Pursuant to the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, the Sewickley Water Authority is mandated to provide its customers with water that is safe under all foreseeable circumstances. The Sewickley Water Authority, therefore, must take reasonable precautions to protect the community distribution system from possible contamination. One of the major concerns of the Safe Drinking Water Act is a condition known as cross-connection.
A cross-connection is formed at any point where a drinking water line connects to equipment (boilers), systems containing chemicals (air conditioning systems, fire sprinkler systems, irrigation systems) or water sources of questionable quality. Cross-connection contamination can occur when the pressure in the equipment or system is greater than the pressure inside the drinking water line (backpressure or backflow). Contamination can also occur when the pressure in the drinking water line drops due to fairly routine occurrences (main breaks, heavy water demand) causing contaminants to be sucked out from the equipment and into the drinking water line (backsiphonage or backflow).
Outside water taps and garden hoses tend to be the most common sources of cross-connection contamination at home. The garden hose creates a hazard when submerged in a swimming pool or when attached to a chemical sprayer for weed killing. Garden hoses that are left lying on the ground may be contaminated by fertilizers, cesspools or garden chemicals. Improperly installed valves in your toilet could also be a source of cross-connection contamination.
Community water supplies are continuously jeopardized by cross-connections unless appropriate valves, known as backflow prevention devices, are installed and maintained.
The Sewickley Water Authority, in compliance with the Safe Water Act has a program to protect the community distribution system from possible cross-connection and backflow conditions. This program requires that every nonresidential account have their backflow prevention device(s) inspected annually by a certified plumbing contractor. Certification Forms are mailed out annually to all nonresidential accounts and must be completed and return to remain in compliance. The Certification Form is also available in our office, or it can be downloaded by clicking the link below.
Customers should contact the Sewickley Water Authority if they are unsure of the status of their property’s backflow prevention device. Please be advised, properties not containing a backflow prevention device are in violation and must contact the Sewickley Water Authority immediately.
For more information, review the Cross-Connection Control Manual from the U.S. EPA's Web site at http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/drinkingwater/pws/crossconnectioncontrol/index.cfm. You can also call the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791.