Ready to Supply Water in an Emergency or For Everyday

The Harris County Fire Code requires enough water supply/pressure, called fire flow, in case of fire emergencies.


507.1 Required water supply. An approved water supply capable of supplying the required fire flow for fire protection shall be provided to premises upon which facilities, buildings or portions of buildings are hereafter constructed or moved into or within the jurisdiction.


All New Fire Alarm and Fire Sprinkler Systems require permits and plan submittals in Harris County. New residential and commercial buildings also require permits, with some projects needing a supplemented water supply for fire flow requirements.

Pioneer Water Tanks America offers supplemental and complete water storage systems that are engineered to NFPA 22 Standard for Water Tanks for Private Fire Protection‎. Our standard range of capacities 5,000-Gallons to 1,000,000-Gallons. We can also provide custom capacities, sizes and for different application requirements.


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Our complete engineering submittal packages provide detailed drawings, engineering calculations, and Texas engineer stamped foundation designs for easier permit submission. Pioneer Water Tanks have full lines of commercial accessories to fulfill local authority requirements to make your tank multifunctional.


We support a nationwide dealer and installation network that can provide an efficient, onsite, accredited installation without the use of heavy machinery. Pioneer Water Tanks are installed with our proprietary jacking system for larger industrial projects within a week.


Pioneer Water Tanks are proven to be a reliable water source that can include fire hose hookups as well as firefighting nozzles. The cost-effective capacity can also double as an emergency water source since the tank liner is NSF 61 certified for drinking water.


This is one example of a 65,000-Gallon fire protection water tank in Houston, Texas. This project was provided by Rainwater Equipment, RainwaterEquipment.com

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Providing Harris County with Water Storage for Fire Protection

Harris County requires permits and plan submittals for new fire alarm and fire sprinkler systems to include providing the required water supply, the fire flow, for the building.


FIRE-FLOW: The flow rate of a water supply, measured at 20 pounds per square inch (psi) (138 kPa) residual pressure, that is available for fire fighting.


FIRE-FLOW CALCULATION AREA: The floor area, in square feet (m2) used to determine the required fire flow.


Link to Harris County Fire Flow worksheet:

The Harris County Fire Flow worksheet is based off of the National Fire Academy (NFA) method of calculating fire flow.


Needed fire flow = [(length x width) ÷ 3] x percent of involvement


Example: For a 30' x 50' building that’s 25 percent involved, the flow would be 30 x 50 = 1,500 square feet, divided by 3 = 500 x 0.25 = 125 GPM.

Houston Fire Code as Relevant to Fire Flow


507.1 Required water supply. An approved water supply capable of supplying the required fire flow for fire protection shall be provided to premises upon which facilities, buildings or portions of buildings are hereafter constructed or moved into or within the jurisdiction.


508.1 Required water supply. An approved water supply capable of supplying the required fire flow for fire protection shall be provided to premises upon which facilities, buildings or portions of buildings are hereafter constructed or moved into or within the jurisdiction. A water supply as otherwise required by this section will not be required if the responsible emergency services district or fire department provides a letter stating they can provide sufficient fire flow for the specific project.


2808.18 Fire protection response plan: • Local fire department is a participant in the plan • Local fire department has a copy of the fire prevention response plan 32 • Employees are trained and can perform their role in an emergency • Heavy equipment with trained operators to separate and work piles is on site or immediately available • Adequate water supply: fixed hydrants, portable tanks, ponds, other sources • Adequate pressure and flow rate at all locations on site (minimum of 250 GPM at 60 PSI)

Link to the City of Houston Fire Code: Link

One fire sprinkler can use on average eight gallons-per-minute (GPM). Most home fire sprinkler systems accommodate two simultaneous flowing sprinklers, with a minimum need of 16 GPM to supply them with water. The size of a house, local building requirements and the water source may require more sprinklers or be required at a higher pump rate. One or two sprinklers must flow for a minimum of 7-10 minutes, which can be provided by a well tank or a rainwater tank when sprinklers are not supplied by a water distribution system. Fire sprinkler systems that aren’t supplied enough by a utility water source, need an on hand water supply of at least 15% of the total required fire flow (but exact percentage is based on local authority requirements).

