Cross Connection FAQs

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What is the purpose of these devices?
Backflow prevention devices ensure that water flows only in one direction - from the main line in the street, through the individual service line, and into the home or business. Without these devices, loss of pressure in the main line could allow water in the property owner's lines to drain back into the system.

How do they work?
Backflow prevention assemblies have two valves that use either a flap covering a hole or a ball fitting into a socket to block water from flowing in the wrong direction. At homes, the valves will be in a cylindrical device at a new meter box that will be two or three times larger than boxes used previously.

Why is the Town requiring these devices now?
The federal government required vulnerability assessments of water systems nationwide in light of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The Town studied its system in 2003 and concluded that contamination could enter the system (by accident or design) at individual water connections. State regulations also require backflow prevention devices to safeguard water systems.

Do other cities require backflow prevention devices?
Cross connection control programs that require the use of backflow prevention devices on all potable water services have been in force in Raleigh since 1987, in Durham since 1985, and in Apex since 1993. All of the other top 10 cities in North Carolina also have a cross connection program in force.

Where do the devices go?
At residential property, backflow prevention assemblies typically will go at the water meter box outside the home.

Who is responsible for the backflow installation?
For Residential Irrigation Systems the property owner is the responsible party.

How long do these devices last? Is there a schedule for inspecting or replacing them?
Who is responsible and what is the associated cost?

Property owners must arrange for inspection upon installation and perform yearly tests afterward. Repairs occur as needed to ensure proper working order. Residential customers have an option of having the Town provide the contractor to do the annual testing. Please see our Residential Cross Connection Program page for further information about this program.

What is the expected cost to the homeowner for the annual backflow prevention test?
The certified backflow prevention testers are private contractors that establish their own pricing. Calling to receive a price quote from more than one contractor is highly recommended in order to find the average price for the backflow prevention test. Most contractors offer discounted group rates for neighborhoods and homeowner associations. Costs for the Town testing program are bid annually. Further information on the program for residential tests being performed by a Town-hired contractor can be found on our Residential Cross Connection Program page.

If I live in Morrisville and have an irrigation system, do I have to have a backflow preventer?
All customers who receive their water from the Town of Cary are required to have a backflow prevention device on their irrigation system. This applies to customers who may live in different areas but are customers of the Town of Cary utility system.

 What if I no longer want to use my irrigation system?
To disconnect an irrigation system that is on a separate meter and not be required to have a backflow test, call 311 or (919) 469-4050 to have the meter removed. If your irrigation system does not have a separate irrigation meter, and you wish to have it disconnected, please call 311 or (919) 469-4090.

backflowpreventer1How can I identify if I already have a backflow prevention device installed?
The backflow prevention device should be located within the front yard. The device is above ground and resembles an upside down letter U. If you are unsure as to whether you have this device, call 311 or (919) 469-4090. (See image)

What if my backflow prevention tester is not certified with the Town of Cary?
If your backflow prevention tester is not certified with the Town of Cary, please have them apply for certification with the Town Reports done by testers that are not certified will not be recognized by the Town.

How do I contact a certified backflow prevention tester?
Check the Town's list of certified backflow prevention assembly technicians.

How can I learn more about water system connections and backflow prevention devices?
Contact the Town of Cary at 311 or (919) 469-4090.

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