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It is any connection between your drinking water and an unapproved source of water or any other contaminant. With a cross-connection, your drinking water can become contaminated when a backflow condition occurs.
So, what is backflow? Backflow is when the water in your pipes (the pipes after the water meter) goes backward (the opposite direction from its normal flow). There are two situations that can cause the water to go backward (backflow):
Any possibility of pollutants, contaminants, and system or plumbing hazards is considered a potential hazard. Examples may include:
Putting the garden hose in a swimming pool to fill it; putting a garden hose in a pet's water bucket or fish tank can unwittingly create a cross-connection.
So you may ask …What's the big deal? The big deal is backflows due to cross-connections can cause sickness and death.
To connect to both Columbia Irrigation District (CID), Kennewick Irrigation District (KID), and the City's potable water system you will need to install a Reduced Pressure Backflow Assembly (RPBA). You will need to have your RPBA inspected by the City Cross Connection Specialist and tested by a certified backflow tester once you have installed your assembly. You are also required to have your RPBA tested annually by a certified backflow tester.
Another option: If your irrigation service is interrupted use your garden hoses connected to your home's exterior faucets. This option does not require you to install an RPBA and have the RPBA annually tested.
Please note you can not connect garden hoses from your home's exterior faucets to your underground sprinkler system.
First, obtain an Underground Sprinkler Installation Permit from our Cross Connection Specialist.
You will need to properly install a backflow assembly approved by the Department of Health. Below you will find several installation diagrams. Each backflow assembly has specific installation requirements which may not work in all situations. Contact the City's Cross Connection Specialist, 509-967-5434, for assistance.
Once your device has been installed do not backfill. You will need to contact the City's Cross Connection Specialist, 509-967-5434, to have it inspected.
You are required to have your backflow assembly tested annually. The City will send a reminder letter 30 days prior to your annual test due date. Please contact one of the Certified Backflow Testers to have your test completed.
For our residents' convenience, the City maintains a list of Certified Backflow Testers (PDF) (updated June 2021).
If you experience problems with any of the testers on the list please notify the City's Cross Connection Specialists at 509-967-5434 or by email.
The following diagram will aid you in disconnecting and removing your backflow assembly from the City potable water system. Do not backfill once you have removed your backflow assembly. Prior to connecting your underground sprinkler system to KID or CID, you will need to contact the City's Cross Connection Specialist once you have completely disconnected from the system, to have the disconnection verified.
Read through the Civil Penalties For Cross-Connection - P03-11 (PDF) - updated March 2018.