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What is Backflow Prevention and How is it Regulated?

Cross connections are actual or potential contact between the public or private potable (drinkable) water systems and any other source or system. Backflow is the unwanted flow of water in the reverse direction. If unprotected cross connections exist and a backflow event occurs, contaminants or pollutants may be introduced into the potable water system. Human health and wellness is at risk if the public water distribution system is not properly guarded.

 

Under the provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established national standards for safe drinking water. States are responsible for the enforcement of these standards, as well as the supervision of public water supply systems and sources of drinking water. The City of Bloomington Utilities (CBU) department is responsible for compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act, which includes providing water in conformance with EPA standards at the source and in the distribution system. CBU has a robust water quality monitoring program and regularly performs sampling within the CBU service territory to ensure potable water meets all relevant State and Federal standards.

 

CBU also strives to prevent contamination by ensuring that water customers comply with all relevant City and State codes. A key component of this enforcement and inspection initiative is CBU's Backflow Prevention Program. Under this Program, certain customers are required to install and maintain approved backflow prevention devices to ensure compliance with Indiana Administrative Code (IAC) Title 327 Article 8 Sections 10 and with Section 17 of the City of Bloomington Utilities Rules, Regulations and Standards of Service. The Backflow Prevention Program is outlined in Title 9 of Bloomington Municipal Code  (BMC 9.24).

 

The degree of hazard posed to the public water distribution system dictates the type of backflow device that must be installed. Backflow prevention devices routinely serve manufacturing plants, food service establishments, fire lines, and irrigation systems. Fire hydrants are also regulated by the Backflow Prevention Program. 

 

If you would like more information regarding CBU’s Backflow Prevention Program, you may contact the Environmental Program Coordinator at (812) 349-3948. For after-hours emergencies, please call our 24-hour switchboard at 812-339-1444.