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Notices will be mailed to all users as needed, advising customers who have a backflow device whether it is due for testing or rebuild services.
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Backflow is the reversal of flow in a water system from the normal or intended direction of flow. It creates the opportunity for potential contaminants and pollutants from private plumbing connections in your home or business to enter the main water distribution system.
Cross Connection Control uses a system of inspection and record keeping to keep track of potential issues in the water distribution system and employs backflow preventers, which are mechanical devices that, when properly maintained, prevent dangerous contaminants and pollutants from entering the public water supply system.
Water purveyors, such as the Wichita Public Works and Utilities, are required by the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 to implement a cross-connection control program to protect the water supply from materials connected to the water system. State Law and Local Codes require that unprotected connections be addressed with proper protection for the hazard or water service to the consumer must be terminated. The Cross Connection Control Section works to ensure safe water for all consumers of water in our system.
In early 2020, every City of Wichita water customer who has a backflow device attached to their lawn irrigation system was mailed a courtesy letter advising the need to have that device serviced this year in the spring.
Backflow devices must be tested annually and rebuilt every 5 years. Some customers may have disconnected their irrigation system, or for other reasons, had their backflow device removed. If this applies to you, the contractor who removed the device must submit verification that this device has been removed and the irrigation system is disconnected from the city's water system. Verifications may be emailed to the Public Works Department.
The procedure for notification has changed. In the past, no deadline was given for having backflow devices tested. This year, the City is requiring that all irrigation backflow devices due for annual testing are to be tested in the spring.
For some, this may result in having the device tested twice within 12 months. In future years, all irrigation backflow device testing will be due late in May.
Yes, but your device is tested once the rebuild is completed by the backflow technician and should be included in your rebuild service.
The Federal Safe Drinking Water Act and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment require that the City of Wichita have a program to ensure everyone's drinking water is safe. Backflow devices ensure that water used for irrigation or other purposes like manufacturing or fire protection does not "flow back" into the City water mains and get distributed to others consumers in the water system.
In order to keep the City in compliance with federal regulations, customers who do not meet the testing or rebuild requirements will risk having their water disconnected. Facilities where water discontinuation is not possible will face civil penalties including fines and other penalties.
If you have concerns about your ability to meet the requirement of having a backflow device, please email the Public Works Department.
Download and view step-by-step instructions (PDF).