Backflow Prevention

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Cross-Connection and Backflow Prevention

Cross-connection and backflow prevention are familiar terms to people who work in the water industry. You may have heard these phrases too, but may know little about the significant role backflow prevention plays in water quality.

Cross-connection is any connection between a potable water supply and any plumbing fixtures or tank, receptacle, equipment or assembly, in which it may be possible for non-potable or contaminated water to enter into the clean water supply. These types of connections require a backflow prevention assembly. In the event of a sudden loss of pressure in the distribution system, backflow prevention assemblies stop potentially hazardous water from coming back into your home or even back into the City’s water system.

The backflow prevention program requires backflow prevention assemblies to be installed by a licensed plumber and annual testing of those assemblies performed by a certified technician. Only Reduced-Pressure Principle assemblies meet Ankeny requirements. All underground irrigation systems are required to have their backflow prevention assembly tested by May 31st of every year, whether you choose to use your irrigation system for the season or not.

The City of Ankeny has a contract with Backflow Solutions, Inc. (BSI) to track all the backflow prevention assembly test reports and compliance of the City's backflow prevention program. Only a certified technician can submit a test report to BSI. Most irrigation and landscaping companies in the area have a certified technician on staff. The City of Ankeny cannot recommend a backflow tester or irrigation company. Please visit the backflow prevention section of the Iowa Department of Public Health website to see the database of registered backflow prevention assembly testers.

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 assemblies play a significant role in protecting water quality.

Backflow prevention assemblies are like safety belts, protecting you from events that may never happen. So if you have a backflow prevention assembly on your property, please do your part by making sure that your assembly is tested by a certified technician annually and have a report filed with BSI. If repairs are needed, be certain to have those repairs made as quickly as possible. Remember that if the assembly 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 our backflow prevention program and related issues, please call (515) 963-3538 for assistance.