What is Backflow?

Preventing contamination of the potable water supply is something the state, county, and local municipalities take very seriously, imposing strict rules and regulations often at all three levels. Sometimes these rules and regulations can differ between locations, and working with a local certified contractor is required to ensure compliance. But before we can talk about compliance, we must understand how cross-contamination occurs and why backflow can be an issue.

Almost all public water supply systems are pressurized. Through this pressurization, the water utility achieves two goals. First, they can supply the pressure necessary in providing customers with a uniform and consistent water supply. Secondly, the pressure helps to keep contaminated water from entering the potable supply by creating a barrier of sorts at the point of service. But under certain conditions, such as a system-wide depressurization, frozen lines, or other scenarios, the public water supply may see a reduction in pressure, and contaminated water may enter this water supply; this is called backflow.

Who Needs to Worry about Backflow

Because of the importance of preventing backflow, Indiana’s state requires businesses to install and maintain backflow prevention devices on the main water service line. Per state code, the following facilities are required to install a certified backflow prevention device:

  • All customers with land irrigation systems. Either a pressure-type vacuum breaker or a reduced pressure principle backflow preventer can be used for cross-connection control.

  • All customers fire service lines. Double-check detector assembly should be used for cross-connection control.

  • Aircraft and missile manufacturing plants.

  • Automotive plants, including those plants that manufacture motorcycles, automobiles, trucks, recreational vehicles, and construction and agricultural equipment.

  •  Beverage bottling plants, including dairies and breweries.
  •  Canneries, packing houses, and reduction plants.

  • Car washes.

  •  Chemical, biological, and radiological laboratories, including those in high schools, trade schools, colleges, universities, and research institutions.

  •  Hospitals, clinics, medical buildings, autopsy facilities, morgues, other medical facilities, and mortuaries.

  •  Metal and plastic manufacturing, fabricating, cleaning, plating, and processing facilities.

  •  Plants manufacturing paper and paper products.

  • Plants manufacturing, refining, compounding, or processing fertilizer, film, herbicides, natural or synthetic rubber, pesticides, petroleum or petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, radiological materials, or any chemical that could be a contaminant to the public water supply.

  • Commercial facilities that use herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, or any chemical that could be a contaminant to the public water supply.

  • Plants processing, blending, or refining animal, vegetable, or mineral oils.

  • Commercial laundries and dye works, excluding coin-operated Laundromats.

  •  Sewage, stormwater, and industrial waste treatment plants and pumping stations.

  •  Waterfront facilities, including piers, docks, marinas, and shipyards.

  •  Industrial facilities that recycle water.

  • Restricted or classified facilities (federal government defense or military installations), or other facilities closed to the supplier of water or to the commissioner.

In addition to these state-regulated facilities, it is possible that your county, local water district, or municipality may have their own regulations.  RG Mechanical works in, and has detailed understandings of the requirements of Dubois and Spencer Counties.

Testing Requirements

State regulations stipulate that annual testing be conducted on the following devices:

  •  Reduced pressure principle devices

  • Pressure type vacuum breakers

  •  Double check valve assemblies

  •  Double check detector assemblies

Only state-approved contractors are allowed to test these devices. When an approved contractor conducts the test, they will produce the necessary compliance documents. RG Mechanical is certified to perform these tests.

Still, Need Help?

Give RG Mechanical a call today at (812) 683-0675 to discuss your backflow prevention plan and other ways we can assist.