A cross connection is any physical connection between a drinking water supply and any source of contamination. Contamination occurs when there is backflow, which happens when the flow of water reverses and pulls or pushes potential contaminants into the drinking water supply.
Backflow may affect the quality of the drinking water to your home or business and can be hazardous. Customers play an important role in protecting our water supply from backflow that may contaminate the community’s drinking water.
Backflow occurs as a result of backpressure or backsiphonage. Backpressure is when the water supply is connected to a device, such as a boiler or pressure washer, that creates pressure that is greater than the water supply. Backsiphonage occurs when there is a loss of pressure in the water supply, such as when a fire hydrant is opened or a water main breaks. Air and non-drinkable substances – like bacteria from animal droppings and chemicals sprayed on yards – are siphoned into lawn sprinkler heads and weak pipe fittings. These contaminants could be pulled into drinking water supply lines, such as those connected to the kitchen sink.
Backflow can be eliminated when residents install a backflow preventer.
A backflow preventer is a device that’s installed on your home’s water pipes to keep contaminants, like chemicals from yard sprays or bacteria from animal droppings, out of the water supply.
Residential backflow preventers may be found on lawn irrigation systems, wet fire protection systems, hot water heating (boiler) systems, swimming pools, water features, etc. It is important to have your backflow preventer inspected each year as outlined by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and Indiana Plumbing Code.
The installation and annual testing of backflow devices are required by the City of Evansville and State of Indiana. To comply, you should hire a licensed and/or certified backflow tester to test your backflow preventer.
Once the test is complete, the certified backflow tester will hang a tag with the test results on or near the backflow preventer. The tester will then submit the test results to EWSU via aquabackflow.com/trackmybackflow. Failure to have your system inspected annually violates federal, state and local regulations and may result in fines.
For questions about the Cross Connection Control Program, including installing testing and repairing backflow preventers, please contact EWSU Regulatory Compliance at 812-436-7015.