Backflow Prevention and Cross-Connection Control

Protecting our Public Water System

This informational newsletter is intended to provide a general explanation on the subject of backflow and crossconnection as well as clarity into this common concern.

Why are we concerned?

In Ohio, the responsibility for preventing backflow is divided. In general, state and local plumbing inspectors have authority over plumbing systems within buildings while the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) and water suppliers regulate protection of the Public Water System at each service connection.

Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 3745-95 requires the public water supplier to protect the Public Water System from cross-connections and prevent backflow. Backflow occurs when a crossconnection is created and a pressure reversal, either as back-siphonage or backpressure, occurs in the water supply piping.

Why now?

Jefferson Water and Sewer District (JWSD) as the water supplier is required by law to do everything reasonably possible to protect the Public Water System from contamination.

During installation of the new meter reading hardware, JWSD is entering some homes for the first time in many years. It is JWSD’s responsibility to notify residents of any observed potential and/or actual hazards and adherence to OEPA as well as JWSD codes and regulations.

What is your responsibility?

Water customers have the ultimate responsibility for properly maintaining their plumbing systems , ensuring cross-connections are not created, and required backflow prevention devices are installed, operable, and annually tested. Why should you be concerned? Backflow happens more often than you think. Backflow can be a health hazard for your family and other consumers if contaminated water enters your wa- ter supply. Poisonings, illness, and death have all been caused by backflow when cross-connections and backflow prevention devices are not adequately maintained. Common backflow hazards such as submerged hoses, hoses with fertilizer nozzles attached, boiler systems, and water operated sump-pumps are often overlooked. What can you do? Be aware of your property’s potential for crossconnection and/or backflow. You are legally responsible for protecting your water supply from crossconnections or backflow that may contaminate potable water from the Public Water System. Types of conditions and types of protection required are detailed on the reverse page. Additionally, check with your licensed plumber regarding plumbing codes that may impact the installation of your backflow device.

Where Protection Is Required

New Construction or Tap Into Public Water System

All single family homes shall install a DCA testable backflow device. If, in the opinion of JWSD, there is a higher degree of system and/or health hazard, the home shall have a RPZ backflow device installed.

Some conditions with potential system hazards include, but are not limited to:

  • Swimming Pools
  • Hot Tubs
  • Irrigation Systems
  • Wells
  • Ponds
  • Lakes

Existing Homes

All single family homes shall at the minimum, have a DCA testable backflow device as JWSD considers all service connections to the Public Water System a potential system hazard. If, in the opinion of JWSD, there is a higher degree of system and/or health hazard, the home may be required to meet further protection methods.

Special Conditions

Auxiliary Water Systems must be eliminated unless the following conditions are met:
a. The auxiliary water system must be completely separated from the plumbing connected to the Public Water System
b. A RPZ backflow device must be installed at the service connection to the Public Water System.

*New Booster Pumps shall be permitted if the following condition is met: a. The booster pump draws from a surge tank filled through an air gap separation device.

*Installed on or after February 2, 2017

Existing Booster Pumps must be removed unless the following conditions are met:
a. The booster pump draws from a surge tank filled through an air gap separation device.

Or

a. A low pressure cutoff is installed on the pump
b. A RPZ backflow device must be installed at the service connection to the water system.

*New Irrigation Systems must meet the following conditions:

a. A RPZ backflow device must be installed at the service connection to the Public Water System.

*Installed on or after February 2, 2017

Existing Irrigation Systems must meet the following conditions:

a. A RPZ backflow device must be installed at the service connection to the Public Water System.

Or

a. A DCA backflow device must be installed at the service connection to the Public Water System.
b. A PVB backflow device must be installed at the connection to the irrigation system.

Inspection and Maintenance

Each backflow prevention device installed at a premises must be operationally tested by a state certified backflow device tester at the time of installation and annually after installation. Backflow reports must be submitted within ten days of installation, repair, or overhaul. Annual reports must be submitted by January 1st of each year for the previous calendar year. Installs, inspections, tests and overhauls must be performed by a person licensed or certified by the State of Ohio. JWSD does not require backflow installers and testers to be licensed with the District.

Backflow Form

Definitions

  • Public Water System is the District’s system for the provision of potable water to the public.
  • Service Connection is the end of a service line at the meter (if installed) from the Public Water System.
  • Cross-Connection is any physical connection between the Public Water System and a potential source of contamination.
  • Backflow is the flow of water, other liquids, mixtures, or substances into the Public Water System from a potential source of contamination.
  • Booster Pump is any device which is intended to increase the inline water pressure.
  • Auxiliary Water System is any water system on or availa
  • ble to a premises served by the Public Water System. Including, but not limited to, wells, ponds, lakes, or any other pumped system.
  • Backflow Prevention Device is any device, method, or type of construction intended to prevent backflow into the Public Water System.
  • Backpressure is when a higher opposing pressure is applied against the Public Water System’s pressure.
  • Back-siphonage is when the water supply pressure is lost or falls to a level lower than the source of contamination
  • System Hazard is a condition posing an actual or potential threat to the Public Water System or Customer’s Water System after the service connection.
  • Health Hazard is any condition, device, or practice that is an actual or potential danger to the health and wellbeing of the public served by the Public Water System.
  • Degree of Hazard is a term for the evaluation of the actual or potential risk to the health and well-being of the public served by the Public Water System.
  • Double Check Valve Assembly (DCA) is an assembly composed of two single, independently acting check valves, including tightly closing shutoff valves located at each end of the assembly and suitable connections for testing the water-tightness of each check valve.
  • Reduced Pressure Zone (RPZ) is a device containing a minimum of two independently acting check valves together with an automatically operated pressure differential relief valve located between two check valves.
  • Air Gap Separation Device is a complete physical separation through means of a tank with free atmosphere between the Public Water System and any potential System Hazard.
  • Pressure Vacuum Breaker is a device containing a spring loaded poppet that allows air to enter the water system if a syphon tries to form, with test valves.
  • Low Pressure Cutoff is a device that will terminate the operation of a water pump if the pressure in the service line on the suction side of the pump falls below 10 PSI.

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