Additional water storage ensures that your property has water on hand for emergencies, typically with its own pump system that won’t go down in case of electricity failure. This becomes even more important, if not required, based on how rural the property location is.


Rural water distribution systems that are found to be inadequate to supply 16 GPM for fire sprinklers, would probably fall short of the minimum code-required plumbing demand, and it would surely fall far short of the 1,000+ GPM needed from fire hydrants to support a fire department extinguishing a fire in a home without a sprinkler system.

In order to figure out the exact fire flow requirements, refer to the local Fire and Building Codes, as well as refer to the local pre-inspection requirements. If fire flow must be measured in regards to the local Fire Code, the ICC International Code Council provides a chart to show fire flow requirements based on the of building construction and square footage. The ICC Construction Types that determine the fire flow, are listed in the drop-down below. The calculation uses the ICC minimum required fire-flow and flow duration for buildings.

TYPE I-A--Fire Resistive Non-combustible (Commonly found in high-rise buildings and Group I occupancies).

    • 3 Hr. Exterior Walls*
    • 3 Hr. Structural Frame
    • 2 Hr. Floor/Ceiling Assembly
    • 1 ½ Hr. Roof Protection


TYPE I-B--Fire Resistive Non-Combustible (Commonly found in mid-rise office & Group R buildings).

  • 2 Hr. Exterior Walls*
  • 2 Hr. Structural Frame
  • 2 Hr. Ceiling/Floor Separation
  • 1 Hr. Ceiling/Roof Assembly


TYPE II-A--Protected Non-Combustible (Commonly found in newer school buildings).

  • 1 Hr. Exterior Walls
  • 1 Hr. Structural Frame
  • 1 Hr. Floor/Ceiling/Roof Protection



TYPE II-B--Unprotected Non-Combustible (the Most common type of non-combustible construction used in
commercial buildings).

  • Building constructed of non-combustible materials but these materials have no fire resistance.


TYPE III-A--Protected Combustible (Also known as "ordinary" construction with brick or block walls and a
wooden roof or floor assembly which is 1-hour fire protected).

  • 2 Hr. Exterior Walls*
  • 1 Hr. Structural Frame
  • 1 Hr. Floor/Ceiling/Roof Protection


TYPE III-B--Unprotected Combustible (Also known as "ordinary" construction; has brick or block walls with a
wooden roof or floor assembly which is not protected against fire. These buildings are frequently found in
"warehouse" districts in older cities.)

  • 2 Hr. Exterior Walls*
  • No fire resistance for structural frame, floors, ceilings, or roofs.



TYPE IV--Heavy Timber (also known as "mill" construction; to qualify all wooden members must have a
minimum nominal dimension of 8 inches.)

  • 2 Hr. Exterior Walls*
  • 1 Hr. Structural Frame or Heavy Timber
  • Heavy Timber Floor/Ceiling/Roof Assemblies


TYPE V-A--Protected Wood Frame (Commonly used in the construction of newer apartment buildings; there is
no exposed wood visible.)

  • 1 Hr. Exterior Walls
  • 1 Hr. Structural Frame
  • 1 Hr. Floor/Ceiling/Roof


TYPE V-B--Unprotected Wood Frame (Examples of Type V-N construction are single-family homes and
garages. They often have exposed wood so there is no fire resistance.)

The following calculation uses the ICC Fire Flow based on the above construction types of square footage of the building. The chart below reflects the calculation as well.

We provide water storage for fire protection, with a full line of NFPA approved firefighting adapter and nozzle options. Get your best price on water storage with Pioneer Water Tanks America localized dealer and installation network.


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Only Pioneer Can Protect Rainwater Clean Enough to Drink

Rainwater can be collected off of a rooftop as a sustainable water source and stored in a Pioneer Water Tank for later use. Depending on the system set up, the rainwater can be used for domestic and in some cases, as the primary drinking water source. Rainwater systems vary from a simple barrel set up to completely supplying water for a building or home and can be used as a water source for firefighting. There are even rainwater systems set up as a wildlife water source or as a stormwater management technique.


