Backflow Prevention/Cross Connection Control

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Backflow Prevention/Cross Connection Control

Backflow Prevention/Cross Connection Control Program

What is a backflow prevention/cross connection control program?

South Bend Water Works provides safe drinking water to its customers.  The Utility pumps, treats, and tests water daily to ensure high quality drinking water is distributed.  Once the water passes the customer’s meter, it’s possible for the water to be contaminated and flow backwards under certain circumstances.  A cross connection control/backflow prevention program is in place to keep you and your neighbors safe.

The Safe Drinking Water Act and Indiana regulation 327 IAC 8-10 direct local utilities to implement cross connection control programs that require any business with a possible hazard to the public water supply or any residence with an irrigation system to have installed, maintained, and have regularly tested a backflow prevention device as prescribed by the rule.

Where is backflow prevention needed?

There are two aspects of cross connection control:  containment at the meter, which is designed to avoid backflow of contaminated water into the public water distribution system; and isolation of each internal cross connection with an appropriate backflow device.  This dual program provides maximum protection of the potable water supply.  The Utility will educate customers to help establish internal cross connection control upon request.  Since internal cross connections cannot be eliminated or monitored adequately, the Utility’s program requires containment at the meter.  An appropriate backflow device must be installed at the customer’s service connection on the downstream side of the meter.  The Utility will determine the type of device required at each location based on the potential hazard.  The Utility requires a reduced pressure principle device for facilities with a cross connection hazard.


Who needs to have a backflow prevention device installed and tested?

Any customer with an irrigation system buried below ground that has a sprinkler outlet located less than 6 inches above grade or a hose spigot below grade needs to have a reduced pressure backflow preventer, an air-gap, or an approved type vacuum-breaker.

Any customer with a private auxiliary water system connected to the public supply must have a reduced pressure backflow preventer.

The following hazards at commercial, industrial, church, or school facilities require a reduced pressure backflow preventer:

  • Manufactures of automotive, aircraft, farm, and similar equipment
  • Canneries, packing, bottling, and similar plants
  • Laundries, car washes, dry cleaners, and similar facilities
  • Mortuaries, laboratories, hospitals, dental and medical facilities
  • Plating, metal, plastic, and paper product plants
  • Producers of chemicals, fertilizers, rubber, oil, drugs, dyes, and other similar products
  • Swimming pools, saunas, and solar heat systems
  • Sewage treatment, water recyclers, and similar facilities
  • Booster pumps to amplify the pressure of water
  • Beverage dispensers connected to the public water supply
  • Chemical dispensers connected to the public water supply
  • Hoses that extend below the fill line in a sink, tank, or on the floor (in kitchens, salons, barber shops, maintenance sinks, etc.)
  • Automatic dishwashers
  • Boilers, cooling towers, or softeners
  • Multi-story buildings (3 or more)
  • More than one facility on a shared "master" meter
  • Any other hazard that is deemed by the Utility to pose a risk of contamination to the public water supply though connection

Who is responsible for installing, maintaining, and getting a device tested?

The customer is responsible for installation and repair of an approved backflow device at the meter.  They are also responsible for getting it tested after installation, after any repair, and on a regular basis to verify proper function.  

How often does my backflow prevention device need to be tested?

All backflow prevention devices in place for hazards must be tested at intervals no greater than one year.  The Utility may require more frequent testing based on the severity of the hazard in question.  All backflow test reports must be submitted to the Utility and customer after the test.  Both the Utility and customer are responsible for maintaining documentation of testing for at least three years.  You can find a list of Indiana certified testers here.  

Reports can be emailed to or mailed to:

South Bend Municipal Utilities

Backflow Prevention Program

915 S Olive St.

South Bend, IN 46619

How do I get more information?

You can download the Indiana Department of Environmental Management's Cross Connection Control and Backflow Prevention Manual here.

If you have any questions, please email or call 311.

311 Process Notes

Please forward any water quality related questions about backflow to 5994 and any questions about testing or backflow devices to 7605