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What is Backflow Prevention and How is it Regulated?

Backflow, also known as cross connection, is the unwanted flow of water in the reverse direction.  It can be a serious health risk if contamination of potable water with non-potable water occurs. While the previous ordinance had measures in place to protect the municipal drinking water supply, the recently approved changes will allow for better enforcement of the requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency and Indiana Department of Environmental Management.  Most residential water customers are not affected by the backflow ordinance.  Backflow prevention devices routinely serve manufacturing plants, food service establishments, and irrigation systems.  Fire hydrants are also regulated by the backflow ordinance.


Under the provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974, the Federal Government has established, through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), national standards of safe drinking water. The states are responsible for the enforcement of these standards, as well as the supervision of public water supply systems and the sources of drinking water. The City of Bloomington Utilities department (CBU) is responsible for compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act including providing water in conformance with the EPA standards at the source and in the distribution system.


To protect Bloomington's drinking water supply system from contamination, CBU has a robust water quality monitoring program and regularly performs sampling throughout Bloomington to ensure that all relevant State and Federal standards are met.


CBU also works to prevent contamination before it occurs 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, which requires certain customers to install and operate approved backflow prevention devices and ensures 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.


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.