Cross Connection FAQ
Backflow is the reverse flow of water, other liquids or gas into the distribution pipes of a potable water supply from any unintended source. An unfortunate example of backflow occurred in 1979 in Virginia when a routine visit by an extermination company connected highly toxic insecticide chemicals barrels up to the water lines in a homeowner’s residence. The local water company was working on a water main line break and flushed their hydrants to clear the repaired main line. The chemicals were back siphoned into the house and into the city’s water main. Testing of the supply lines showed levels five times higher than safe for consumption for six days after the incident.
A BPA prevents reverse flow of water into a supply system. In general, BPAs consist of check valves, test ports and shut-off valves. When a backflow occurs, the check valves close, preventing the reversal of flow into the supply line.
In general, the city requires Reduced Pressure Zone type backflow prevention assemblies at all commercial, industrial, non-single-family-residential service connections and on irrigation lines. There are some exceptions to this requirement.
The city regulations require BPAs to be installed after the service connection (water meter) and before any plumbing branches. This is known as “containment” protection, and protects the city’s water supply line from potential contaminants found in a commercial, industrial or multi-family residential facility. BPAs must be installed in accordance with all requirements in the Municipal Code by a licensed plumber, then tested by a certified backflow assembly testing technician.
BPAs must be tested by a certified backflow assembly testing technician, who holds a current certification from either the ABPA or the ASSE. The technician’s certification type (ABPA or ASSE), certification number and expiration date must be shown on the BPA test report.
Annual test reports for BPAs that pass, must be submitted to the city, preferably by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org within 10 days after the test has been done. The report must be submitted to the city by the certified backflow assembly testing technician, or their associated company. You must retain copies of backflow reports and maintenance records for a minimum of three years.
The certified backflow assembly testing technician provided me with a failing test report for my BPA, what am I required to do with the report?
If the BPA fails the test, the city must be notified by phone or e-mail the same day of the failed test and the report must be submitted within 10 days after the test has been done. The BPA must also be repaired and retested or replaced within 30 days after the failed test has been reported to the city. You must retain copies of backflow reports and maintenance records for a minimum of three years.
Failure to comply with this requirement could result in removing the cross-connection or suspending water service until compliance is achieved