Backflow Prevention Program


The purpose of this program is to protect the public water supply system of the City of Wayne from the possibility of contamination by isolating real or potential sources of contamination or pollution that may backflow or backsiphon into the public water supply system. Any arrangement whereby contamination due to backflow or backsiphonage can occur is called a cross-connection. Cross connections between potable water and potential pollutants are encountered everyday by just about everyone, the potential cross-connection between potable water and wastewater occur in the sink and bathtub. Sinks and bathtubs are protected by an air-gap. An air-gap is the distance between the faucet and the flood rim of the sink or tub. It has to be at least two supply pipe diameters, measured vertically above the top of the receptacle and in no case less than one inch. Some mop sinks and laboratory sinks are equipped with faucets that allow hoses to be attached that extend below the rim of the sink, this is a cross connection between your drinking water and wastewater. If you had a plugged sewer and waste backed up into your sink, and your repairman broke a water main while fixing the plugged sewer, all that waste could be backsiphoned through the hose into your water supply line as well as the public water lines. When the water is turned back on guess what you are drinking. That's right, water that has been contaminated by wastewater.

How many of your water softener's drain lines are stuck in a drain or hard plumbed into the sewer line? If they are, they are cross-connected with the potential of polluting your drinking water. Yard hydrants and hose bibs are used with a hose to fill buckets, fertilizer tanks, wash cars and all the other things you do with a garden hose, everyone has the potential for a cross-connection. Installing hose bib vacuum breakers can control 90% of "all" cross-connections.

Almost all businesses that use water have the potential to have a cross-connection. Some are a greater health risks than others. Examples of consumers that pose a health or pollution hazard to the public water supply system in Wayne are: Hospitals, Mortuaries, convalescent homes, film laboratories, chemical and petroleum storage facilities, sewage treatment plants, power plants, car washers, laundries, boilers or cooling systems, veterinary and pet grooming, beauty salons, barber shops, fire suppression systems, schools and colleges. This is only a partial list, and your imagination can show you the type of pollutant and the degree of hazard that could backflow into the public water supply system.

The City of Wayne recognizes these potential backflow areas, and has done and is doing several things to ensure the safety of our public water supply. They have adopted an ordinance fashioned after the state regulations on backflow control. This ordinance recognizes the potential for backflow and states "An approved backflow prevention device shall be installed between the service connection and the point of potential backflow into a consumer's water supply system when in the judgment of the water commissioner a health, plumbing, pollution or system hazard exists."

Every five years surveys are sent out to every consumer in the City of Wayne. Surveys are used to identify a business or homeowner who may have a potential cross-connection. These surveys need to be filled out by each customer or owner and sent back to us. We have to have a 100% return on these surveys. We sent out 2200 surveys in 1998 and did a repeat in 1999. We are still 235 surveys short of reaching the 100% return. We are going to be sending out those 235 again so please send them back, city ordinance requires it.

Hose bib vacuum breakers are required on all hose bibs. As stated earlier in this article, this can eliminate 90% of all cross-connections. The City of Wayne is going to offer these at our cost of $6.00 and can be picked up at City Hall where you pay your utility bill. If you decide to purchase your own from a hardware store make sure they are frost-proof, self-draining units. All new instillations of hose bibs in Wayne should already have vacuum breakers. If you have any questions about a hose bib or if you are unable to install it yourself please call the water department at 375-5250 and we will help you in anyway we can.

Most of the businesses and schools in Wayne have been inspected and have appropriate devices installed in their service line or on appliances. Those of you who have testable devices need to have these tested yearly and send a copy to the water department so we can keep them on file. This is required by city code and state regulation. All testers have to be Grade VI certified by the State of Nebraska. Woods, Volkman, and Johnson Plumbing all have Grade VI certified employees that can test backflow preventers. Any business or school that has not completed a survey or does not have test results from their devices on file will be re-inspected and any violations of the backflow ordinance will have to be brought into compliance.

Fire suppression systems that have testable backflow prevention devices also need to be tested every year. Testing of these devices has to be inspected by a certified fire suppression specialist. Bullseye Fire Protection of Norfolk is an example of who does this kind of testing.

Backflow prevention is a necessary tool to keep our water system safe. It takes a lot of effort, time and money to make it work. Cooperation between the City and you, the consumers, is a vital part of a good program. When you get surveys in the mail fill them out as soon as possible and send them back to us. Hose bibs vacuum breakers can eliminate 90% of potential back flows. Please purchase and install one on each hose bib you have. If you are unable to install one yourself please call the water department at 375-5250, we will be glad to help you. Commercial consumers need to have all devices tested once a year and send a copy of the report to the Wayne Water Department. Anyone who hasn't been inspected, has not turned in a survey, or has not tested their device and sent us a report will be inspected in the near future. If we all work together we can eliminate backflow situations from occurring in Wayne. The goal is to deliver safe water to everyone in Wayne every time they turn on a faucet. Another benefit of having a good program is we may not have to chlorinate when the new groundwater rule goes in effect if we are up to par.