What is a cross connection?
It is a potential connection between potable water (water that is safe to drink) and non-potable water (water that is not considered fit for drinking)
What is a backflow?
This is water flowing in the opposite direction of the intended direction of flow. This can be caused by a loss of pressure in the supply line. As a result of this contaminants could be drawn through the cross connection into the customer’s pipe. If the backflow continues it will then travel into the water main.
Most plumbing fixtures in your home have built in backflow protection. An example of a fixture that has a built in backflow prevention is faucets located around the house. The fixture is installed above the maximum water level providing an air gap between the faucet and water preventing backflows.
There are other items around the house that do not have these built in backflow preventers. Lawn irrigation sprinklers that are set into the ground and if the lawn becomes saturated after water or a big rain event puddles of water may develop. If the puddles develop the sprinklers may become submerged in water that could be contaminated with lawn fertilizer or other substances. Then when or if a backflow does occur there contaminates could be pulled into the water main.
- Forcing a hose into a clogged gutter, downspout, or sewer pipe
- Connecting the hose directly to a hose end sprayer that contains pesticides or fertilizer
- Connecting a soap and brush attachment to wash your vehicle
- Letting the end of the hose lie in a puddle, pool of water, or a bucket that contain a chemical.
- Lawn irrigation systems including secondary water systems
- An older home that has retained a private well but has been connected to the municipal system, with only a valve separating the two water sources.
How is Backflow prevented?
The best method is an air gap which either eliminates a cross connection or provides a backflow barrier. If an air gap is not practical than a mechanical preventer is needed. Lawn irrigation systems are required to have backflow preventers and these preventers are required to be tested annually.
Getting your backflow devices tested relatively simple. Call any of the certified tester on the list provided in the link below. You will be able to set up an appointment with them. Once your device is tested keep a copy of the manifest they provided and they will main one to city corporation. Once your backflow device in registered in our system, you will get a yearly letter reminding you that the device is due for testing.
A list of backflow testers can be found here…
Backflow Testing Companies