Long Beach implementing water cross-connection elimination plan

<I>LARRY KELLIS/USCG AUXILIARY PHOTO</I><BR>A 44-foot motor lifeboat is the workhorse of search and rescue operations at the mouth of the Columbia.

LONG BEACH - The city of Long Beach is in the process of implementing a program to identify and eliminate cross connections as required by the State of Washington Administrative Code.

What is a cross connection? It is a logical assumption that because water is always under pressure, it can only flow in one direction. This is a common misconception. If the pressure on the customer's side of the meter becomes greater than the pressure in the water district's main, a reversal of flow could be created. Situations that could cause this change in pressure include a break in the system's main line or the opening of several hydrants by the fire department because of a fire. If, at the time the reversal of flow occurs, there is anything attached to your plumbing that contains solutions other than the drinking water (i.e. water softeners, Jacuzzi chemicals, etc.), these substances could be drawn into the drinking water supply. This would be a cross connection.

What does the state require to be done if a cross connection is identified? If the cross connection cannot be eliminated, a backflow assembly must be installed, tested at least annually and maintained for as long as the cross connection exists. A backflow assembly is a testable check valve, which if operating properly, will prevent water from flowing backwards.

When determining if a cross connection exists and if a backflow assembly is required, there are three categories under which a property will fall.

1. Table nine properties: The State has established that certain types of facilities must have a backflow assembly at the meter.

2. Commercial properties: Any facilities that are not on table nine, but are used for commercial and industrial purposes, will need a physical inspection to identify any potential cross connections.

3. All other properties receiving water from the city of Long Beach.

All property owners will be contacted in person or by mail to determine the category for the property. If a cross connection exists, an assembly will be required.

As the city begins to implement this program, they will need your help. The city is committed to working with everyone in an efficient and effective manner. Implementing a cross connection program can be extremely time-consuming and, consequently, costly. They are asking for your cooperation in making this as easy as possible for everyone involved.

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