The Elyria Water Department began an active “Backflow” program in September of 1999. The focus of this program is to insure that proper safeguards are in place to protect our drinking (potable) water system from the potential contamination risks imposed through cross connections.
A cross connection is any arrangement of piping which would allow undesirable water, sewage, or chemical solutions to enter our drinking water system. Ironically, the ordinary garden hose is the most common offender as it can be easily connected to the potable water system and used for a variety of potentially dangerous applications.
Our Backflow program is divided into two segments Commercial and Residential
Our Commercial program has completed over 5,000 surveys to commercial and industrial sites; resulting in the installation of over 2,600 new devices and annual testing of nearly 5,000 devices.
Backflow can occur when either a backsiphonage or a backpressure condition exists. Backsiphonage backflow occurs when a vacuum is induced on a piping system; just like drinking from a glass with a straw. A garden hose in a car radiator or a hose in a laundry tab can act as a straw allow undesirable liquids to be drawn through it and back into your drinking water.
Some typical situations, which might cause backsiphonage, include:
- Water Main Breaks
- Hydrant flushing of fire fighting
- Undersized plumbing in your home or business
Backpressure backflow may occur when a water user has an unprotected water line attached to a pressurized container holding antifreeze, soap, degreaser, or any other non-potable material. This substance may be “pushed” backwards into the potable water system whenever the pressure in the container becomes greater than the pressure within the City’s water mains.
Yes it’s true! You can pollute your own drinking water without even knowing it; but by eliminitating cross connections you can help protect the water we share.
Many common household uses of water may post a public health threat to our potable water, including:
- House connections to a chemical solutions sprayed to feed lawn or shrub herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers.
- Toilets without anti-siphon ball cocks.
- Lawn sprinkler system.
- Chemically treated heating systems.
- Water softeners.
- Hose connections to a water outlet or laundry tub.
- Swimming pools.
- Solar Heating systems.
- Water operated sump drain devices.
This list of potential cross connection hazards is by no means complete and a home that has any of these situations (without the proper backflow devices being installed) is jeopardizing its own potable water system and that of the community.
It is very important that the City of Elyria maintain an active Backflow program. A strong program, requiring the installation and testing of properly installed backflow devices, is essential to insure the purity of our water system.
The responsibility of safeguarding our water system from contamination belongs to all of us; whether you are a homeowner, a tenant, an apartment manager, a businessperson, a school administrator or any other user of our potable water system.
Many residential cross connections can be eliminated by installing a hose bib (threaded faucet) vacuum breaker on each outside hose connection and hose connections in the garage, basement, and laundry room. These devices can be purchases from plumbing and hardware stores for under $10 each.
Questions concerning cross connection control and backflow prevention may be directed to your plumbing contractor or to our Backflow Division at (440)326-1586.