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Backflow Program

To ensure that Kennebec Water District (KWD) customers can turn on their faucets and find water that is free of their neighbor’s heating pipe antifreeze, toilet-bowl cleanser, or pool water, KWD wants to get the word out about backflow prevention devices.

When you turn on a spout, you expect to get safe drinking water, but will you if your neighbor has a garden hose hooked up to a bottle of liquid fertilizer or has the hose in the swimming pool or hot tub?

State law mandates the use of backflow devices by water consumers in order to prevent non-potable water from flowing backwards from a house or business into the potable water distribution system. Since 1987, KWD has required the installation of containment backflow devices on all water services. Most commercial customers now have them installed.

Without a backflow prevention device installed, situations such as a water main break can cause a drop in water pressure that allows the water out of a home’s or business’s to backflow into the distribution system. Do-it-yourself devices, such as high-pressure power washers which may be connected to a garden hose, could also force water back out into the water main if a backflow prevention device is not installed.

Backflow devices are required to be installed in all existing homes and businesses. KWD also requires all new construction to install backflow prevention devices before service begins.

Home and business owners alike must pay for the device on an individual basis. The cost of the device plus installation varies, but in instances where KWD service personnel can perform the installation in a residence, the cost of the device plus installation varies based on market prices. Where KWD service personnel cannot perform the installation, homeowners must employ a plumber or do it themselves.

Customers also need to be aware that thermal expansion can be an issue. Installing a backflow prevention device creates a closed system. When water is heated in a water heater, it expands and increases in pressure. Without a backflow device installed, heated water is pushed back through the piping back into the water main. With a backflow device installed, water pressure may rise in the internal piping enough to cause faucets to drip or the temperature/pressure relief valve on the water heater to drip or blow off to relieve the extra pressure. It is advised that homeowners contact a plumber to have an assessment performed, especially if you have gas water heater.

For more information, please read the documents below: