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City staff to audit cross connection devices this week

January 27, 2013

City staff will conduct an audit to update the city’s list of businesses that fall under the cross connection policy pursuant to Mississippi code from today until Wednesday.

State code has a mandate for certain businesses to have cross connection devices to protect water supply from potential contamination in the event that a municipality’s water system loses pressure or has a leak. A cross connection is any connection between a drinking water system and any other non-drinkable substance.

City chief water operator Scott Thomas said a review will be done to determine which businesses have a backflow prevention assembly and if there are businesses that lack one and are required to have one. Backflow prevention assemblies are devices installed on water service lines to prevent backflow of contaminants into drinking water through cross connections.

“All of this is to protect the water if there’s some sort of low pressure situation or water leak outside of one of these businesses to prevent anything happening inside the business from contaminating the water system outside of the business,” Thomas said.

Some property owners may have a backflow prevention device in their building and no longer need one, Thomas said. This would be the case for city customers who purchase a property that had the device but use the building differently in a way that poses no risk to the cross connection system. Any business owners who fall under this category will be informed that they can remove the device.

State code mandates high hazard backflow preventer devices to be inspected and tested at least once a year. If a device fails to function properly, property owners are required to have them repaired and retested or install a new one within 30 days of the initial test. If a low hazard backflow preventer device is failing, it must be repaired or replaced within 90 days.

The audit is necessitated by the Division of Water Supply at the Mississippi Department of Health.

There is no code that requires residences to have the devices.

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