FAQs

What are some examples of hazards at my home that could contaminate the drinking water system?

Irrigation systems, hose bibs, boilers, radiant heat systems, wells, docks, ponds, fountains, pressure boosting systems, pools, spas, graywater systems, rain water collection systems, reclaimed water, and solar heating systems are just a few examples of hazards that could contaminate the drinking water system.

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What is a backflow prevention device and which one is best to install?

Backflow prevention in a drinking water system is an in-line assembly that is used to keep undesirable water from entering the drinking water system during a backflow event. Your plumber will be able to assist you with the correct device for your system.  Generally, for residential water systems, a non-testable dual check valve assembly is adequate. 

DEVICE TYPE TABLE BASED ON WATER USE AND DEGREE OF HAZARD

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Does having a backflow preventer at my meter mean that my home/business is protected?

No. Having a backflow preventer installed at your meter only protects the public water system. There may be unprotected cross-connection issues within your property. Contact your plumber to discuss other preventative measures you can take to further protect your property from backflows. 

Will installing a backflow preventer affect the water pressure in my home?

Possibly. It depends on the location of the assembly, the type of assembly installed, and the amount of water flowing through the assembly.

Why are you updating your Cross Connection Control Program now?

The State of Maine requires that all public drinking water suppliers maintain a cross connection control program and update it every 5 years.  During the recent update, PWD aligned its program with stricter EPA’s guidelines to further protect public safety

What is the cost of backflow prevention devices?

Costs vary from a basic residential backflow preventer to a more complex commercial systems. It is best to contact your plumber and get a quote before work begins. 

If I have a grandfathered fire sprinkler system, do I have to install a backflow preventer right away?

No.  Grandfathered fire sprinkler systems are required to install backflow prevention devices when the systems are upgraded or redevelopment to the property occurs. 

What are substantial renovations?

Substantial renovations are defined as renovations where a building’s plumbing system, including the water service to the building is removed, replaced, or expanded.  Renovations need not involve major structural changes to be considered substantial by the District.

What if I choose not to install a backflow device?

If the Cross Connection Control Program indicates that a property needs a backflow prevention device in order to protect public health, a backflow prevention device will need to be installed in order for the property to continue to be served by PWD. Failure to comply with the PWD Cross Connection Control Program may result in a delay of new service activation or suspension of existing service.  

What is an autoclave and how does it sterilize bottles?

In line with our values to protect the environment through stewardship and action, our lab reuses microbiological sample bottles from our most frequent testing program!  In fact this procedure reduces our plastic waste by over 2,000 bottles a year!!  Staff thoroughly cleans bottles with soap and water and autoclaves them for sterilization.  Autoclaving prepares the bottle for re-use by killing any bacteria that may be in the bottle. 

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