Backflow Prevention / Cross-Connection Control
The Town of Apex Water Resources Department is continually looking for ways to increase efficiency and properly allocate resources while managing the requirements of our backflow prevention / cross connection control program. One of the primary ways to accomplish this is through contract services and technology by using an internet based third party contractor (BSI Online) to manage the tracking and notification of required backflow testing. The required annual notifications will be sent to the owners of backflow devices by BSI Online and the passing results should be submitted electronically by the testers using a formatted form back to the third party vendor. The approximate cost of this service to the tester is $12.95 for each test submitted. This payment will be the responsibility of the approved tester.
Effective May 1, 2015, the Town of Apex will no longer accept backflow test reports.
Please visit BSI Online’s website to view information about the organization and how they partner with municipalities all across the US to manage backflow prevention/cross connection programs of all sizes.
The following documents can be viewed for further information:
Note: Town water customers can register free of charge with BSI Online to view backflow test information submitted to BSI by the tester on their behalf.
Testers who are not up to date on both their certification and equipment calibration are inactive on the Town approved tester list. Any tester who would like to be reactivated on the list must submit current paperwork (certification and equipment calibration) to BSI Online via their website or by phone at 1-800-414-4990.
All testers that wish to get on the town’s approved tester list must:
- Complete the Cross Connection Control Tester Application form found at www.apexnc.org/crossconnectionapprovedtester
- Please allow 1-2 business days for new tester approval through the Town.
Town backflow site survey is below. Backflow preventer surveys will be required for all new installs, certificate of occupancy, change of use, company name change, and ownership change.
Safe Drinking Water Act
In 1974, Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) to protect public health by regulating the nation’s public water supply. Under this law, the Town of Apex (the water purveyor) is prohibited from installing or maintaining a water service connection to a consumer’s water system within its jurisdiction, unless the public potable water supply is protected against backflow by an approved prevention assembly installed at the service connection or point of delivery.
The town goes to great lengths to ensure that the water delivered to citizens is of the highest quality. When water leaves the Apex/Cary treatment plant, it is in its freshest and purest state. However, during delivery, there is a danger that the water may become contaminated or polluted from sources out of our control. This can happen when the water supply main, pipe, or service line is connected to equipment containing a substance not fit for drinking. These cross-connections may be permanent or temporary and have the potential to result in serious illness or even death.
Backflow is the reversal of the flow of water or the mixing of water and other unwanted substances into the water distribution system. Water distribution systems are designed to flow in 1 direction from the main to the customer. When the direction of flow is reversed due to pressure differences such as fire fighting efforts, a water main break, or consumer high-side pressure (pumps), contaminants can enter the potable drinking water system. A single backflow incident can potentially affect hundreds or even thousands of people.
A cross connection is a permanent or temporary piping arrangement between potable water and a non-potable source. Potentially hazardous cross-connections can occur in the following examples:
- A hose is placed in a bucket of car wash solution while a person is washing their car.
- Someone uses a garden hose sprayer to apply insecticides or herbicides to their lawn.
- Someone uses their garden hose to clear a stoppage in their sewer line.
The Town of Apex administers a cross connection control program to ensure the safety of the drinking water. The Town has developed and implemented an ordinance that requires all industrial, commercial, and irrigation customers to install approved backflow prevention assemblies on their property before branching to a private system. Annual testing of backflow preventers is required.
Degrees of Hazard
Different types of backflow prevention assemblies are required depending on the degree of hazard.
A high hazard exists when there is danger that a backflow incident could create a health threat. Examples of this classification include:
- Lawn irrigation systems
- Manufacturing plants where dyes or chemicals are mixed
A moderate hazard can occur when there is not a health threat, but a backflow incident could cause drinking water to be discolored or have an odor. Retail stores and offices are examples of this classification. Cross-connection control staff evaluate both new and existing customers to determine which hazards, if any, exist and the type of backflow prevention assembly that is required.
Over half of the nation's cross-connections involve unprotected garden hoses. Without a backflow prevention assembly between your hose and hose-bibb (spigot or outside faucet), the contents of the hose and anything it is connected to (e.g., bucket of sudsy car wash water) can backflow into the piping system and contaminate the drinking water in your own home. Each spigot on your house should have a hose-bibb vacuum breaker installed. This is a simple, inexpensive device which can be purchased at any plumbing or hardware store. Installation is as easy as threading it onto the spigot.