Residential backflows help protect your water supplies
Toho has updated its cross-connection control program. Residential customers are no longer responsible for testing and maintaining their backflow assemblies. Toho will test and maintain all residential backflows at a monthly $3 fee to customers. The cross-connection control program is mandated by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).
What are the customer benefits
- No large out of pocket fees for testing or maintenance
- Hassle free maintenance and testing requirements
- Enhancing the safety of the drinking water supply
- Ease of compliance with state regulations in keeping the water supply safe for everyone
What is a cross connection?
An actual connection or a potential connection between any part of a potable water system and any other environment that would allow substances to enter the potable water system. Those substances could include gases, liquids, or solids; such as chemicals, water products, steam, water from other sources (potable or non-potable) or any matter that may change the color or add odor to the water. Bypass arrangements, jumper connections, removable sections, swivel or change-over assemblies or any other temporary or permanent connection arrangement through which backflow may occur are considered to be cross-connections. Contamination could result in a health hazard or a distribution system going out of compliance.
What is backflow?
Backflow is the reversal of non-potable fluids or other substances through a cross connection to the water distribution system or to the customer’s water system.
Examples of cross connections
- Garden hose connected to a spigot with the hose outlet:
- lying in a pool
- placed in a sewer cleanout
- inserted into car radiator
- attached to a chemical sprayer
Any in-ground irrigation system runs the risk of a cross connection It’s any drinking water supply connected to or coming in contact with a non-drinking water source.
What is a backflow assembly?
A backflow assembly prevents contaminated water from siphoning back into the water distribution system.
Why is backflow assembly important?
For drinking water:
A backflow assembly is important because it prevents contaminated water from possibly siphoning back into the drinking water distribution system and creating a health hazard. Toho has a responsibility to provide safe potable water and must take precautions to protect the drinking water supply against contamination.
For reclaimed water:
Just like drinking water, reclaimed water is tested on a daily basis following all state and federal requirements. A backflow assembly is important because it prevents contamination from possibly siphoning back into the reclaimed distribution system which could cause it to go out of compliance.
Where is the backflow assembly typically located on a property?
An irrigation system using potable water, the backflow assembly is usually located adjacent to the water meter box. They are also located on the side of the house about 12-36” above the ground. This backflow assembly is called a reduced pressure backflow assembly (RPBA).
Irrigation meters without irrigation systems, a backflow device is attached to the spigot. This backflow device is called a vacuum breaker.
Irrigation systems using reclaimed water, backflow devices are attached underground for the water and reclaimed meter. The water meter gets a dual check device and the reclaimed meter gets a single check device installed.
I don’t have a backflow assembly. Will one be installed?
If your property is required by FDEP to have a backflow assembly you will receive a door hanger from Toho notifying you of the installation. Installation should take place within a month.
What type of backflow assembly will be installed?
Irrigation systems using potable water are required by FDEP to have a reduced pressure backflow assembly (RPBA) to protect the drinking water supply. A shallow hole will be dug near the meter box to conduct the installation. The area will be restored to its original condition.
Irrigation meters having no irrigation system, a vacuum breaker will be attached to the spigot to protect the drinking water supply.
Irrigation systems using reclaimed water are required by FDEP to have a dual check device installed for the water meter and a single check device installed for the reclaimed meter. They will be installed underground near the water and reclaimed meter box. A shallow hole will be dug near the meter box to conduct the installation. The area will be restored to its original condition.
Can I place decoration around the backflow to hide it?
Yes, you can place rocks, plants, shrubs or other decorative items around the backflow (see samples). Foliage and decorative rocks should be placed at least two feet away from the backflow to allow easy access for testing and maintenance. Decorative fake rocks or enclosures are also available from retailers to cover the backflow. Take the measurements of the backflow assembly to ensure the cover fits easily over the backflow.
When will these backflow assemblies be tested?
Following the guidelines set by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) your residential backflow assembly will be tested once every two years. A contractor will perform the tests on behalf of Toho.
Does Toho also maintain the backflow assemblies and replace them?
Yes, a contractor on Toho’s behalf will test, maintain and replace the backflow assembly or any parts if necessary. Customers will not incur any additional costs.
Will I be notified?
Upon arrival to a customer’s residence, the contractor will inform the customer of the test and/or repairs to be conducted on the backflow. If the customer is away, the contractor will leave a door hanger stating that the backflow was tested, repaired and/or if a follow-up visit is required.
At what time will these backflow inspections take place?
The contractor working on Toho’s behalf will be conducting backflow tests and repairs Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The contractor’s vehicle will have a Toho Water Authority logo on it.
What is the customer’s responsibility?
We request that the area around the backflow be clear of any foliage, rocks, sprinklers or other items to allow us to test the backflow or perform any necessary repairs. Access to backflow devices should be granted to Toho technicians and contractors to conduct testing and maintenance.
What about commercial customers?
Commercial customers are still required to test and maintain their backflows on an annual basis and will be notified by Toho Water Authority when testing needs to be completed.
If an issue occurs with my residential backflow, who do I contact?
Please email our Backflow Department at BackflowCompliance@tohowater.com.