumbing code prohibits them and another agency threatens possible fines related to their use," said Marcus Beverly, director, ABAG PLAN Corp. "Conflicting requirements are unfortunately the norm when it comes to efforts to prevent backups. This summit seeks to bring the parties together to reduce confusion and help homeowners and communities better protect themselves."

A part of the agency's larger "Be Sewer Smart" public education and backup prevention campaign, the Sewer Smart Summit will consist of a workshop with presentations by government and industry leaders and breakout sessions to address specific areas of concern. Lunch and post-summit networking opportunities for attendees will round out the half-day program.

Hundreds of Bay Area homes are damaged annually by sewer backups. ABAG estimates that it costs local homeowners and their communities as much as $4 million annually to clean up and repair sewer backup damage.

Campaign Background and Sponsors
"Be Sewer Smart -- Prevent Sewer Backups" is a public service campaign of the Association of Bay Area Governments' Pooled Liability Assurance Network (PLAN) Corporation. The goal of the campaign is to prevent sewer backups and the damage, inconvenience and costs they can cause. For more information, visit www.sewersmart.org.

ABAG PLAN Corporation is a non-profit corporation whose purpose is to benefit the citizens of each member community by establishing a stable, cost-effective self-insurance, risk sharing and risk management program for each member. The PLAN was formed in 1986 and currently has 31 member cities and towns in the Bay Area. It provides liability and property coverage as well as a variety of risk management services such as training, claims management, loss prevention, and consulting services. For more details, visit www.abag.ca.gov/plan.

The Association of Bay Area Governments is one of more than 560 regional councils of government across the nation working to help solve problems in areas such as land use, housing, environmental quality, and economic development. Founded in 1961, ABAG is the regional planning agency for the 101 cities and towns, and nine counties of the Bay Area and is recognized as the first council of governments in California.

Program participants include ABAG's 101 member communities and the following professional associations: the Builders Exchange of Alameda County, the California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers, the North Coast Builders Exchange, the Peninsula Builders Exchange, the Plumbing Heating and Cooling Contractors of San Francisco, and the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors of Contra Costa and Alameda Counties.

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