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Backflow Prevention and You

backflow prevention device for cross connection control

Washington State Department of Health regulations require all potable (i.e., drinkable) water system operators to implement cross-connection control programs, which prevent contamination of the public water system.  In essence, once water leaves the public water system and enters a private water line, the water purveyor needs to ensure that the water cannot flow back into and contaminate the public line.

The Highlands adopted a Cross-Connection Control Policy in July 2020.  When the water system was transferred in July 2023, the Highlands Utility District adopted the existing policy, with a goal of reviewing it as soon as practicable.  

The District will be considering adopting a new Cross Connection Control Policy and Program at its public meeting on May 8, 2024.  Under the proposal, the District would become responsible for selecting, installing, maintaining, and testing premise isolation devices.  The District’s public system would then include water meters and premise isolation devices installed by the District.  

Premise back flow prevention devices are installed downstream of the customer’s water meter.  If the District determines that it is necessary to install a premise back flow prevention device, the District will need access to install, maintain and test the device.  

What does this mean to you?

If you have an irrigation system, pool, boiler (for heating systems), or fire suppression system, you may have another back flow prevention device on your property to prevent water from those systems from re-entering your drinking water lines.  These “in-premises” back flow prevention devices will remain your responsibility.  The District encourages you to have those devices tested annually.

Many properties currently have 2” water meters.  The District’s water system engineer has recommended that a 1” water meter would be more appropriate for most properties.  In order to minimize disruption of service, the District may replace your water meter when and if it installs a premise isolation device.

You can find our current Cross Connection Control policy here.


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