Backflow Prevention

What is Backflow?

Backflow is a reverse flow in a water system from the normal or intended direction, caused by:

  1. A decrease or loss of pressure on the main supply lines that allows a reverse flow of water from a customer’s pressurized distribution system.
  2. A reversal of the pressure differential between the supplier and the consumer’s distribution system caused by a pump or heat expansion back-siphonage from a vat or container due to a negative atmospheric pressure that sometimes results from a loss of pressure on the supply system.

What is a Backflow Preventer (BFP)?

A BFP is a device designed to prevent reverse flow in a water system. It is used to protect water supplies from contamination or pollution. Many types of backflow prevention devices also have test ports so that they can be tested or examined to ensure that they are functioning properly. Backflow devices are required by law where needed and must be installed in accordance with plumbing code. The assembly is installed on the water service or within the plumbing system.

When should the BFP be tested?

A BFP must be tested at the time of installation, each year thereafter, and if relocated or repaired. Who does the BFP testing? According to State Law a person must hold a current Backflow Prevention Certification in order to test a backflow preventer.

Will Newnan Utilities perform the BFP testing for me?

No. The backflow is located on the customer side of the meter; therefore, we are unable to perform this test.

Is this testing required?

Yes. In 1973 The United States Environmental Protection Agency established The Safe Drinking Water Act as a means of protecting public water systems, like Newnan Utilities, from harmful contaminants and pollutants that may enter the water system through cross-connections, backflow and back-siphonage. This act also establishes responsibilities for a safe water supply. In 1977 The State of Georgia Department of Natural Resources, in compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established Rules for Safe Drinking Water which states: “A supplier of water or any person having possession or control of facilities which may cause the contamination of a public water system has the responsibility to prevent water from unapproved sources or any contaminants from entering the public water system. ”The Georgia Department of Natural Resources; Environmental Protection Division, in 1983 amended this rule and mandated that all public water systems develop Cross-Connection Control and/or Backflow Prevention Programs to enforce these requirements.


What Is A Rain Sensor Shut-Off Switch?

A rain sensor shut-off switch is an electric device that detects and measures rainfall and turns off the irrigation system when a predetermined amount of rain has fallen. This prevents the irrigation system from watering when the landscape is already receiving enough water from the rainfall. Rain sensors reduce unnecessary watering during rainfall events.

Why Are Rain Sensor Shut-Off Switches Important?

The outdoor service industry is big business in the Atlanta region. There are over 1,500 outdoor service companies within the 15-county Atlanta region that employ approximately 13,000 people according to the 2006 Census County Business Patterns. These companies account for 60 percent of the outdoor service companies across the entire state of Georgia. Over 400 companies in the Atlanta region deal directly with installing irrigation systems.

When installed on an irrigation system, a rain sensor shut-off switch prevents over-watering and assists with conserving water by reducing water that would be wasted if a lawn was being irrigated and rained on at the same time. The magnitude of companies involved with irrigation suggests that there are many landscape irrigation systems operating in the Atlanta region. The more rain sensor shut-off switches installed on irrigation systems leads to more of the region’s water supply conserved.

Dual Check Backflow Prevention Devices

What Is Dual Check Backflow?

In recent years, this device became a requirement by State and Federal Government to be on all water service connections of a public water system. After installation, some locations could experience leaky faucets or a leaky water heater pressure release valve. Before the Backflow Prevention Device was in place, your water heater warmed the water causing an increase in pressure. As the water warmed, the pressure forced water back into the public system. Once the Backflow Preventer is installed, the water can no longer expand in this direction. This is what is called a "closed system." In this type of system, pressures can build up leading to the above condition. Most customers will never experience these problems, however, if you have any concerns about your plumbing system, contact a certified plumber.

Additional Information:


Irrigation Brochure

50 Questions & Answers

Backflow Reports Web Test Entry

Municipal Ordinance for ‘Sec. 21-114. - "Backflow and Cross Connections Prohibited"

Backflow Installation Details