By Tamas Mondovics

Residents living in Surrey Parks Villas, a community in Covington Park in Apollo Beach, are feeling pretty good about the final results, namely saving money of their hard work to bring reclaimed water to their neighborhood.

The project began nearly four years ago following the completion of the construction phase, along with some final clean ups and adjustments, residents are now saying that “water has been running smoothly” within their neighborhood.

“Residents should see that their water bills have gone down enough to make the project mostly free,” said Surrey Park Villas HOA President Bill Irwin who took the lead in spearheading the project with the assistance of construction manager, Mike Provencher.

Irwin emphasized that those with larger lots are already saving money.

“The project loan (nearly $300,000) will be paid off in less than 10 years, and then the real savings will start,” he said.

Irwin added that the immediate results are most visible are in the front lawns and plants, which are now are green, while he said that the rear lawns will finally stay lush and green, and the troublesome controllers on the back of the villas are disconnected and can be removed by the owners.

“No more reliability, battery, programming or GFI problems,” Irwin said.

The project has allowed a reduction in the double monthly irrigation wet checks that has had a positive effect on the budget, and the new central controller for the 170 homes in the community started to generate automated remote trouble alerts for broken valves and heads.

According to Irwin, there is a small, noticeable impact on some of the vegetation, which are not overly pleased with their new water source.

“A few plant species, such as Loropetalum, may not be happy with the extra minerals delivered with the water,” Irwin said, but added that the problem can be offset with an occasional hand watering during the dry seasons.

To sum up the results and speaking on behalf of his community, Irwin was pleased to say that the HOA now pays less for irrigation water for the entire community than it costs to keep the pool filled with potable water and said, “On balance, the project is considered a big success.”

For more information or questions about the project, email Irwin at

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