Water runs through the pipes of the Macon Water Authority’s distribution system in one direction, but backflow occurs when water begins to run in the opposite direction.
Backflow can be one of the greatest threats to the safety and integrity of local water systems. For that reason, the MWA has implemented a Backflow Prevention Program (BPP) to prevent potentially hazardous cross-connections (any actual or potential connection between the public water supply and a source of contamination or pollution) to the public water system.
Backflow issues can be caused by construction damage to existing water mains, sudden interruptions in the operation of water production facilities, natural disasters, or other emergencies.
How the MWA Prevents Backflow
Currently, the MWA requires all new commercial and industrial facilities and all irrigation systems to have an approved backflow prevention device installed on the customer side of the meter. This is done to prevent a cross-connection from customers to the public water system. The goal of the BPP is to retrofit the meters of commercial, industrial, and institutional customers of the MWA.
The MWA backflow prevention program is modeled after the Georgia Rules for Safe Drinking Water, which requires public water suppliers such as the MWA to implement a BPP to prevent potentially hazardous material from contaminating the public water system through cross-connections.
The MWA Backflow Prevention Program – Then and Now
The BPP efforts began in earnest after an industry audit in September of 2003, revealed that only 3% of local businesses had adequate backflow protection. Since the backflow program’s inception at the MWA, that number has risen to 93%. Following the audit, the MWA also created a Backflow Prevention Manual, approved by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) in March of 2004.
As part of that program, all new businesses must install backflow prevention devices as part of their new construction.
The Macon-Bibb Planning & Zoning Department also requires all existing structures to obtain approval from the MWA before the issuance of any permits. This approval ensures that all existing structures have an operable Backflow Prevention Device installed behind the existing water meter. Older businesses that do not have the devices must have them installed to meet current and future code requirements.
All businesses that have existing backflow prevention devices installed must have them tested annually (within thirty days of the renewal date) by a certified backflow prevention tester.
State Certified Backflow Testers
Customers can read the MWA Backflow Prevention Manual for more details and to view a list of Certified Backflow Testers in Macon-Bibb County and the surrounding areas for assistance.