Why is it necessary to have a backflow prevention device on my meter?

Backflow prevention devices are installed with customer water meters to prevent any foreign chemicals or substances within the customer's property from back-siphoning into our regional water system.

"Cross-connection" means any actual or potential connection or structural arrangement between a public water supply and any other source or system through which it is possible to introduce into any part of the potable system any used water, industrial fluid, gas or substance other than the intended potable water with which the system is supplied. By-pass arrangements, jumper connections, removable sections, swivel or changeover devices and other temporary or permanent devices through which or because of which backflow can or may occur are considered cross-connections.

Backflow or back-siphonage can happen accidentally through a cross connection, where a pipe or hose that contains polluted water is connected to the water supply pipeline. If the water system loses pressure, harmful pollution can seep backward into the water system. Backflow from a yard irrigation system could accidentally contaminate our precious drinking water supply with pesticides, fertilizers and other potentially harmful chemicals.

To customers with irrigation systems:

An irrigation system with a chemical injection requires a special valve to keep the chemical from getting into the drinking water system. This valve is called a backflow preventer. BJWSA policy and SCDHEC regulations require a reduced pressure device on any irrigation chemical injection system. It does not matter what kind of chemical is being added: pesticides or insecticides, even if they are all-natural or organic. The reduced pressure device must be tested every year to ensure functionality.

These backflow devices protect all of us from cross connections, or contamination from chemical injection systems. The devices are required for fire suppression systems, commercial irrigation, and other hazards.

For more information, visit the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control's "Cross Connection Control and Backflow Prevention" page.

View our Cross Connection Policy (PDF).

Show All Answers

1. How does the Beaufort-Jasper Water and Sewer Authority protect customer privacy?
2. How do I shut off my water in an emergency?
3. What is hydrant flushing and how often does it happen?
4. Why is it necessary to have a backflow prevention device on my meter?
5. What can I do to prevent sewer back-ups?
6. What is the pink stuff on my bathroom fixtures?
7. Is the water safe to use in my fish tanks?