Since 1976, the backflow prevention program has been in effect pursuant to Section 408 of the Lake County Sewer Use Ordinance. The Ordinance was designed to provide protection from reverse sewer flow conditions in gravity-fed collection systems. Unfortunately, sewage doesn't always flow downhill as it should. Some residential developments are constructed in low-lying areas, areas with high water tables, or areas prone to source control problems (i.e. grease, roots, etc.). A properly installed and maintained backflow valve will prevent unexpected backup events and provide peace of mind through protection in the event of reverse flow conditions.
Sewage mishaps occur from a variety of causes including debris in the sewage collection system; accumulated cooking grease, and various other unusual obstructions. Sewer back-ups (surcharges) can also occur from temporary blockages for sewer repairs; volume overload from winter storms; illegal connections; localized flooding; inflow and infiltration; mechanical malfunctions at pumping stations; and power outages.
Often, sewer backflows result in property damage, high cleanup costs, loss of business revenue/customers, and legal disputes. The installation of a backwater valve can prevent many of these situations.
Section 408 of the Lake County Sewer Use Ordinance (Backflow Prevention Devices, Maintenance) states:
Where a sewer serves plumbing fixtures that are located less than one foot above the rim elevation of the upstream manhole or rod hole in the reach of the main sewer into which the side sewer connects, it shall be protected from backflow of sewage by installing a backflow prevention device of an approved type and in the manner prescribed by the Administrator. Any such backflow device shall be installed by the applicant for sewer service at the sole cost and expense of the applicant. The maintenance of the backflow device shall be the sole obligation of the permittee or his successor in interest. The District shall be under no obligation to ascertain that the backflow device continues in operating condition. (Order Number 871, 2-2-76).
There are a variety of backflow devices available and licensed plumbers are familiar with the installation of such devices. The backflow valve needs to be accessible for routine inspection and service, and the installation should allow the working components of the valve to be quickly and easily serviced. Backflow devices are typically located between the building cleanout and the building. A properly installed backflow valve will assure compliance with Section 408 of the Sewer Use Ordinance, reduce exposure, economic liability, and health hazards.
Special Districts cannot and does not endorse any one particular supplier or brand, but is always on the lookout for new and innovative technologies to help our customers.
Rules & Regulations
On May 9, 1985, the Lake County Board of Supervisors adopted Article VI to Chapter 9 of the Lake County Code (PDF) establishing a cross-connection control program for all district customers. In addition, Appendix D specifically includes a cross-connection program for Kelseyville County Waterworks District Number 3 customers.
- What is a Backflow prevention program?
It is a program required by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to detect and prevent other (non-drinking) water sources from entering the public water system.
- What is a cross-connection?
Cross-connections potentially enable other (non-drinking) water sources of unknown quality to co-mingle with the public water system. Our backflow prevention program identifies and prevents cross-connections. A backflow prevention device will be required if a potential for cross-connection exists.
If your home water system is connected to a source of water other than your water supply - a cross-connection has occurred. "Indirect" cross-connections may occur by garden hoses and temporary connections that may be connected for only a few minutes. Direct cross-connections are more permanent hard-pipe arrangements.
- What is backflow?
Backflow is the backward flow of water through a pipe into the public water system. The normal direction of water flow is from the utility water main to homes or businesses. The backflow of water from home plumbing systems into community drinking water happens when water is pulled backward due to a pressure loss in the utility main pipe or pushed back by a pressure source like a well pump.
- How can this happen?
Contamination of drinking water is usually the result of cross-connections of piping between your drinking water and some other source such as an irrigation well, pond, swimming pool, or Clear Lake. The American Water Works Association (AWWA) estimates over 100,000 cross-connections occur each day - half of these from garden hoses. Backflow preventers are designed and installed to prevent the flow of water backwards through the pipe.
- What is an indirect cross-connection?
This is a temporary cross-connection that may exist for a short period of time. A good example of an indirect cross-connection is a garden hose attached to an outside hose bib with the end of the hose submerged in a pail, swimming pool, or pesticide dispenser. Of additional concern is that some people use the garden hose to flush out sewers and drain pipes.