Backflow Prevention Program

Our backflow prevention program is designed to protect our community’s drinking water from accidental contamination that can occur due to cross-connections, which is any point where contaminants can “backflow” from the customer’s point of use into the public water supply. The Building Department is authority of jurisdiction and will determine the type of backflow prevention assembly required for containment based on the degree of hazard as specified in the plumbing code. Iowa code requires a backflow prevention program with a containment system, and the City of North Liberty has implemented a policy and adopted a plumbing code to safeguard its water distribution system against contamination or pollution by water or other substance flowing into its system from a customer’s system. Our internal policy meets or exceeds the standards set forth in Iowa Administration Code for Backflow Prevention with Containment.

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Annual Backflow Testing

Backflow prevention assemblies must be tested when they are installed and at least once each year after that. A certified backflow prevention assembly technician must complete testing to ensure that the backflow device is working properly. Test results are required to be uploaded to a third-party tracking company called AquaBackflow.

Iowa Registered Backflow Assembly Testers

Testing must be performed by a registered, certified backflow tester. A list of registered certified backflow testers is available from AquaBackflow. Testers can register with AquaBackflow here. The Iowa Department of Public Health keeps a complete list of registered backflow prevention testers by county.

Testing Procedure

  1. For each property, an Annual Reminder is sent out one month before the test is due, giving the owner the entire month that the test is due, plus the month before and the month after, to complete the test.
  2. At the beginning of the fourth month, a Final Notice is sent out. The owner then has 15 days to complete the test.
  3. In the middle of the fourth month, approximately two weeks after the Final Notice is sent, all overdue properties are re-evaluated.
  4. The property owner and account holder are verified (if different).
  5. Water shutoff is scheduled for one week. The time and date are verified with the Water Department, which schedules personnel to do the shutoff.
  6. The city mails a water discontinuation notice to the owner and/or the account holder.
  7. The city posts the same notice at the property.
  8. If the city receives the test report before the scheduled water shutoff, the shutoff is cancelled.

The next backflow test is due from the original expiration date, NOT when the device was tested. This keeps the date of testing consistent from year to year.

The entire process allows the owner or account holder a total of four months to complete the test of the backflow device. This process also does not include any additional fees, other than the cost of the test itself, for any first time offender.

At any time, a citation can be issued for overdue testing. If the citation is filed in Johnson County Court, fines will be imposed against the owner or account holder. This level of enforcement is reserved for repeat offenders only.

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