|Cross Connection Control and Backflow Assemblies|
What are cross-connections? A cross-connection is any actual or potential physical connection between your public water supply and a source of contamination or pollution, which could enter the public drinking water system. This connection can be created when using certain appliances or plumbing fixtures. A cross-connection can pose a serious threat to your home water supply and your public water supply.
Normal system pressure prevents other substances from flowing backwards into the public water system. However certain events may lower the main pressure enough to allow a reversal of water flow into the general system.
The following link will take you to the latest American Backflow Prevention Association(ABPA) video that explains the importance of having an effective cross connection control program. The City of Coeur d'Alene is a member of the ABPA. American Backflow Prevention Association YouTube Video
Isolation/Containment There are two types of backflow protection isolation and containment. Isolation is the control of cross connections within a building’s plumbing system by the installation of approved backflow prevention assemblies or methods at or near the potential sources of pollution or contamination.
Containment is the installation of an approved backflow prevention assembly, or method, on the water service lines serving any premises, location, facility or area. Protection by containment shall be used when the potable water system may be contaminated or polluted by substances used or stored within a building or premises.
Legislation The Idaho legislature has adopted rules which prohibit hazardous connections to a drinking water supply. In addition to these rules, the Department of Environmental Quality has adopted regulations which require water suppliers to protect the public distribution systems from possible contamination.
The state regulations require water utilities to protect distribution systems through the use of backflow prevention devices. The regulations also require that these valves be maintained and tested a minimum of once a year. In 1983, the City of Coeur d’Alene passed an ordinance that made it unlawful for any user of city water “to introduce or permit the introduction of pollution or contamination of any kind into the City water supply system.” This same ordinance also made it unlawful for any person to “install or maintain any cross connection with in the City of Coeur d’Alene.”
The Proper Assembly The regulations will require you to participate in this program by installing a special device near your water meter at the service connection or immediately inside your building. This device will prevent the possibility of water or other material from flowing back into the public water distribution system. These devices are called backflow prevention assemblies. The type of device needed will depend on how the water is used within your plumbing system.
Through Coeur d’Alene’s Cross-Connection Control Program, the City will determine what type of protection is required. State and industry specifications establish standards for installing and testing backflow prevention assemblies.
The Annual Inspection Once your backflow prevention assembly is installed, it will be necessary to annually test and maintain the unit to make sure it is functioning properly. The maximum allowable time between your scheduled backflow inspections is one year. It is the property owner’s responsibility to make sure an inspection is set up with a State Certified Cross-Connection Technician and that the City receives a copy of the passed backflow device report prior to the one-year maximum. The city will send out a reminder prior to the one-year inspection due date.
Containment Through this program, the Water Department will require that your system be separated from the public system. If a backflow situation occurs, the city water supply will be protected from any contamination that may flow from your plumbing system into the public water system.
Isolation It is very important for you to take necessary precautions for protecting your internal plumbing system. This type of protection is called isolation protection. Isolation protection will be each consumer’s responsibility, as dictated by the plumbing code.
Although your plumbing system may have been constructed with great care in the past, changes may have created the need for additional protection for your system with special backflow prevention devices.
Disconnection In the event that a facility owner does not demonstrate program compliance in a timely manner, the City of Coeur d’Alene will disconnect the water supply to that facility. Disconnection and reconnection fees will be charged.
Additional Resources: The following files are in pdf format
Cross Connection Control References
Fire Sprinklers and Backflow Protection
Idaho Administrative Code relating to Cross Connection Control in Public Water Systems
Lawn Irrigation Systems and Backflow Protection
Non-Residential Buildings and Backflow Protection
City of Coeur d'Alene Backflow Test Report
North Idaho Regional Water Purveyor (NIRWP) Test Report
Cross Connection Control Certification
Licensed Backflow Testers
3 Questions to Ask Your Potential Tester
Test Your Irrigation System Backflow Assembly
Safe Winterization of Irrigation Systems
Greg Schrempp's Irrigation Systems Video