Notice! If you have a backflow prevention assembly in the City of Lawrence that is not currently being tested annually you are in violation of City Code. Annual Testing is required. Please fill out this Cross Connection Control Survey to register your backflow assemblies.
The City of Lawrence is prioritizing and enhancing administration and enforcement of the Cross Connection Control Program. This program is designed to comply with state and national regulations to protect the potable water supply from contamination. The City has contracted with Aqua Backflow to provide enhanced administration for the City of Lawrence Cross Connection Control Program. Aqua Backflow operations are funded through a $9.95 per test filing fee paid by certified backflow testers when they submit test results.
All community water providers are mandated by State of Kansas Administrative Regulations (K.A.R. 28-15-18f) and the Kansas Department of Health & Environment (KDHE) to enforce a Cross Connection Control Program designed to protect public health and the public water supply. Specific regulations for the program are found in Chapter 19 Article 7 Cross Connection Control.
Aqua Backflow may be sending correspondence to you soon in regards to our program. It may be for annual backflow preventer tests that are due, or for other program related items.
The City of Lawrence may also conduct mailed surveys, online surveys and/or site inspections as needed. The focus of an inspection and/or survey is to identify any existing or potential cross connections between drinking water and any potential source of contamination, catalog existing backflow prevention assemblies, and verify that the backflow preventers have been tested within the past year.
The City of Lawrence appreciates your cooperation with Aqua Backflow regarding requests for information and backflow assembly correspondence. If you have any question related to the program, please contact Aqua Backflow at 847-742-2296 or City of Lawrence Municipal Services and Operations at 785-832-7800.
Thank you again for your cooperation with the City of Lawrence and Aqua Backflow to help keep our community drinking water safe.
Do I have to have my backflow prevention assembly tested?
City of Lawrence code Chapter 19 Article 7 Cross Connection Control requires that backflow assemblies be tested on an annual basis to ensure their effectiveness.
Backflow prevention assemblies have internal seals, springs, and moving parts that are subject to fouling, wear, or fatigue. Therefore, all backflow prevention assemblies have to be tested annually to ensure they are functioning properly to protect the public water system. Assemblies with test results that are received after the due date will incur a late fee.
Backflow prevention devices are not testable but should be visually inspected at least annually and replaced every 5 years to ensure they are functional.
Who can test my backflow prevention assembly?
Testing must be performed by a Registered Certified Backflow Tester. A list of registered companies that offer this service is available on the Aqua Backflow website at www.trackmybackflow.com under the Resources tab. It is recommended to get several quotes as prices for testing can vary. A listing of registered certified testers who test in Lawrence is also available here. This list is updated once per month.
What happens if my backflow assembly fails a test?
In the event that an assembly fails a test it must be repaired or replaced before being put into service. Maintenance of a backflow assembly is the responsibility of the owner. Upon repair or replacement the backflow assembly must have a passing test filed at www.trackmybackflow.com by a certified tester.
What penalties are there for non compliance?
Penalties for non-compliance are listed in city code Chapter 19 Article 7 section 19-710. Penalties include municipal court fines of up to $500 for each day of violation and water service shut off until compliance is reached.
When is my assembly test due date?
All irrigation hazard due dates are set to July 1st to allow for weather related delays in testing. All other assemblies will have due dates based on their original install test date. Tests filed before the due date will not change the due date the following year, or cause the test to become due again in the same calendar year.
What does the $9.95 administrative fee cover?
The City of Lawrence as a purveyor of potable water is required by Kansas Administrative Regulations to have a regular program to protect the public water supply from contamination. In September 2018 the City Commission approved contracting with Aqua Backflow Inc. for their experience and expertise in carrying out a comprehensive program to meet Kansas regulatory requirements, City of Lawrence Municipal Code requirements (chapter 19 article 7) and ensure safe drinking water.
