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Backflow Prevention and Device Testing

Water distribution systems are designed with the intention of the water flowing from the distribution system to the consumer. If a system is unprotected, it is possible for water to flow in the opposite direction. This is called backflow and it can compromise the public water supply.

A cross-connection is any physical arrangement where a public water supply is directly connected either continuously or intermittently, with any secondary source of supply. Potential secondary water supplies include sewers, floor drains, pools, irrigation systems, storage reservoirs, plumbing fixtures, or other devices which contain or may contain any water, contaminated liquid or other water of unknown or unsafe quality.

Irrigation systems are required to have properly working cross-connection control devices installed. These devices restrict water flowing from the customer's irrigation system into the public water supply. Without this device, contamination from the customer's irrigation system could enter the customer's service line and the water main, contaminating the public water supply.

Backsiphonage is a specific type of backflow, and it occurs when the water system pressure is reduced. A reduction of system pressure is caused by an interruption of normal water flow and can occur during main breaks or repairs, power outages and during demand periods.

Backflow Prevention Mandates

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) regulates backflow prevention via Indiana Administrative Code under Title 327 IAC 8-10, Indiana Register, Volume 11, Number 2. IDEM requires utilities to monitor cross-connection control devices for compliance and to maintain records of device test results. Also, all lawn irrigation systems are required to have cross-connection control devices installed. These devices must be tested every year.

For more information regarding backflow prevention and compliance requirements veiw the The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) Cross Connection Control and Backflow Prevention Manual - 2013 Edition

Backflow Device Testing Is Required

Cross-connection control devices must be tested every year. Devices installed on irrigation systems must be tested when the system is activated for the sprinkling season. Device tests must be performed by certified testers.

Testers are certified by the state of Indiana after attending a 35-hour training class, passing a written examination and successfully completing tests on actual prevention devices. Contact your irrigation system contractor or look in the phonebook when in search of a certified tester.

Once the test is complete, you or your tester must submit documentation to Citizens Water.

Due dates for this documentation vary by the type of cross-connection control device.

Pressure Vacuum Breaker (PVB) devices must be tested annually. Letter and inspection forms are mailed to customers with these devices each year on May 1. Inspection reports are due 30 days from receipt of this notification. Those who have not filed this documentation by June 1 will receive a mailed reminder. Failure to comply with inspection requirements may result in service disconnection.

Reduce Pressure (RP) and Double Check Assembly (DCA) devices may be required to be tested once per year or every six months. Letters and inspection forms are mailed to customers based on the date of their first inspection.

Atmospheric Vacuum Breaker (AVB) and Sewer Vacuum Breaker (SVB) devices are grandfathered in our system. Customers with these types of devices are not required to submit annual inspection paperwork. If an event occurs that requires the device to be replaced, it must be replaced with one of the other devices mentioned above.

Customers are required to notify Citizens Water when they install a new irrigation system. If you decide you no longer wish to use your irrigation system, it must be properly disconnected. Citizens Water must be notified so that we may inspect the work and indicate in our system that you no longer need to submit annual device testing paperwork. If you decide you do not want to use your irrigation system but you do not want to disconnect it, you are still required to test your system annually.

If you have any questions regarding Backflow Prevention or Backflow Device Testing, please call (317) 924-3311. Also, if your device fails to meet passing standards or does not comply with state regulations, please contact Citizens Water.