Staying Informed

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Backflow Prevention

This is a relatively new department in enforcing             
and codes for Cross-Connection Control.

Cross Connection Assembly Testers and Repairman List

What is a cross-connection? A simple example; It's a nice summer day and you decide to give your dog 'Rocky' a bath. You fill up a wash tub with an outside faucet and hose, next you wrestle Rocky into the tub and start scrubbing him down with flea and tick shampoo, well, this gets Rocky upset and he gets away from you and runs off, so you leave the hose in the tub turned on while you chase him down; meanwhile down the street, the fire department is flushing fire hydrants. This drops the pressure in the water main and creates a risk for siphonage, where water 'backflows'. Now Rocky's bathwater is being sucked back into the water.
main and into the public water system via the water hose, this is the cross-connection. Now, your neighbor has been working outside and it's a hot summer day and goes inside to get a drink of water, he notices a funny smell, and sees small insects (fleas from Rocky's bath) swimming in his glass, not very pleasing.

The same situation can happen with sprinkler heads in an underground sprinkler system, where you've just added chemicals to your yard, or in a factory where they use chemicals and dilute them with water. What can stop this from happening? A backflow preventer, or sometimes called a reduced pressure zone (RPZ) device.

A backflow preventer is a device with a set of springs and diaphragms which is designed to close when pressure from one side exceeds or drops relative to the other. There are several types of these devices specifically designed for specific jobs. The City of Fayetteville is requiring these devices on yard irrigation systems and commercial buildings according to their degree of hazard to the public. A hose bib vacuum breaker could have been used to stop Rocky's bathwater from polluting the water supply; it's an inexpensive device that screws onto a hose bib and
prevents back siphonage. More information about cross-connection control and backflow prevention can be found at the Arkansas Department of Health website.