In some states, water purveyors are required to send out a cross-connection control survey to all properties, as a means of collecting information about properties who might have a health hazard and/or a backflow device they might not know about. Surveys are strongly suggested as part of the EPA’s Cross-Connection Control Manual.
We hear so often many water providers do not have the resources or get overwhelmed by how much work needs to go into a well-executed backflow survey. We provided a few tips below:
1. Public Education – This step ensures the public knows this survey is coming and use all means of communication, websites, social media, town newsletters, and water bills. The stronger the communication plan, the stronger your results will be.
2. Clear, Concise Documents – Backflow can be confusing for commercial properties and residential homes. Send a cover letter with the survey, explaining what backflow is and why they need to complete the survey. If you are conducting a survey online, include verbiage before they fill it out about backflow/cross-connection control.
3. Organize Results – You need to be able to organize results, so you can take the next step with the data you are collecting. Whether that is done by hand entering a spreadsheet or utilizing Google Forms/Sheets to collect the data online.
4. Follow Up Action – Based on the results and responses from the survey, start an inspection process or remediation letter to those properties who come back with device information or a health hazard that needs backflow protection. For those who didn’t respond, try a second attempt for them to fill it out.
5. Annual Tracking – What do you do with the information you do garner? How do you get the devices on a letter notification schedule? The backflow (most likely) needs to be tested annually. Many people use Excel, an asset management system, software, or a cloud based system, like BSI Online.
To be successful with your backflow management program, have a plan to send, document, and act on results and information garnered, this will help ensure the safety of your water supply.
With BSI Online, a full-service backflow management & consulting firm, we can complete a turn-key survey and annual backflow device tracking/notifications for you.