Cross-Connection Control / Backflow Prevention

Attention Town of Estes Park water customers:

Between 2018 and 2019, the Town of Estes Park was in violation of a requirement of a section of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment regulations for backflow prevention and cross-connection control within its water system. Although this situation is not an emergency and no safety concerns have been identified that may have caused drinking water contamination, as our customers you have the right to know what happened and what is being done to regain compliance in 2021.

The Town is required to implement, annually survey and ensure annual device testing of a defined percentage of all commercial, fire suppression, irrigation and multi-family customers. The Town did not reach the defined percentages. However, it has now directed additional resources to the monitoring and management of this program in order to gain full compliance.

Town of Estes Park water customers will receive a mailed letter with this information every three months until full compliance is achieved.

 

What is a cross connection?

A cross connection is a connection between a potable water supply and a non-potable source, where a contaminant potentially could enter the drinking water supply. Cross connections should be protected by a valve called a backflow prevention assembly (BPA).

What is backflow?

Backflow is the reverse flow of water, other liquids or gas into the distribution pipes of a potable water supply from any unintended source. An unfortunate example of backflow occurred in 1979 in Virginia when a routine visit by an extermination company connected highly toxic insecticide chemicals barrels up to the water lines in a homeowner’s residence. The local water company was working on a water main line break and flushed their hydrants to clear the repaired main line. The chemicals were back siphoned into the house and into the city’s water main. Testing of the supply lines showed levels five times higher than safe for consumption for six days after the incident.

What is a backflow prevention assembly (BPA)?

A backflow prevention assembly is a device that allows the water to flow only in one direction and prevent a pipe or device connected to the water supply line to allow water to flow back into the municipal supply system.

What types of BPA does the Town of Estes Park require?

In general, the Town requires Reduced Pressure Zone (RPZ) type backflow prevention assemblies at all commercial, industrial, non-single-family-residential service connections and on irrigation lines. There are some exceptions to this requirement.

What are the requirements for installing BPAs?

The Town regulations require BPAs to be installed after the service connection (water meter) and before any plumbing branches. This is known as “containment” protection, and protects the town’s water supply line from potential contaminants found in a commercial, industrial or multi-family residential facility.

Who does the annual testing of the BPAs?

BPAs must be tested by a certified backflow assembly testing technician, who holds a current certification from either the American Backflow Prevention Association (ABPA) or the American Society of Sanitary Engineering (ASSE).

What if the failed BPA is not repaired and retested or replaced?

Failure to comply with this requirement could result in removing the cross-connection or suspending water service until compliance is achieved.

Why is the Town in violation of regulations from CDPHE?

The Town did not fully meet the required number of tests, surveys and tracking based on the number of BPAs across our system.

What is the Town doing to reach full compliance with the CDPHE regulations?

The Town has allocated significantly more resources including staff and funding, and is working with a specialized vendor that is specifically qualified to assist with the management of this program. We have markedly improved system processes for the monitoring and management of the BPCCCP.  The program is working diligently to regain compliance.

Why do I receive repeated letters from the Town on this topic?

The State of Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) requires that letters be sent to the Town’s water customers every 90 days until full compliance is achieved. We hope to regain full compliance by 2021.

I have an irrigation system, hot tub or other potential hazard installed at my private residence, am I required by the Utilities Department to install a BPA?

At this time, the CDPHE does not require the Town to monitor single-family residences.  In most cases, residential hazards are protected upon installation by the plumbing code. If you know you have an unprotected hazard at your single-family residence, you are strongly encouraged to protect it with a BPA and keep it up to date with annual testing for your own protection within your private plumbing system.

The Town of Estes Park Water Division is committed to providing high quality, safe drinking water to residents and visitors of Estes Park. Recognizing that health and well-being are important and directly related to good water, water quality is monitored closely from the time water first enters the treatment plants to the time it exits a water faucet. It is for these reasons the Water Division has implemented the Cross-Connection and Backflow Control Program.
 
Following is a list,of certified cross-connection control technicians recognized by the State of Colorado to test, inspect and repair backflow devices. These companies have provided the Town of Estes Park Water Division with current copies of certificates, test equipment calibration certifications and certificates of liability insurance. The Town of Estes Park provides this list for convenience and does not imply endorsement or assurance of quality of service. As with any business transaction, always ask questions up front and be informed.
                                     
Company / Technician Name Contact Number
Call Mike Plumbing and Heating 970-443-8826
Curtis-Straub Plumbing and Heating/Daniel Ertl 970-586-1758
Ertl Mechanical / Karl Ertl 970-586-0265
Estes Valley Cross Connection 970-980-8626
Everest Mechanical 970-586-0970
JD's Service Company LLC 970-586-4937
Lind's Plumbing and Heating Inc 970-221-1735
Mountain Valley Plumbing 970-586-1085
Schwab Plumbing 303-586-2810
 
Once the work has been completed on a backflow device, be sure to obtain a copy of the test results and keep it on file for three years. The technician should send a copy to the Water Division. However, if a copy is not received, a second notice will be sent out stating that the required test work still needs to be completed. By retaining a copy of the test results, it will be simple to provide said copy to the Water Division, avoiding the additional cost of having a technician return and test the backflow device again.
 
Please keep in mind that work performed on fire suppression systems by a contractor requires specialized knowledge, certification and registration with the Colorado Department of Public Safety, Division of Fire Safety. In this case, please be sure that any contractor utilized has the proper qualifications.
 
For more information please contact Steve Rusch, Utilities Coordinator at 970-577-3625 or srusch@estes.org.