Backflow Prevention Program

Published on December 01, 2023

Safe Drinking Water

Keeping Carthage's drinking water safe and clean is our #1 priority. To do this, the Town of Carthage is required to enforce certain rules and regulations to protect our water source and customers.

The Federal Safe Drinking Water Act (P.L. 93-523) was originally passed in 1974. It is also required by the North Carolina Administrative Code (Title 15 A, Subchapter 8C.0709), and the State Building Code. Because a city/town is an agency of the State, the Town of Carthage is required to implement and maintain a Backflow Prevention Program in order to comply with the federal rules to provide safe, clean water to our utility customers.

We know our customers will have lots of questions and concerns. Below you will find a list of Frequently Asked Questions. However, if you still have questions, please call Public Works Director Allen Smith at (910) 585-0070 for one-on-one assistance - we are here to help!

What is backflow? Is it dangerous?

Backflow is the reversal of water flow from an unapproved source into the public water supply. Backflow can carry pollutants and contaminants back into the public water system and increase the risk that someone could get sick from consuming this contaminated water.

What is an unapproved source?

Any water source NOT approved by NC Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources (NCDENR) for quality and safety. This includes some residential and commercial connections.

Why is a Backflow Prevention Program necessary?

The Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, North Carolina Administrative Code, NC Plumbing and Building Codes, require that all water suppliers shall have a program to eliminate potential and actual cross-connections that could lead to contaminated backflow into the water system.

What is a backflow prevention assembly?

A mechanical device that separates approved and unapproved water sources, which prevents contamination in a back-siphon or back-pressure situation. Installation and maintenance of these assemblies are the responsibility of the property owners.

What systems require a backflow prevention assembly?

Backflow devices are required, but not limited to the following:

  • Residential and commercial lawn irrigation systems
  • Fire suppression systems
  • Chemical plants with industrial manufacturing
  • Medical and dental treatment facilities
  • Commercial facilities
  • Pest control buildings
  • Schools
  • Swimming pools
  • Other establishments that, by building code, use equipment that potentially causes backflow and those listed in the Town backflow ordinance.

Who can install and/or test a backflow preventor?

Only technicians who have passed a North Carolina approved certification course may install, test, or maintain backflow preventers. The Town of Carthage will be assisting its water customers with this task by partnering with BSI Online to ensure a certified tester is available to any customers required to have a backflow prevention device.

Who is subject to the Backflow Prevention ordinance?

All customers connected to the Town of Carthage water distribution system. However, it's important to understand that not all homes/buildings will need to install additional devices to meet the backflow prevention requirements. For example, houses are already constructed with a backflow prevention assembly between your homes water line and the water meter. But, if you have an irrigation system, swimming pool or fall into one of the categories listed above, you may still need an additional assembly.

Does my backflow preventor need to be placed in an enclosure?

Yes, all exterior RPZ backflow devices are required to be in a protective, above-ground box.

How often does my backflow assembly need to be tested?

Upon installation or reinstallation, after any maintenance, and annually thereafter. If you remove your backflow device for the winter, it must be retested after it is reinstalled.

What do I do with the test results?

Residents should keep a copy for themselves, and ensure that the backflow technician contacts BSI Online and have the test data placed in their online system.

PHONE: 1-800-414-4990
FAX: 1-888-414-4990

After your information is in this database, residents will be assigned their customer confirmation number (CCN). They can use this number to ensure their device is listed on the BSI website.

Where do I install the backflow prevention assembly?

Devices must be installed within ten (10) feet of the domestic water meter. If you have a designated yard (irrigation) meter, the BFP must be installed within ten (10) feet of the yard meter. Some exceptions may be allowed for fire suppression systems or where installation is not feasible due to facility design. ALL exceptions will be reviewed by Town officials to make FINAL determination.

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