Using a rainwater system is beneficial because it reduces demand on existing water supply, and reduces runoff, erosion, and contamination of surface water. When designing a rainwater system, the first step is to decide the goal and use of the water.

Storing the rainwater in the right capacity and properly is key to avoiding contamination and overflow. Rainwater tanks must be properly screened and secured without allowing sunlight into the tank. Rainwater storage tanks must have an inlet, outlet, overflow, vent, and inspection or service port.

Pioneer Water Tanks were engineered to protect water from the very start. The entire design and quality materials are chosen as the best possible way to keep water fresh and clean.


- The AQUALINER® Fresh tank liner inside of the tank stores the rainwater safely. The NSF 61 Certified, Antimicrobial, BPA-Free tank liner has a 65-year lifespan and is covered by our warranty. (Learn  More)


- The V-LOCK corrugation style of the tank body is unique to Pioneer Water Tanks and provides the ultimate strength and durability. The V-LOCK corrugation allows for the tank liner to be attached down the tank walls to alleviate the stress to the liner from the weight. Most tank liners are attached only at the top which can lead to stretching and breakdown of the liner - which is why Pioneer Water Tanks attach our liner to the corrugation. (Learn More)


- All of our standard accessories, as well as our optional additions, are to improve the quality of rainwater stored. This includes filtering rainwater through a thousand count mesh filter, and including an inlet, outlet, overflow pipe and vent specified for drinking water storage tanks.

The quality of the rainwater tank determines how well the water will be stored for later use. Using a poly tank, for example, will mean that it shouldn’t be used as a drinking water source because of leaching but it should still be properly sealed to prevent mosquitos. There are places like Hawaii that see cases of diseases from water contamination including Leptospirosis. Preventing contamination should be the primary goal of your rainwater tank with filtration post-storage if used as a drinking water source.


Pioneer Water Tanks are engineered as the top-tier rainwater tank to protect your water supply from contamination. They are implemented worldwide for their longevity and quality of storage that is proven to keep your water fresher for longer. If you would like to store rainwater in a large capacity, get started with your local Pioneer Water Tanks accredited dealer for your best price.

Resources on Rainwater Harvesting:

  • The Texas AgriLife Guide to Rainwater Storage Tanks (Link)

  • The Texas Manual on Rainwater Harvesting (Link)

  • Laws and regulations for rainwater harvesting in the United States (Link)


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Only Pioneer Provides Rainwater Systems with Long-Lasting Storage

The City of Round Rock, Texas offers rebates for rainwater systems for qualifying residents. City of Round Rock water customers are eligible, while MUD customers are not. The City is incentivizing rainwater systems as a water conservation effort to reduce utility water use for irrigation.


Go to application:

The maximum rebate offered is $600 per qualifying resident, per year. The rebate can be used only for non-potable systems to use for irrigation and other domestic purposes. The City rebate is intended to go towards the cost of the water storage tank, pad material, pump, pipes, and gutters if needed. The system cannot be connected to the City’s water supply.


Other eligibility requirements:


- Applicant must be a direct City of Round Rock water customer in good standing. (MUD customers are not eligible)


- An itemized receipt must be submitted with the application within 60‐days of installation. The receipt must include date, vendor name and address, the amount paid, and capacity of the tank.


- The applicant is responsible for obtaining HOA approval, if applicable. HOAs cannot prohibit rainwater harvesting in the City of Round Rock; however, they may dictate where the system may be located on your property.


- Rebates are available until funds have been expended. Visit roundrocktexas.gov/rebates for available rebates. Once funds are exhausted the rebate program will no longer appear on the website.

All rainwater collection/harvesting equipment is exempt from sales tax, within the State of Texas, per Section 151.355 of the Texas Tax Code. To claim this exemption, the purchaser must furnish a Tax Exemption Application Form 01‐339 to the supplier at the time of purchase.


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Providing Rainwater Storage Clean Enough to Drink

The City of Sunset Valley offers financial incentive rebates for rainwater systems to encourage water conservation. Qualifying residents can receive up to $3,500 per household towards the cost of water storage tanks, gutters, leaf screens, first-flush diverters, conveyance piping and for water treatment systems.