The $9.95 fee funds Aqua Backflow administrative services, including:
- Notifications, letters and outreach materials
- Customer Service (citizens, testers and utility personnel) by phone and email
- Tester Tracking: certification and calibration of gauges
- Tester data input portal access
- Data Management and Security
- Data review and verification
Compliance with the required testing and maintenance of backflow assemblies is the responsibility of the device owner. Chapter 19 Article 7 Cross Connection Control provides details for enforcement and regulations. Note: if you are responsible for a cross-connection (whether un-protected, improperly protected, or out-of-date for service) and a backflow event occurs, you may be liable for the resultant sickness, death, or property damage.
Information for Certified Backflow Testers
Online Backflow Test Entry Starts January 1, 2019 – More information here
City of Lawrence partners with Aqua Backflow, a firm that specializes in cross contamination control management, to provide an efficient and reliable customer communication, notification, and test result submittal process. Kansas law (K.A.R. 28-15-18f) requires that water purveyors have a regular program to eliminate and prevent backflow and backsiphonage conditions in the water system. City of Lawrence code Chapter 19 Article 7 Cross Connection Control requires that backflow assemblies be tested on installation and annually to ensure their effectiveness.
The following certification standards and trainers are recognized by the City: American Backflow Prevention Association, American Society of Sanitary Engineers, Kansas Rural Water Association, Public Heating Cooling Contractors Association, International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, Fort Scott Community College, Johnson County Community College and the University of Southern California Foundation for Cross Connection Control and Hydraulic Research.
Aqua Backflow operates a secure website at www.TrackMyBackflow.com where you must register and submit backflow tests electronically before the due date. Each test entry entered and paid before the due date will cost $9.95, each test entry entered after the due date will cost $19.95 — payable directly to Aqua Backflow. This filing fee funds the administrative management of the program by Aqua Backflow. If you have questions about registration or test submittal please contact Aqua Backflow at 847-742-2296 or toll free at 866-777-2124.
The City of Lawrence does not receive funds from this charge. Aqua Backflow is an experienced cross connection control contractor providing notification, data management, quality control and reporting services for the City of Lawrence Cross Connection Control program.
What is a cross connection?
A cross connection is a physical link, permanent or temporary, between a potable water source and a possible contaminant or pollutant.
The number one cause of cross connection contamination is the common garden hose. Keep the end of it out of the vessel being filled and install a hose bib vacuum breaker to help eliminate this possibility. Use a separate dedicated hose for hose end chemical spray applicators, you don’t want to contaminate a source that you or your children could possibly drink out of.
What is backflow?
Backflow is a reversal of the intended flow direction of fluids, in our case potable water. Water main breaks, high demand or higher consumer pressure due to gravity or pumps could cause chemicals, or any other foreign material to enter the public drinking water system. Backflow can be cause by either:
Backsiphonage – Water can be pulled back into the water system due to loss of pressure in the system, such as a water main break, maintenance or high demand such as fire fighting use.
Backpressure– The pressure of the pipe connected to the water main is greater than the main itself, pushing water backwards. This could be caused by pumps, piping systems elevation, or thermal expansion from a heat source.
Either condition could cause pollution or contamination to the public water supply. Pollution is defined as a change in color or odor of the water that does not pose a risk to public health. Contamination is the introduction of a substance into the water supply that poses a threat to public health.
Where can possible contaminating cross connections exist?
Potential threats to a drinking water supply include, but are not limited to:
- Hose connections, domestic and commercial
- Irrigation systems
- Alternate water supplies, such as wells
- Laboratory and aspirator equipment
- Photo developing equipment
- Chemical processing tanks and dispensers
- Boilers with water make up lines
- Water recirculating systems
- Swimming pools
- Solar or geothermal heat systems
- Fire sprinkler systems
- Toilet fill valves
The City of Lawrence requires backflow protection on connections where potential health hazard-type cross connections exist. Commonly these types of connections can be found at the following locations:
- Hospitals, mortuaries, clinics
- Lab facilities
- Food and beverage processing
- Chemical plants
- Car washes
- Petroleum processing and storage facilities
- Sewage treatment plants
- Irrigation systems
How can backflow be prevented?
