Cross Connection Control / Backflow
Changes to the City of Taylor’s Cross Connection Control Program.
What is a Cross Connection?
A cross connection is a connection between a potable drinking water supply and a possible source of contamination or pollution. Under the provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1971, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established national standards for safe drinking water. Each state is required to enforce the various regulations of the Safe Drinking Water Act and how it relates to its state laws.
To meet these provisions, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) on January 1, 1996, enacted a state law which requires the public water suppliers to implement and enforce the Cross Connection Control Program requirements located in the Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Title 30, Chapter 290 of the Rules and Regulations for Public Water Suppliers.
What is Backflow?
Backflow is the undesirable reversal of flow in a potable water distribution system. Water that is always under pressure can only flow in one direction. Then how can water flow in reverse? Water will always flow towards the point of lowest pressure. If a water main were to break or if the fire department opened several fire hydrants to help fight a fire, the pressure in the water main could drop. The demand upstream could cause a reversal in flow.
Cross connections and the possibility of backflow need to be recognized so they do not occur. A garden hose submerged in a hot tub, swimming pool, car radiator or attached to an insect/fertilizer sprayer could siphon the liquid back into the water main. Water from an irrigation system could be siphoned back into the public water supply.
Backflow prevention assemblies are designed to protect the public water system from these types of concerns.
Testing of Backflow Prevention Assemblies
All backflow protection assemblies must be tested upon installation, repair or relocation. Because backflow prevention assemblies are mechanical devices that will degrade over time, all backflow assemblies should be tested annually to ensure they are in working order.
The City of Taylor has chosen to partner with Vepo, LLC to allow for the online submission of Backflow Prevention Assembly Test and Maintenance Reports. All testing information will be entered directly by the tester into the online password protected system provided by Vepo, LLC. Testers will no longer be able to submit paper test reports directly to the city.
Finding or Becoming a Registered Tester
All Backflow Prevention Assembly Testers (BPATs) are required to register with Vepo, LLC in the Envirotrax system. Upon registration and verification of license, insurance, and test for accuracy reports, the tester will be added to the approved list of Backflow Prevention Assembly Testers.
Note: Backflow prevention assemblies on fire protection sprinkler systems are required by the State Fire Marshall to be tested and/or repaired by a BPAT who is a full‐time employee of a fire protection sprinkler company that is licensed with the State Fire Marshall’s Office.
Click here to find a BPAT registered to work in the City of Taylor.
Click here to download a Quick Start Guide with information on how to become a registered BPAT.
Your Role as a Water Customer
By taking steps to control cross connections and prevent the possibility of backflow at your home, you will help to protect the public water supply and ensure that your family continues to enjoy safe drinking water. Garden hoses and irrigation systems are common concerns, but there are other common residential sources of cross connections, too.
Garden Hoses and Backflow
The garden hose is the most common cross connection. Each of these common uses of a garden hose sets up a cross connection:
- forcing it into a clogged gutter, downspout, or sewer pipe to flush out the clog
- connecting it directly to a hose-end sprayer to apply pesticide or fertilizer to your yard
- connecting it to a soap-and-brush attachment to wash your car, boat, or siding
- letting the end of the hose lie in a puddle or pool of water on the ground
No doubt you can think of other examples. In each of these cases, if backflow happens, your household’s water lines could be contaminated. Depending on how long the backflow event lasts, the contamination could spread to the public drinking water system. Fortunately, there are two inexpensive ways to solve this problem:
- Make sure that the end of your garden hose is never submerged in or connected to a nonpotable substance. This solution is free, but not highly reliable. Can you always be this careful?
- Install a hose bibb vacuum breaker on each of your outside faucets. These inexpensive devices are designed to allow water to flow in only one direction. You can find them at most home supply stores and through plumbing suppliers. Before you use a hose-end sprayer, you should first install a hose bibb vacuum breaker at the faucet.
Irrigation Systems and Backflow
As a homeowner, you may install and maintain your own irrigation system, but it’s still important to have a suitable backflow prevention assembly (BPA) in place and to be sure that it works properly. Here are a few ways you can do just that:
- Hire a licensed irrigator. You can find one from our online licensing database.
- If you install your own system, have a licensed BPA tester confirm that the BPA is installed and operating properly. Licensed BPA testers are also listed in our online licensing database.
- TCEQ requires you to have a licensed BPA tester check the BPA when it is installed on your irrigation system. Your water provider may have adopted additional codes or regulations which require an annual test of the BPA on your irrigation system.
For more information see TCEQ's regulations for irrigation systems, or contact TCEQ's Landscape Irrigation Program at 512-239-LAWN.