Backflow is the reversal of water’s normal direction of flow. When water passes through a water meter into a customer’s home or business, it should not flow back into the main water distribution system. If it does, the condition is referred to as “backflow.” Backflow prevention is keeping the unintentional reversal of water flow from occurring.
Congress established the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) in 1974 to protect human health from contaminants in drinking water and to prevent contamination of existing groundwater supplies. This Act, and its amendments (1986 and 1996), require many actions to protect drinking water and its sources. One of these actions is the installation and maintenance of an approved backflow prevention assembly at the water service connection whenever a potential hazard is determined to exist in the customer’s system. Without proper protection devices, cross-connections can occur.
What is a cross-connection? It is a connection between your drinking water and another source of water that combines the two when a backflow condition occurs. When this condition occurs, your drinking water can become contaminated.
WSA is serious about the mission to protect customers, water resources and the environment. Our objective is to monitor the implementation and annual testing of devices which will prevent the water supply from becoming contaminated, even unintentionally. To combat the dangers of backflow cross connections, education in the recognition and prevention is needed. By working and communicating with the public, WSA provides direction to medium and high risk Douglas County businesses on the installation of appropriate backflow prevention devices.
According to the State of Georgia Rules for Safe Drinking Water, all users connected directly or indirectly to a public water system must have a backflow prevention device. This backflow device must be installed and maintained at the user’s expense.
Since residential developments are considered a low-hazard risk, a backflow prevention device is provided by WSA at the time of installation. Commercial and industrial developments are a medium to high-hazard risk and, therefore, require a more advanced, and, likewise more expensive, backflow prevention device.
All backflow prevention devices need to be tested annually by a certified tester to ensure proper working order. WSA provides each consumer or property owner with a list of the certified backflow prevention testers. The consumer or property owner selects one of his/her own choosing from the list to perform the test. The consumer or property owner should maintain written records of the test and ensure that WSA has been provided with a copy.
WSA is authorized to suspend water service to the consumer’s premises in the event the backflow prevention device inspection and test reports are not provided as required.
You may call WSA at 770-949-7617 with any questions about backflow prevention.