Pre-Eligibility requirements include:


- The system must have at least 900 gallons in the storage volume
- The approved building permit for the system
- Rebate approval through a pre-inspection with a Public Works representative before commencing work on the system
- The system must last for a minimum of 20 years
- The rainwater cistern(s) must be either UV resistant or enclosed/painted Rebates will be issued after the system is installed and inspected by a Public - Works representative and a final cost report submitted.

Pioneer Water Tanks America dealer network can design a rainwater system that complies with the requirements for the City of Sunset rebates and can submit plans for the inspection of a Public Works representative.


Below are a few rainwater systems by authorized dealers and installers of Pioneer Water Tanks America

The rebates available for the City of Sunset Valley for rainwater harvesting systems are:


- For the first $500.00 spent, 100% of the cost can be rebated back to the qualifying resident.


- For systems that cost more than $500.00, half of the cost can be rebated back with a total rebate of $3,500 available per household.


Homes with metal, slate or clay roofs can collect water for potable purposes. Other roof types can only use collected water for irrigation purposes.



Qualifying Residents Eligibility:


- A pre-inspection must be completed before being approved for a rebate.


- A system must collect a minimum of 300 gallons and be able to store one inch of rainfall based on roof catchment area. Most homes will need to collect at least 900 gallons of water.


- The system should last for a minimum of 20 years.


- Tank specifications must be included in the application.


- Tanks should be UV resistant or enclosed/painted.


- Rebates will be issued after the system is installed and inspected by a Public Works representative and a final cost report submitted.

- Approved Building Permit.


To apply please submit:


1.) Completed Application (link)


2.) Site Plan including layout of buildings, streets, and proposed tank location.


3.) System drawing including design calculations and how water will travel from the roof to the tank and then where the water will be used.


4.) Operation and maintenance guide explaining how the system works and how it will be maintained.

The State of Texas allows components of rainwater systems to be sales-tax free. View the Section 151.355 of the Texas Tax Code (link). In order to have your system components be sales-tax free, you must fill out a Texas Tax Exemption Application Form 01-339 and give it to the supplier at the time of purchase.


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Leading the Way in Water

Pioneer Water Tanks took off in 1988 with the drive of providing the longest-lasting water storage for the harsh environment of Australia. Engineers designed Pioneer tanks with the innovative V-LOCK corrugated tank body profile to work with the best tank liner manufacturer, Bartlett Industries.


The Team at Pioneer Water Tanks continues the tradition of leading the way in water storage with it’s manufacturing factory and supporting the local network distribution. Pioneer Water Tanks America visited this high-tech factory to observe the team at work along with the automation technologies that have recently been added.


The Pioneer Water Tanks manufacturing factory is located just outside of Perth, Western Australia. The factory and office are organized into departments that are constantly optimized to work together for efficiency. From the engineering department to the sale, the team at Pioneer Water Tanks provides for the worldwide network of dealers, distributors and installation crews.

ZINCALUME® Steel coils are sent directly from BlueScope Steel in to be cut and shaped into the V-LOCK corrugation. Other components are formed in their designated areas, along with organizing tanks for shipping to their local distributor.


Pioneer Water Tanks is known as the premier water tank in Australia and is what people commonly rely on for their entire water supply. Rainwater harvesting is estimated to supply for almost half of the population’s water supply. Water distribution is mainly just offered in the cities so homes, ranches, and businesses will typically have a Pioneer Water Tank as a water source.

Rainwater Harvesting System at the Pioneer Water Tanks Factory

Rainwater Harvesting System at the Factory

The Display Pioneer Water Tank

Commercial Mangrove Pioneer Water Tank

The original Pioneer Water Tanks installed in 1988 still stand today without corrosion thanks to the quality of ZINCALUME® Steel and engineering that went into the construction. Investing in a Pioneer Water Tank is a lifetime solution that is reflected by the top tier customer service that is provided for projects worldwide.


Pioneer Water Tanks America provides water storage across North America. Let's talk about your project and connect you with an accredited, local dealer.


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Leading the Way in Water Storage World Wide

The Mars Wrigley Confectionery in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia has been producing delicious chocolate candy for over thirty years. The Mars Confectionery began in 1979 with 70 staff members and has grown to employ over 1,500 staff while contributing over $3 billion to the local economy.


