Cross Connection Control Program
Every day, the Village of Westchester proudly supplies water to its citizens; water that exceeds the minimum quality requirements of the EPA. Before the water is pumped to your home or business, it has gone through careful treatment and numerous tests to ensure its quality.
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 a customer’s system.
Without proper protection devices, cross connections can occur. A cross connection between your drinking water and another source of water that combines the two can result in a backflow condition which can cause contamination. Backflow is when the water in your pipes (the pipes after the water meter) goes backward (the opposite direction from the normal flow).
Village of Westchester Cross-Connection Control Program-Major Components
Cross Connection Notice - Lawn Sprinklers.Click here for more information
Annual Testing Requirement: The Municipal Code (Chapter 15.40 Backflow Prevention) requires that cross connection control devices be installed, in accordance with the Illinois Plumbing Code, to prevent potentially contaminated water from flowing back into the Village's water supply. Village Code requires that the cross connection device be tested annually and that these tests must be certified by a licensed Cross Connection Control Device Inspector (CCCDI) and the results submitted to the Village annually.
Follow the link for a list of licensed Cross Connection Control Device Inspectors (CCCDI).
Please note that this is not an endorsement by the Village of any contractor contained on this list and the Village does not assume liability for any work performed by a contractor within the Village of Westchester.
To all Cross Connection Control Device Inspectors: Please make sure to include the test kit, serial number and calibration date with your test results and submit test results to Aqua Backflow, Inc at www.trackmyfbackflow.com
Survey: Another requirement of the State of Illinois Cross-Connection Control Program is that all users of the water system are surveyed every two years. The purpose of the survey is to identify and eliminate possible sources of cross connections to help ensure the safety of the public water supply. The information collected through the surveys helps to identify where backflow prevention devices may be needed as well as providing information on existing devices that may not have been previously submitted to the Village. The Village will mail out paper surveys every two years to all water accounts. The survey is also available online. You can follow the link below. The survey only takes a few minutes to complete.
Physical Inspections: The Village will be contacting property owners to inspect commercial and industrial properties once every four years. The physical inspections are being conducted to ensure that the Village has accurate information on all the backflow devices that exist and to identify any unprotected cross-connections.
Education: The Village is also required to periodically contact all water customers to educate them about backflow prevention.
What is the Purpose of the Cross Connection Control Program?
- Protect the public water supply system from contamination or pollution by isolating within the customer's water system contaminants or pollutants which could backflow through the service connection into the public water supply system.
- Promote the elimination or control of existing cross-connection, actual or potential, between the public or consumer's potable water system and nonpotable water systems containing substances of unknown or questionable quality.
- Provide for the maintenance of a continuing program of cross-connection control which will prevent the contamination or pollution of the public and consumer's potable water systems.
What is a Backflow Preventer?
A backflow preventer is a plumbing device which prevents the backflow of water (reversing its flow and returning to the supply system) by using a check valve, which permits flow in only one direction by using a hinged flapper or guided poppet that opens when the flow is going in one direction but will close if the direction reverses.
What can cause backflow?
Water normally flows in one direction from a public water system through a private one, and finally to a plumbing fixture (faucet, garden hose, etc). The reversal of the flow of water is called backflow, and leads to the possible contamination of the public water supply. Backflow is usually caused by a sudden drop of the water pressure in a public water main. A drop in pressure could be caused by a variety of things, including a water main break or the loss of power at a pump station.
How does contamination of water occur?
A pollutant may enter the potable water system if the pressure at the pollution source exceeds the pressure of the potable water source. For example, if the pressure drops in the public water system while a hose is in a bucket of dirty water, that water could backflow into the public water system, potentially contaminating the water for other users.
What can I do to prevent backflow?
- Keep the ends of your hoses free of any possible contaminants
- If your threaded faucets are not equipped with an in-line protection device, install an approved hose bibb vacuum breaker or other backflow prevention devices
- Never submerge hoses in buckets, vats, sinks, tubs or ponds
- Use spray attachments or valve spray hoses that have a device to prevent backflow
- Do not connect waste drain pipes from water softeners or other treatment systems directly to the sewer system
- All drains should be air gapped
Why do backflow preventers have to be tested?
Mechanical backflow preventers have internal seals, springs and moving parts that are subject to fouling, wear or fatigue. Additionally, mechanical backflow preventers (and air gaps) can be bypassed. All backflow preventers must be tested periodically to ensure that they are functioning properly. A visual check of air gaps is sufficient, but mechanical backflow preventers have to be tested with properly calibrated gauge equipment. This is usually done once each year.
What Happens if I Do Not Install a Cross Connection Control Device? In accordance with the Village Code, failure to comply with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency's cross connection control requirements will result in water shut-off. Once a proper control device is installed, the Village will reinstitute water service. In an effort to avoid water shut-offs, Community Development staff will work closely with residents and business owners to ensure compliance.
Can I Disconnect my Sprinkler System Instead of Installing a Cross Connection Control Device? Yes. However, you may not reconnect your sprinkler system until a proper cross connection control device is installed. The Village will be conducting periodic inspections to ensure compliance.
Who Do I Contact with Questions Concerning this Program? For further information regarding the Village's cross connection control program, please contact Aqua Backflow, Inc personnel at 847-742-2296.
Where can I find additional information?
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has created several informational guides on cross-connections and specific devices and methods used to prevent backflow: