Backflow Prevention

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What You Ought to Know About Backflow

Backflow prevention is a familiar term to people who work in the water industry. Many of our customers have heard that phrase too, but may know little about the significant role backflow prevention plays in water quality.

Essentially, backflow prevention devices are valves that prevent water from your home from going back into the City's water system in the event of a sudden loss of pressure in the distribution system. Irrigation systems are the first priority for backflow prevention programs because of the possibility of contamination from lawn chemicals, pet waste or other pollutants.

The Utilities Division works hard to provide high quality drinking water. However, once water passes from our water mains and through the meter, our customers, and backflow prevention devices play a role in protecting that water quality.

Ankeny's Water Utility oversees a backflow prevention program requiring all underground irrigation systems be installed consistent with established plumbing and health codes. The program, mandated by the Iowa Department of Public Health, requires backflow prevention devices be installed by a licensed plumber and annual testing of those devices performed by a certified technician. Only Reduced Pressure Zone (RPZ) devices meet Ankeny requirements.

Residents with underground irrigation systems will receive a letter each year to remind them to have their system tested by a certified technician each spring. If you have an underground irrigation system and did not receive a letter, please contact the City at (515) 963-3538 to be placed on the mailing list. Not receiving a letter does not relieve you of meeting the testing requirements.

The City of Ankeny contracts BSI to track all the backflow prevention test reports and compliance of the City's backflow prevention program. Only a certified technician can submit a test report with BSI. Please visit the BSI Programs website for more information about BSI and backflow prevention.

Backflow prevention devices are like safety belts, protecting you from events that may never happen. So if you have a backflow prevention device on your property, please do your part by making sure that your device is tested by a certified technician annually and a report filed with BSI. If repairs are needed, be certain to have those repairs made as quickly as possible. Remember that if the device is repaired or replaced it must be retested and the test results submitted to BSI. If your backflow tester has any questions they can call BSI directly at 800-414-4990 or visit the BSI Online Tracking website.

For additional information about the backflow prevention program and related issues, please call (515) 963-3538 for assistance.