Water/Sewer Division

Cross Connection Information and FAQs

 Backflow Prevention
The City of Norfolk is committed to delivering safe, high quality water to its customers. Our extensive water quality program operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to ensure that the water delivered to our customers is kept free from harmful contaminants.

An important part of our water quality program is the backflow prevention program. When a water line is connected to equipment containing a nonpotable substance, this is known as a cross-connection. Contamination may occur when water flows through a cross-connection from a nonpotable source, such as a swimming pool or heating and cooling system, into the potable water system. This can happen through a process known as backflow.

There are more than 500 backflow prevention assemblies on water services in the City of Norfolk service area. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services requires each of these assemblies to be tested annually. This testing is done by certified testers who have completed and passed a course of study approved by the State.

To learn more about Norfolk’s Backflow Prevention program, call (402) 844-2210.

Si usted desea información en Español, por favor, llame (402) 844-2210.

 What is backflow?                        

Norfolk's water system is designed to keep the water flowing from our distribution system to you, the customer. When hydraulic conditions within NORFOLK deviate from "normal", the direction of the water flow can be reversed. This creates a backflow condition and the potential for contaminated water entering the distribution system.

How can backflow occur?                                              

Backflow can occur two different ways, by backsiphonage and backpressure.

What is backsiphonage?                               

When there is a sudden reduction in the water pressure in the distribution system, such as during  fire fighting or when a water main breaks, water flow can be reversed. This can create a suction effect, drawing potential contaminates into the potable water distribution system.

 What is backpressure?                                   

Backpressure is created when pressure in a nonpotable system, such as in a recirculating system containing acid, or antifreeze, exceeds the pressure in the potable system providing the make-up water. This can force the potable water to reverse its direction of flow through the cross-connection between the two systems. Potential contaminates can then enter the potable water system.

How can backflow be prevented?                              

NORFOLK recognizes four methods of backflow prevention:                                                       

Air Gap                                     
Double Check Valve Assembly                                                             
Reduced Pressure Principal Assembly                                                           
Pressure Vacuum Breaker Assembly       

What is a backflow prevention assembly?                 

A backflow prevention assembly is an approved, testable assembly which uses valves, in different configurations, to prevent potential contaminates from flowing into the potable water system.

How is an assembly approved?                

An approved backflow prevention assembly has gone through an approval process at the Foundation for Hydraulic Research and Cross-Connection Control at the University of Southern California. This is a two-step process consisting of laboratory tests and a twelve-month field test. Only assemblies successfully completing the entire testing procedure are recognized by NORFOLK as approved backflow prevention assemblies.

Who is required to have a backflow prevention assembly?                                                

Federal and State law requires that water suppliers protect their water systems from contamination. When a determination is made by NORFOLK that the potable water system may be subject to contamination through a backflow condition. NORFOLK makes these decisions on a case-by-case basis. Residential, commercial, and industrial customers, which meet the criteria in City Ordinance Section 26 and Nebraska Health and Human Service Regulation Chapter 22 must install and maintain backflow prevention assemblies.

How do I know if I need a backflow prevention assembly?                                       

A NORFOLK employee will visit your property to do an evaluation for backflow requirements. The employee will leave or mail a "Notice of Compliance or Non-Compliance Backflow Prevention Inspection Report". This report will outline the actions you need to take.

Who is responsible for the testing and maintenance of the backflow prevention assembly?                                           

It is the responsibility of the customer to ensure that the backflow prevention assembly is in proper operating condition at all times. Backflow prevention assemblies must be tested annually. NORFOLK sends notices to customers reminding them when the annual test is due. The customer must contact an approved certified tester to perform the test. If any repair work or maintenance is performed on the assembly, a certified tester must retest the assembly immediately and submit the test results to City of Norfolk. 

If I have questions about backflow prevention, who do I contact?

                City of Norfolk Water
                300 S 49th Street 
                Norfolk Ne 68701
                (402) 844 2210