The site produces Snickers, Mars Bars, Milky Way, M&Ms, Maltesers, Bounty, and Dove Chocolates. Candy creation takes a lot of water that is stored in Pioneer Water Tanks that were designed and installed by Specialised Tank Services.

The Pioneer Water Tanks system has plans for expansion as chocolate production expands at Mars. The commercial water storage tanks have all of the necessary accessories including caged ladders and water indicators to show the levels of water. The tanks are made with Colorbond® Steel to blend in well with the landscape.


Specialised Tank Services originated in Western Victoria, Australia in 1992. Owner Richard Holloway is experienced in the licensed plumbing industry and saw the need for servicing the water tanks in his area. The company has expanded to become the water storage experts for rural, domestic and commercial projects in the area.

From the Mars Wrigley Confectionery to residential rainwater systems, Specialised Tank Services take care of their customers.


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Leading the Way in Water


Pioneer Water Tank distributors met in Alice Springs in the Northern Territory of Australia for this year’s conference. The distributor, dealer, installation network of Pioneer Water Tanks is dedicated to keeping the brand quality that is known worldwide. This conference focused on Pioneer Water Tanks leading the way in water in manufacturing and engineering.


The Aquabot commercial for Pioneer Water Tanks Australia has been released. Leading the water in water since 1988, Pioneer Water Tanks combine the longest-lasting tank body with the innovative AQUALINER® Fresh liner.

The AQUALINER® Fresh is upgrading the water storage industry with embedded Sanitized® antimicrobial technology. Representatives from Bartlett came to discuss the new innovation, along with the purveyor the technology. The superior liner fabric is designed by Bartlett Tank Liners (link) exclusively for Pioneer Water Tanks. The Swiss company Sanitized® has been producing antimicrobial technology applications for many industries and have partnered with Gale Industries to improve the technology embedded in the tank liner.


The results of the antimicrobial technology AQUALINER® Fresh:

  • Improves freshness of the water stored within the liner

  • Prevents bacterial and microbial growth

  • NSF-61 Certified for drinking water

The Pioneer Distributor and Dealer network are set up to provide the best possible customer service for the exceptional product line. Our network is able to work together and with market experts to continue connecting with customers across the world.


Pioneer Water Tanks set advanced expectations for the accredited network on top of providing exceptional service, to understand the product in great detail.

Daniel Wyatt, GM of Pioneer Water Tanks

Daniel Wyatt, GM of Pioneer Water Tanks


Richard Dunfield and Jessica Huntington represented Pioneer Water Tanks America at the Australian Conference. The team manages the sales and marketing for the North American dealer network.


“We are grateful for this trip of a lifetime, where we met the most amazing people and got to explore parts of Australia while learning about Pioneer Water Tanks.” - Jessica Huntington

Richard Dunfield and Jessica Huntington at the Caversham Wildlife Park

Richard Dunfield and Jessica Huntington at the Caversham Wildlife Park

A conference isn’t complete without some fun so everyone went out to the Henley on Todd Regatta (link) together on the last day. There’s probably not a race anywhere in the world that comes close to this dry river bed boat race, that ends in battle boats created by engineers.


The Henley is the longest running event in the Northern Territory and raises money for the local Rotary club. Everyone had fun watching the show and enjoying the local Alice Springs culture.


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Watermark Rainwater Harvesting in Santa Cruz, California

Watermark Rainwater Harvesting


Serving Santa Cruz County and Beyond with Sustainable Water Systems

The Watermark Rainwater Harvesting team provide systems for residential and commercial buildings in Santa Cruz County and beyond. The goal at Watermark is to design and build sustainable water systems that are efficient and easy to maintain.


“We are committed to helping our customers Design, Build and understand the benefits of Rainwater Harvesting and Greywater systems while creating and inhabiting a resilient sustainable environment for the future.” - Mick Merrell, owner of Watermark Rainwater Harvesting


A recent project of Watermark can be found at the Central Home Supply store in Scotts Valley, California. The system uses the metal building roof as the collection space with a gutter system that conveys the rainwater into the 3,000-gallon capacity Pioneer Water Tank.

