Backflow Prevention

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Backflow Prevention Program

Cross-Connection Control safeguards our public drinking water and protects the health of our customers by maintaining a high level of backflow prevention and cross-connection control. Fulfilling this mission is accomplished through careful planning, aggressive implementation, constant follow up, continued education and the combined cooperation of the health agency, the water purveyor and the consumer.

An important part of our water quality program requires the protection of the potable water supply from the possibility of contamination or pollution by enacting and enforcing a containment (secondary) backflow prevention program. The city’s potable water distribution system is designed to keep the water flowing in one direction from the distribution system through the water meter to the customer’s water system. However, when hydraulic conditions within the system deviate from the “normal” conditions, water flow can be reversed.

When this condition, known as backflow or backsiphonage occurs, water can re-enter the public potable distribution system. Cross-connections are the links through which it is possible for contaminating materials from a non-potable source to enter the potable water supply. This program promotes the elimination of actual or potential cross-connections between public potable water system and the consumer’s water systems through the use of external backflow containment assemblies.

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality requires the installation and annual testing of an approved backflow assembly at each of these hazardous cross-connections. Authority Under provisions of the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 and subsequent amendments, the water purveyor has the primary responsibility for preventing water from unapproved sources, or any other substances from entering the potable water system. Additionally the State of Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Administrative Code, Title 18, Chapter 4, Article 215 (R18-4-215) requires that all public water suppliers implement and enforce a comprehensive cross-connection control program.

Description of the Program

The Water Resources Environmental Compliance Division is responsible for the administration of the secondary (containment) backflow prevention program requirements contained in the Buckeye Ordinance Chapter 17-4-3 which are intended to meet the requirements imposed by ADEQ Administrative Code (R18-4-215).

Protecting the city’s drinking water supply can only be achieved by implementing an effective Cross Connection Control Program that focuses on Point of Service (external) backflow prevention devices and identifying sites at possible risk for harmful backflow.

This is accomplished by routine inspections to determine the degree of risk for backflow that may exist at various sites as well as periodically inspecting and evaluating backflow prevention assemblies currently in use. This includes devices such as backflow prevention assemblies for engineered fire lines, irrigation applications and commercial facilities.

By definition of city code a reduced pressure principle backflow assembly is required on all multi-family, commercial and industrial facilities as well as facilities with a dedicated landscape irrigation system. The exception would be a double check backflow assembly required for an engineered fire line.

Owner Participation & Responsibilities

The implementation and execution of an effective cross-connection control program requires the full cooperation of the water purveyor, health agency and consumer. To accomplish this, the city’s Backflow Prevention Ordinance requires the owner at his/her own expense have annual tests and inspections be performed on all backflow prevention assemblies.

To ensure that these required tests and inspections are completed, the City sends an annual test due notice to backflow assembly users notifying them when the test is due for their site. Backflow assembly tests can only be performed by professionals who have been certified by the State.

Backflow Prevention Assembly Devices

Buckeye Ordinance Chapter 17-4-3 (B) states “Approved Backflow Prevention Assembly” is an assembly of the size and type approved by the water resources department, because of inventory requirements, repair practices and tool requirements, that has been manufactured in full conformance with the American Works Association Standards for reduced pressure principle assembly devices, as modified from time to time, and have met completely the laboratory and field performance specifications of the Foundation for Cross-Connection Control and Hydraulic Research of the University of Southern California as exist from time to time and, where on a fire system, have Underwriters Laboratory and factory mutual approval, or as otherwise described, limited or provided for in section 17-7-8.” In more rudimentary terms this means that the approved assembly required for use is a Reduced Pressure Principle Backflow Assembly (RP) with the only other exceptions being a Double Check (DC) for engineered fire line applications or an Air Gap which is used when there is the potential for cross-connection with raw sewage.