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Cross Connection/Backflow Prevention

What is a cross connection?
A link between your drinking water system and a source of contamination, a way for "bad stuff" to get into your good clean drinking water. The term "cross connection" means any actual or potential connection (piping/hose) between a public water system and a source of contamination.

What is Backflow?
Do you realize that water can flow two directions in a hose or pipe? When water is flowing in the opposite direction from its normal flow that is backflow and it can put our drinking water in danger.

What are common examples of cross connection hazards (source of contamination) that need to be protected with a backflow preventer?

  • Fire sprinkler system
  • lawn irrigation systems
  • Auxiliary water supply (wells)
  • hot tubs/spas
  • swimming pools
  • hose bibs/garden hose
  • boiler
  • boiler
  • carbonation equipment
  • film processors
  • fire systems
  • x-ray machines
  • dental equipment
  • etching tanks
  • Note: Toilets and sinks have an Air Gap for backflow protection

Why is a backflow preventer necessary?
All it takes for backflow conditions to occur is a drop in line pressure in the water main, which can happen due to use of hydrants for fire fighting, water main break, high usage or backpressure. In America, we all assume when we turn the tap on that we have safe drinking water. This is a luxury we enjoy, but not without very strong regulations and considerable expense. Our drinking water is among the safest in the world. Water protection and conservation requires the effort and cooperation of everyone.

What is the legal basis for a local cross connection control program?
The Safe Drinking Water Act of 1986, and Washington State Administrative Code (WAC 246-290-490) requires the Water District to administer a Cross Connection Control Program that will protect the drinking water supply, and to coordinate with the Local Authorities that protect the drinking water supply from possible backflow hazards within the plumbing system of buildings

Do I currently have adequate backflow protection? And, how can I find out?
If you have questions pertaining to your home or building, contact our office at (360) 447-3500.

What is my liability as a building owner property manager and water purveyor?
Legally, the "purveyor" of the water supply is responsible for the water quality and for implementing and maintaining a cross connection control program in order to prevent the contamination of the public water system. The water purveyor is the public water department, up to and including the service connection from the water main. From the outlet of the water meter or service connection including all piping down downstream inside the owner?s premise, the legal purveyor of the water supply is actually the property owner.

What are types of backflow protection?
An Approved Air Gap Separation

Mechanical Assemblies used in the prevention of backflow are separated into three types:

  • Reduced Pressure Backflow Assemblies (RPBA) including Reduced Pressure Detector Assemblies (RPDA)
  • Double Check Valve Assemblies (DCVA), including Double Check Detector Check (DCDA)
  • Pressure Vacuum Breaker Assemblies (PVBA) and Spill-Resistant Pressure Breaker Assemblies (SVBA)

Mechanical Devices used in the prevention of backflow include:
  • Atmospheric Vacuum Breaker (AVB)
  • Hose Bib Vacuum Breaker device (HBVB), also known as a Hose Connection Vacuum Breaker
  • Dual Check with Atmospheric Vent, also known as a Backflow Preventer with Intermediate vent
  • Dual Check Backflow Preventer
  • Residential Meter Check

How often do Backflow Assemblies have to be tested?
Backflow Assemblies must be tested at the time of installation, annually after installation, after a backflow incident, and after any repairs have been made. If an assembly is relocated and/or reinstalled it must be retested. Anytime a backflow assembly is tested a test report needs to be submitted to Silverdale Water District.

Who can test the Backflow Assembly?
To test backflow assemblies in the State of Washington a person must have a Washington State Department of Health Certification as a Backflow Assembly Tester (BAT).

What do I do if my backflow assembly fails the annual test?
If your backflow assembly fails it annual test; it needs to be cleaned, repaired or in some cases it may need to be completely replaced. After cleaning, repair or replacement a successful re-test needs to be performed.

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