The rainwater can be used for irrigation for Central Home Supply and is a clean, renewable water source. With only one inch of rain on a small, 2,000-square foot roof, you can collect around 1,200 gallons of clean rainwater. There are many residents in Santa Cruz County that collect a lot more capacity during the rainy season so that they can use it the rest of the year.


One of the initial calculations that Watermark provides is the estimated about of rainwater that can be collected from a building roof.


This tank didn't need a permit.

Santa Cruz County recommends using rainwater systems as a sustainable water source. A building permit isn’t required in Santa Cruz County for rainwater systems if the following situations are in place:


-  The system is only used for outdoor, non-spray irrigation purposes
-  The rainwater storage tank has a capacity of less than 5,000-gallons
-  The ratio of height to diameter (or width) of the rainwater tank doesn’t exceed 2 to 1.
-  The rainwater harvesting system doesn’t require power. (Gravity alone can usually supply enough pressure to 5,000-gallon systems).
-  The system doesn’t mix the rainwater with a different water source like utility water.



Read more: http://www.sccoplanning.com/Portals/2/Rainwater%20Harvest.pdf?ver=2018-04-17-134151-573

Watermark Rainwater Harvesting has a lot of experience working with the County Building department requirements for rainwater system permitting if needed. They can supply an optional engineer-stamped package for the permit where required.


Talk with Watermark today at 408-690-7581 or learn more at their website http://watermarkrainwaterharvesting.com/


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Supplying Rainwater Harvesting Systems with Clean Storage

The size of a rainwater tank depends on the average annual rainfall in your area, the rooftop collection area and the capacity needs of your household. It’s also important to research the local authority regulations on water tanks, including permitting requirements.


There are resources such as the Current Results website that break down rainfall averages by State, and then by major city:




US Climate Data by State:



Local rainfall data is also sometimes provided by the County or public education colleges in the area if you require more detailed, accurate data. It’s safe to say that rainwater systems should prepare for an excess and a recess of rainfall in all cases, with enough capacity to hold rain in changing the weather.


The basic equation of calculating how much rainwater you can collect off of your roof is the catchment area (ft 2 ) multiplied by the rainfall depth (inches of rain) multiplied by a 0.623 conversion factor.

There are many factors that affect this, including what materials the roof is made of, the slope of the roof, and rate of the rainfall. The Texas AgriLife Extension Office has created an extensive spreadsheet calculation that breaks down rainwater collection by the month.

The capacity needs of your household or business depend on a lot of factors, including what this will be a water source. If the drinking water system is also being replaced by rainwater, the capacity needs should provide for the longest anticipated time without rain with a backup plan for if it ever goes dry. The average water-conserving household will use between 20 and 25 gallons per person, per day - but this estimate goes as high as 80 to 100 gallons per person, per day.


The basic rule for sizing a rainwater system capacity is finding the volume of water that equals or exceeds domestic end uses or the water demand. If the household is using a utility water system, water usage is easier to gauge based on past billing. Irrigation typically takes 40% of water, but it depends on your specific location and general needs. The Texas Water Development Board gauges that irrigation can take up to 60% of water usage during peak summer months.


One rough estimation method for storage capacity is to size the tank to meet the quarterly demand or a three-month period. If you can take three of the highest water usage months’ needs, that can be a rough estimate for a residential system. Commercial systems should be more detailed to provide for the sustainable goals set forth for the system.


Another capacity estimation method is to look at the rainwater system like a monthly checkbook balance. The volume captured every month is added to the previous water capacity “balance” and the water usage is subtracted. This system would require an initial volume of water in the tanks before the system is put into place since it relies on collecting rainwater to replace the water used.

It's recommended to involve a rainwater or irrigation professional with rainwater systems above 500-gallons. Only an accredited professional will understand the exact calculations and requirements to ensure a safe rainwater system to replace an existing water system. Pioneer Water Tanks America only works with accredited professionals with a proven project history. If you are in need of a rainwater system or would like a quote for your location - fill out the contact form below so that we can connect you with a professional. Our office can also be reached at (877) 223-7784.


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