Backflow Prevention / Cross-Connection Control

NEWS AND UPDATES

BUSINESS AS USUAL FOR ANNUAL BACKFLOW TESTING

It is critical that we all do our part to protect the Town’s public potable water system. Pre-notices and Notices of Violation will continue to be mailed and backflow testing will be required by your annual test due date. If you have any questions or concerns, please email us or complete the Water / Sanitary Sewer Concern form.

TESTER RE-CERTIFICATION EXTENSION

In light of the COVID-19 restrictions, many of the approved tester schools have cancelled or postponed their certification schools. The Town of Apex will grant extensions through August 1, 2020 to any existing Town approved backflow tester whose certification will be expire during the months of March, April, May, and June, 2020. Testers with expired certifications will be allowed to submit their backflow test reports online through August 1, 2020 while they work on registering for a certification school.

AquaResource (1)NEW ONLINE BACKFLOW TESTING SOFTWARE, AQUARESOURCE, TO KICK OFF APRIL 1, 2020

Effective April 1, 2020 the Town began utilizing the services of TecNXS, Inc. and its online software, AquaResource, to track annual backflow testing. A postcard providing the Group ID to access the AquaResource Portal was mailed to all active backflow customers April 1, 2020. Visit the AquaResource Customer Portal at www.backflow.tecnxs.com/portal/11/ to access your backflow account information.  Click on the backflow information on your account to see your last test date, next test due date, print past backflow tests, and view your last backflow tester.  You may also add email and phone information to your account.  

Please email cross.connection@apexnc.org or phone (919) 372-7478 to obtain your Group ID # to access your backflow account or if you have any questions regarding the AquaResource site, test due date or the Town’s Cross Connection Control Program.

We hope you enjoy the following benefits provided through the AquaResource software:

  • The cost of uploading a passing backflow test has been reduced from $14.95 to $9.50 per test.
  • Customers can add contact information such as phone and email.
  • Customers who elect to add email contact information may choose to have notices sent to their email address..
  • Customers can view their backflow inventory, see the status of each backflow, and access and print their test reports.
  • Customers can search for Town approved backflow testers from the Portal.

As a result of the change to the the AquaResource software the following changes have been implemented:

  • One Pre-Notice will be mailed via postcard by AquaResource 45 days prior to the test due date. Notice of Violation letters will continue to be sent certified mail by the Town.

GENERAL INFORMATION

The Town of Apex Water Resources Department is continually looking for ways to increase efficiency and properly allocate resources while managing the requirements of the Town’s backflow prevention / cross connection control program. One of the primary ways we accomplish this is by utilizing the services of an internet based third party contractor, to track backflow assemblies and testers, as well notify testers of expiring certifications and customers of upcoming backflow testing due dates.

Effective April 1, 2020 the Town will change our notification process, reducing our notifications to one Pre-Notice sent via postcard by AquaResource 45 days prior to the test due date. Approved testers are responsible for uploading the passing backflow test to AquaResource. The cost to submit a backflow test to the AquaResource site is $9.50 per test. Only passing backflow tests are accepted. If a test fails, the device will need to be repaired and retested.

When an assembly is past due for testing a Notice of Violation letter is generated by the Town and sent certified mail to inform customers about past due testing and potential enforcement of the Town’s Cross Connection Control Ordinance.

DEACTIVATING YOUR IRRIGATION SYSTEM

Customers that do not plan to use their irrigation system for a season may submit a Deactivate Irrigation request via the online form found at www.apexnc.org/deactivateirrigation.  The customer will be required to upload a picture to this form showing that the backflow assembly has been removed. If a non-sewer meter is present it will be removed and the non-sewer service and backflow accounts will be made inactive.  When the customer is ready to reactivate their system they will be required to notify the Town via email at cross.connection@apexnc.org and have the backflow assembly tested prior to use.  

TERMINATING YOUR IRRIGATION SYSTEM

To permanently remove an irrigation containment assembly, all controls and valves must be removed with the piping capped or plugged below ground near the source of connection.  The non-sewer meter box, if existing, shall also be removed.  A plumbing permit is required to cap or plug the piping.  A plumbing permit can be obtained at the Inspections and Permitting Department located at 73 Hunter Street.

