Comments requested on proposed changes in Backflow Prevention Ordinance

We invite you to meet with OWASA staff on Wednesday, November 16th regarding proposed changes in our Ordinance for the Control of Backflow and Cross-connections. The meeting will begin at 6 PM and it will be in the Community Room on the lower floor of our Administration Building, 400 Jones Ferry Road. We ask that you contact Greg Feller at 919-537-4267 or gfeller@owasa.org if you plan to attend.

We also invite you to comment to the OWASA Board of Directors in its meeting on Thursday, December 8th, at 6 PM in the Community Room.

To read a staff report to the OWASA Board on October 27th and proposed ordinance changes, please click here.

The purpose of our Ordinance is to help protect the public water supply from the potential for contamination if water flows backward from a private plumbing system under conditions such as a water main break that results in a pressure decrease.

  • OWASA staff is proposing (among other items) that a Reduced Pressure Zone (RPZ) backflow prevention device be required for all new construction and renovations or change of use at existing facilities.
  • Staff is recommending that existing devices be “grandfathered,” meaning they can be used, maintained and repaired as needed until such time as it becomes necessary to replace the entire device. No time limit is being proposed on how long an existing device can be kept in use so long as it continues to function properly as verified by annual testing. However, the OWASA Board has discussed the possibility of not requiring residences to retrofit their existing backflow prevention devices to the RPZ type.
  • The installation or retrofitting of existing devices to RPZs may result in significant additional costs (these costs vary with the size and additional plumbing modifications required) and logistical issues for certain customers. 
  • We are proposing to allow exceptions to the Ordinance requirements when it is not technically or financially practical to meet the usual standards.

In addition, we are proposing to actively enforce the requirements of the Ordinance, particularly the annual testing of these devices.

For the full webpage on this matter, please click here