Frequently Asked Questions
Below are a few of the most common questions regarding the District's cross connection control program:
- Q: What is a cross connection?
- A: A cross connection is any physical arrangement or potential arrangement whereby the District’s water system is or may be connected, directly or indirectly, with any other water supply system, sewer, drain, conduit, pool, storage reservoir, plumbing fixture, or other device which contains, or may contain, contaminated water, sewage, or other waste or liquid of unknown quality which may be capable of having the potential to contaminate the District’s water supply as the result of backflow or backsiphonage. By-pass arrangements, jumper connections, removable sections, swivel or changeable devices, and other temporary or permanent devices through which, or because of which, a backflow or backsiphonage may occur, are considered to be cross-connections.
- Q: What is a backflow prevention assembly?
- A: A backflow prevention assembly is a certified assembly that prevents the undesirable reversal of flow of water or other substances through a cross-connection into the District’s water system, or consumer’s potable water system.
- Q: Why am I required to test my backflow prevention assembly annually?
- A: The Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1986, and regulations of most states, state that the water purveyor has the primary responsibility of preventing water from unapproved sources, or any other substances, from entering the public potable water system. The health agency has the overall responsibility for preventing water from unapproved sources to enter either the potable water system within the water consumer’s premises or the public water supply directly. Covington Water District operates and maintains a cross connection control program, in accordance with the Department of Health requirements per Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 246-290-490 which states, "Purveyors have the responsibility to protect the public water systems from contamination due to cross connection. Cross connections which can be eliminated shall be eliminated. The Purveyors shall work cooperatively with the local authorities to eliminate or control potential cross connections." In accordance with WAC 246-290-490, Covington Water District requires all backflow prevention assemblies will be tested upon installation, repair, or relocation and annually by a certified Backflow Assembly Tester (BAT). All tests are due to the District by July 31st to avoid fines and potential termination of service. Annual testing for the compliance period shall begin January 1st and end July 31st each calendar year.
- Q: What does the District's premise isolation policy mean in regards to backflow prevention assembly placement?
- A: The District’s responsibility for backflow prevention will begin at the water supply source and include all water treatment, storage, and distribution facilities. The District’s responsibility ends at the point of delivery to the consumer’s water system, which begins at the downstream end of the District’s service connection water meter located on the public right-of-way or utility-held easement. Under provisions in WAC 246-290-490, the District is not responsible for eliminating or controlling cross-connections within the consumer’s water system (plumbing). That responsibility falls under the jurisdiction of the local administrative authority that is authorized to administer and enforce the Uniform Plumbing Code.