Cross Connection and Backflow Prevention
Water distribution systems are designed so that water flows in one direction from the water plant to the customer. Cross-Connections are any unprotected connections between a public or a consumer's potable water system. Backflow is the undesirable reversal of the flow of water or mixtures of water and other liquids or substances into the distribution pipes of the potable supply of water from any source or sources.
Federal and State laws require Water Purveyors to protect their system from cross-connections and backflow. To do this, we work closely with consumers, architects, contractors, and engineers to insure that all those who are required to comply with cross-connection control and/or backflow prevention requirements.
Q. What is a cross connection?
A. A Cross Connection is a physical connection between a possible source of contamination and the public drinking water system piping.
Q. What is backflow?
A. A possible source of contamination into the public drinking water system.
Q. What can you do to prevent backflow situations in your home or business?
- Be aware of and eliminate and/or isolate cross connections.
- Maintain air gaps on sinks and when using hoses.
- Do not submerge hoses or place them where they could become submerged.
- Install approved backflow prevention devices on lawn irrigation systems and on fire sprinkler system services.
- Do not create a connection between an auxiliary water system (well, cistern, body of water) and the water supply plumbing.
Q. Who is responsible?
- The responsibility for preventing backflow is divided. In general, state and local plumbing inspectors have authority over plumbing systems within buildings while state regulatory agencies and public water suppliers regulate protection of the distribution system at each service connection.
- Water customers have the ultimate responsibility for properly maintaining their plumbing systems.
- It is the water customer’s responsibility to ensure that unprotected cross-connections are not created and that any required backflow prevention devices are tested in accordance with state requirements and maintained in operable condition.
Q. Who is responsible for having the backflow device tested?
A. It is the responsibility of the property owner to have the backflow device tested by a qualified tester. It is also the responsibility of the property / business owner to schedule their own test appointment. All test results need to be faxed to the Public Works Department at (219)864-1628
Q. Who tests backflow devices?
A. A person who has proper cross connection control certification.
Q. Where can I find a list of qualified testers in my area?
A. The Planning and Building Department can provide a list of certified, licensed plumbers that are able to work in the Town of Schererville. Planning and Building is located in the Town Hall and can be reached at (219)322-2211 extension 4.
Q. I have an in-ground lawn sprinkler system at my residence. Am I required to have a backflow device and have it tested?
A. Yes, in-ground sprinkler systems are required to have a vacuum pressure breaker (VPB) installed on the water line servicing the system. The backflow device must also be ANNUALLY TESTED IN THE SPRING OF THAT SEASON. Results need to be faxed to the Public Works Department at (219)864-1628
Q. Who pays for the testing and how much does it cost?
A. It is the responsibility of the property owner to pay for any testing and/or required repairs to the backflow device. Cost will vary with existing device location conditions and type of device. Please review pricing requirements with the selected test company/tester before having the test performed.
Q. Will this cause any disruption in my water service?
A. Testing does require the flow of water to be stopped through the backflow device during the test process resulting in a short service interruption. The testing can be scheduled through the test company/tester for a time that will be convenient for the property owner.
Q. How often do I have to have my backflow device tested?
A. Reduced Pressure Zone device (RPZ) style backflow devices will need ANNUAL testing 1 year from the date that they were last tested. Irrigation (lawn sprinkler) Pressure Vacuum breakers (PVB) will need an ANNUAL test in the spring when the system is opened up for the season.
Q. Who do I submit my test results to?
A. The testing company will be responsible for sending the testing results to the Town of Schererville Public Works Department.