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Backflow Prevention Program

Cross-Connection Control/ Backflow Prevention Program

The water division of Trussville Gas and Water strives to provide customers with a safe, reliable supply of drinking water that can be used with confidence. In addition to our internal safety procedures, we work with members of the community to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations that provide an additional level of protection for our water system. Establishing programs like our Cross-Connection Control / Backflow Prevention Program is just one example of the steps we take to ensure the safety of our water supply.

What is a backflow prevention program?

In order to comply with the regulations set by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), Trussville Gas and Water has developed a Cross-Connection and Backflow Prevention Policy in our Rules and Regulations. This policy requires that Double Check Valve Backflow Prevention Devices be tested every three (3) years and Reduced Pressure Principal Backflow Prevention Devices be tested every two (2) years to ensure proper operation.

Click here to review Trussville Gas & Water Rules and Regulations regarding Backflow Prevention.

As a public water utility, we must ensure that effective backflow prevention measures are implemented to ensure protection of the water in the public water distribution system.

Who is responsible?

Together with their public utility and other authorities, customers are responsible for preventing contamination of the private plumbing system under their control by taking prevention measures. If appropriate backflow prevention measures have not been taken, Trussville Gas & Water must take necessary action to ensure that the public water distribution system is protected from any actual or potential backflow hazard. This action may include the testing, installation, and continual assurance of proper operation and installation of backflow prevention assemblies, devices, and methods commensurate with the degree of hazard at the service connection or at the point of cross-connection or both. If these actions are not taken, water service shall be disconnected.

To reduce the risk that private plumbing systems pose to the public water distribution system, our backflow prevention program includes educational information regarding the hazards backflow presents to the safety of drinking water and also includes coordination with the cross-connection efforts of local authorities, health and plumbing officials. Additionally, we act to promote the health and safety of private plumbing systems to protect our customers from the hazards of backflow due to cross-connections.

Public health officials have long been concerned about cross-connections and backflow connections in plumbing systems and in public drinking water supply distribution systems. Such cross-connections, which make possible the contamination of potable water, are ever-present dangers. Therefore, it is the responsibility of public health officials and water utilities to exercise control over public water distribution systems and all plumbing systems connected to them. This responsibility includes advising and instructing plumbing installers in the recognition and elimination of cross-connections.

What is a cross-connection and how does it cause a backflow hazard?

Cross-connections are the links through which it is possible for contaminating materials to enter a potable water supply. The contaminant enters the potable water system when the pressure of the polluted source exceeds the pressure of the potable source. The action may be called backsiphonage or backflow (see illustration). Essentially, it is reversal of the hydraulic gradient that can be caused by a variety of circumstances. Cross-connections may appear in many subtle forms and in unsuspected places. While the probability of contamination of drinking water through a cross-connection occurring within a single plumbing system may seem remote, considering the multitude of similar systems, the probability is great.

Illustration courtesy of the Environmental Protection Agency Cross-Connection Control Manual

Why do such cross-connections exist?

Unfortunately, plumbing is frequently installed by persons who are unaware of the inherent dangers of cross-connections. Such connections are made as a simple matter of convenience without regard to the dangerous situation that might be created and are often made with reliance on inadequate protection such as a single valve or other mechanical device. To combat the dangers of cross-connections and backflow connections, education in recognition and prevention is needed.

Plumbing installers must know that hydraulic and pollution factors may combine to produce a sanitary hazard if a cross-connection is present. They must also realize that there are reliable and simple standard backflow prevention devices available and methods that may be substituted for the convenient but dangerous direct connection. Therefore, they should understand that the hazards resulting from direct connections greatly outweigh the convenience gained.

Where can I find additional information regarding cross-connections?

The Environmental Protection Agency has prepared a manual that provides information to define, describe, and illustrate typical cross-connections and to suggest simple methods and devices by which they may be eliminated without interfering with the functions of plumbing or water supply distribution systems. You may view the manual here: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Cross-Connection Control Manual.

Who can I contact to test, repair or install a backflow protector?

In compliance with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), Trussville Gas and Water requires that backflow preventers should be regularly tested for proper operation by an approved licensed testing contractor. See below for a list of list of some local companies/individuals who have met the state certification requirements to perform this testing.

Trussville Gas & Water in no way endorses the quality or performance of work provided by these companies, nor is this list given as complete or approved.

Companies/Individuals who have met the state certification requirements to test and report on Backflow Prevention Devices:

Companies/Individuals interested in performing these tests may click HERE for more information.