While South Mesa Water Company works diligently to deliver safe and reliable drinking water to its customers, some hazardous conditions may exist on customer properties which risk the safety of your drinking water supply. That’s why backflow and cross-connection prevention is an important part of our water quality program. Water distribution systems are designed to have higher pressure than a customer’s system to keep water flowing in the right direction. However, when there is a drop in pressure in our distribution system, a reverse flow – or backflow – can occur. This can be caused by incidents such as a severed fire hydrant, high demands such as firefighting, water main breaks and earthquakes. A backflow condition can result in water contamination, if hazardous cross-connections exist, endangering the quality of your drinking water.
What are cross-connections? Whenever a plumbing fixture is connected to the drinking water supply, a potential cross-connection exists. Some examples include:
- Hose bibs
- Livestock watering systems
- Hose attachments to apply hazardous or harmful substances
- Lawn irrigation systems
- Ornamental fountains and ponds
- Fire sprinkler systems
- Solar heat systems
- Wash basins and service sinks
What is backflow? If the water on your property is in contact with a hazardous, harmful, contaminated or non-potable substance and that water backflows into the main water system, it could cause illness or, in extreme cases, death.
What are hazards? South Mesa Water Company requires all commercial and industrial properties as well as residential properties with livestock to install and maintain a backflow prevention device. While single-family residences without livestock are not generally required to have a backflow device, you can help prevent backflow contamination by:
- not leaving hoses attached or submerged in unsafe water
- confirming that anti-siphon type valves are installed on irrigation valves.
- installing hose bib vacuum breakers
South Mesa Water Company has over 390 backflow prevention assemblies installed within its service territory. All installed devices must be tested on an annual basis. Each year, customers will receive a reminder notice along with a list of certified testers. Failure to have the device tested could result in the termination of service.
Annually, a $15.00 administration fee will be applied to each backflow customer water account. Due to South Mesa Water Company’s status as a shareholder-owned corporation, company policy dictates that the Backflow and Cross-Connection Program be self-sustaining.
Additionally, customers who fail to comply with backflow requirements within the time allotted will be assessed a $50.00 non-compliance penalty. Customers will also be charged a $50.00 reconnection fee if water is disconnected due to backflow non-compliance. To download a fillable PDF version of our backflow certification form, click here. Customers and testers may return completed forms by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), fax (909-795-5299) or by mail.
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We, at South Mesa Water Company, hope this information provides a clear understanding of the need for Backflow and Cross-Connection Prevention. Protecting our water supply is everybody’s responsibility and South Mesa Water Company appreciates all those who have complied with the California Department of Health’s mandated requirements.