A cross-connection is a physical link between the water supply and any source of possible pollution or contamination. By eliminating or controlling all existing and possible cross-connections, the potable water system will be protected within the water main system and inside buildings.
Many cross connections can be eliminated with simple plumbing changes. Where this is not possible, backflow prevention assemblies or devices are installed to protect the water supply. These devices or assemblies, when properly maintained, only allow the water to travel in one direction to stop backflow.
What type of backflow preventer is needed?
The type of backflow prevention assembly required is determined by the degree of hazard. In other words, the severity of the actual or potential hazard will dictate what level of protection is necessary to adequately protect the drinking water. Possible health hazard cross connections require greater protection. A list of assemblies that are acceptable for installation in the City of Lawrence can be found on the USC Foundation for Cross Connection Control and Hydraulic Research website.
For temporary domestic possible cross-connections, such as a garden hose, a hose bib vacuum breaker is recommended.
Air Gap– An air gap is the most fail safe prevention of cross connection and can be used in high or low hazard applications and for continuous use for backsiphonage or backpressure. These are built in to all newer sink and bathtub faucet installations. There must be a gap from the vessel overflow rim to the water outlet of twice the diameter of the pipe feeding the vessel or a minimum of 1” of air whichever is greater.
AVB – An atmospheric vacuum breaker can be used for low or high hazards for non-continuous flow purposes. Usage cannon be more than 12 hours in a 24 hour period. It can have no valves downstream of installation and cannot be subject to back pressure. AVB devices must be installed 6” above the highest point of downstream piping.
DCVA – A double check valve assembly is a mechanical device consisting of two internally loaded soft seated check valves with positive shut-off valves on both upstream and downstream ends, and properly located test ports. A DCVA is suitable for low hazard applications only. It can be used for either backpressure or backsiphonage.
PVB or SVB– A pressure vacuum breaker or spill resistant pressure vacuum breaker can be used for continuous pressure use in high or low hazard situations. The assemblies must be 12” above the highest point of downstream piping and have no backpressure.
RPZ– A reduced pressure zone backflow preventer is an assembly of two independently acting soft seated approved check valves together with a hydraulically operated mechanically independent differential pressure relief valve located between the check valves and below the first check valve. This assembly can be used in high or low hazard continuous pressure situations. It cannot be installed in a pit. This assembly is suitable for backpressure or backsiphonage situations.
ASSE 1022 Dual Check with Atmospheric Vent – A non-testable device that can be used under continuous pressure. Can be used on commercial coffee machines and beverage machines carbonated and non-carbonated. The material must be compatible with carbon dioxide gas if used on carbonated beverage machines.
A list of approved backflow assemblies and their installation specifications can be found at the University of Southern California website here. http://fccchr.usc.edu/list.html
What can you do to prevent backflow?
You should determine if there are potential cross-connections in your residential or commercial property. A cross connection is any unprotected connection of potable water to non-potable water or a potential hazard. Businesses with cross connection potential and homes with irrigation systems please ensure that cross connections do not exist or are properly protected and maintained. Protecting the water supply is the responsibility of both the water purveyor and the end user.
Next, you should investigate alternatives for eliminating or protecting against actual or potential cross-connections.
After determining the necessary method of cross-connection control, the appropriate plumbing changes or the addition of a mechanical backflow prevention assembly should be made by a professional plumber. Assemblies are required to be tested upon installation and annually thereafter by a certified and registered tester to ensure they are working appropriately. Devices that are not testable should be visually inspected for defects yearly.
- EPA Cross Connection Control Manual (PDF)
- EPA Potential Contamination Due to Cross Connections and Backflow and the Associated Health Risks
- City of Lawrence Code Chapter 19 Article 7 Cross Connection Control (PDF)
- Backflow Case Histories – Florida Department of Environmental Protection
- American Backflow Prevention Association
- USC Foundation for Cross Connection Control and Hydraulic Research