New backflow prevention inspection program gets off the ground

North Liberty water customers may soon receive a letter from Aqua Backflow, a national firm located in Elgin, Ill., in conjunction with a new inspection program. This program, approved last month by the North Liberty City Council, provides an additional safeguard against cross connections between the city’s water supply and private water systems.

Required by the state for cities with populations of 15,000 or more, the program will require annual inspections of backflow preventers, also called online cross connection controls. These are privately owned devices that prevent water that has passed through the meter from being sucked back into the city’s water system.

Backflow preventers may be found at any number of locations on your water systems. Typically, most commercial customers will have backflow preventers just after the water meter and on wet fire protection systems. They may also have lawn irrigation systems, which require backflow protection. Note, too, that there may be other water connections throughout commercial or industrial facilities that also require backflow protection.

Residential backflow preventers may exist or be required on lawn irrigation systems, wet fire protections systems, hot water heating (boiler) systems, swimming pool fills, water features, or in other applications.  They may also be required if there is another water source on the site, such as a well, pond or river.

Backflow preventers are the property of the water customer, who has the responsibility for annual testing and maintenance. The water customer must contract with a licensed tester to perform the required annual tests; most local plumbers are certified to test backflow preventers.

Aqua Backflow, who will be overseeing North Liberty’s backflow program, can be reached at (866) 777-2124 with any questions. Locally, Code Official Tom Palmer can be reached at (319) 626-5736.