TESTER INFORMATION

New Testers
Certified backflow testers may request to be added to the Town’s approved backflow tester list by visiting the AquaResource at www.backflow.tecnxs.com. Step by step directions on how to register and submit tests on the AquaResource site are located at the link below.  

Directions to Register and Submit Backflow Tests

The AquaResource site is compatible with most browsers with the exception of Internet Explorer and Edge.  School certification and test kit calibration certificates files must be in jpg or png format for upload to the AquaResource site.  

Please allow 2 business days for review and approval. Your name will appear on the approved tester list once you have been approved by the Town. 

Tester Re-certification
Testers with expired backflow and/or equipment calibration certifications will be unable to upload passing backflow tests to the AquaResource site until the updated certification information is uploaded, reviewed, and approved. All certifications/recertifications and licenses must be uploaded via the AquaResource site.

Forms

Town backflow site survey found at the link below is required for all new installs, certificate of occupancy, change of use, company name change, and ownership change.

Safe Drinking Water Act

In 1974, Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) to protect public health by regulating the nation’s public water supply. Under this law, the Town of Apex (the water purveyor) is prohibited from installing or maintaining a water service connection to a consumer’s water system within its jurisdiction, unless the public potable water supply is protected against backflow by an approved prevention assembly installed at the service connection or point of delivery.

Cross-Contamination

The town goes to great lengths to ensure that the water delivered to citizens is of the highest quality. When water leaves the Apex/Cary treatment plant, it is in its freshest and purest state. However, during delivery, there is a danger that the water may become contaminated or polluted from sources out of our control. This can happen when the water supply main, pipe, or service line is connected to equipment containing a substance not fit for drinking. These cross-connections may be permanent or temporary and have the potential to result in serious illness or even death.

Backflow

Backflow is the reversal of the flow of water or the mixing of water and other unwanted substances into the water distribution system. Water distribution systems are designed to flow in 1 direction from the main to the customer. When the direction of flow is reversed due to pressure differences such as fire fighting efforts, a water main break, or consumer high-side pressure (pumps), contaminants can enter the potable drinking water system. A single backflow incident can potentially affect hundreds or even thousands of people.

Cross-Connections

A cross connection is a permanent or temporary piping arrangement between potable water and a non-potable source. Potentially hazardous cross-connections can occur in the following examples:

  • A hose is placed in a bucket of car wash solution while a person is washing their car.
  • Someone uses a garden hose sprayer to apply insecticides or herbicides to their lawn.
  • Someone uses their garden hose to clear a stoppage in their sewer line.
Tube apparatus in the ground used to prevent residential backflow

Backflow Prevention

The Town of Apex administers a cross connection control program to ensure the safety of the drinking water. The Town has developed and implemented an ordinance that requires all industrial, commercial, and irrigation customers to install approved backflow prevention assemblies on their property before branching to a private system. Annual testing of backflow preventers is required.

Metal apparatus used by the town to prevent backflow

Degrees of Hazard

Different types of backflow prevention assemblies are required depending on the degree of hazard.

High Hazard

A high hazard exists when there is danger that a backflow incident could create a health threat. Examples of this classification include:

  • Hospitals
  • Lawn irrigation systems
  • Manufacturing plants where dyes or chemicals are mixed

Moderate Hazard

A moderate hazard can occur when there is not a health threat, but a backflow incident could cause drinking water to be discolored or have an odor. Retail stores and offices are examples of this classification. Cross-connection control staff evaluate both new and existing customers to determine which hazards, if any, exist and the type of backflow prevention assembly that is required.

Water Hoses

Over half of the nation’s cross-connections involve unprotected garden hoses. Without a backflow prevention assembly between your hose and hose-bibb (spigot or outside faucet), the contents of the hose and anything it is connected to (e.g., bucket of sudsy car wash water) can backflow into the piping system and contaminate the drinking water in your own home. Each spigot on your house should have a hose-bibb vacuum breaker installed. This is a simple, inexpensive device which can be purchased at any plumbing or hardware store. Installation is as easy as threading it onto the spigot.