Does your Home present a DANGER to your Community?

If you have outside faucets, inside faucets with hoses attached to them (such as a laundry tub), a pressure pump system to increase water pressure in the home, an irrigation system, or a fire sprinkler system and if that system does not have a proper backflow device, then it could possibly cause a contamination of the water system serving your home. These connections are called cross-connections and if we, the Pine Brook Water District, find that your home has a hazardous connection or an improper cross connection, then your water will be turned off until the problem is corrected.


HOW? If the water system losses pressure, for example from a water main break, AND there is not a backflow preventer on the system listed above, then the water or chemicals in these systems can be pulled into the water mains contaminating them.

SO what should you be doing? All outside faucets should have a vacuum breaker on them, this protects the water system and it ALSO protects your home. A vacuum breaker opens when the pressure from the water lines in your home connected to the faucet drop. When this happens the vacuum breaker opens allowing the water to drain out onto the ground instead of being pulled back into your home or back into the water system. Even if you have an older faucet a vacuum breaker can be added and the parts can be purchased at local hardware stores.

Indoor faucets do not normally pose the same hazard as the nozzle on the faucet is higher than the rim of the sink, this is what is called an “air gap”. Since the water in the bowl/sink/tub cannot be filled up to the nozzle on the faucet it cannot be pulled back into the plumbing. HOWEVER if you have a hose or something attached to the faucet that then extends down into the bowl/sink/tub then the “air gap” has been defeated. The best solution is to eliminate the hose or cut it short enough so that it does not extend down into the bowl/sink/tub. If for some reason that is not practicable then add a vacuum breaker.

IRRIGATION and FIRE SPRINKLER systems are required to have special backflow preventers and they are supposed to be tested and checked on a yearly basis. You, as the owner, are responsible for ensuring this is done.

Pressure pump systems to increase the water pressure in your home also must have backflow prevention devices so that no water from the home can be “pumped” or “pressurized” back into the community water system.

Lastly all homes are required by the Pine Brook Water District Rules to have a backflow device when the water first enters the home, most times this is a simple check valve.

So help us help you, by taking the appropriate measures to ensure that your home does not present a danger to your community.



This Policy addresses Article 12 of the Colorado Primary Drinking Water Regulations that states a public water system shall have no uncontrolled cross-connections to a pipe, fixture, or supply, any of which contain water not meeting provisions of the water regulations.

A cross-connection is any point in a water distribution system where chemical, biological, or radiological contaminants may come into contact with potable water. During a backflow event, these contaminants can be drawn or pushed back into the potable water system. A backflow prevention device installed at every point of cross-connection prevents contaminated water from entering the potable water distribution system.

Any hazardous cross-connection discovered to be uncontrolled will be corrected within 10 days or the water service will be shut off. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will be informed of the hazardous connection and the corrective action being taken.

Identification of Potential Cross-Connections 
Per Article 12, the Pine Brook Water District’s operator performed an initial survey of the public water system on May 3, 2004 (revised on March 29, 2013) and identified a list of potentially hazardous cross-connections, prioritized by degree of hazard. This list is included on an attached sheet. From this date forward, any new water service installation will be inspected for compliance with these requirements for backflow prevention.

Public Education 
The Pine Brook Water District will educate system users about the potential health risk that cross-connections pose, with an emphasis on cross-connections at or within homes and other residences.

Installation of Devices 
The Pine Brook Water District will require system users to install and maintain backflow prevention devices on potentially hazardous service connections, as stated in Article 12. All service connections within the water system must comply with Article 12 and the Colorado Cross-Connection Control Manual.

Each cross-connection may require a different type of backflow prevention device, commensurate with the degree of hazard posed by the cross-connection. Approval for the devices needs to be given by the water system operator or the water system engineer.

Annual Testing
Article 12 requires that backflow prevention devices be tested annually by a certified backflow prevention technician. A list of current certified technicians in our area can be obtained from local plumbers or irrigation specialists.

Record Keeping
There are no commercial users in the Pine Brook Water District. All use is for residential properties and therefore the testing and maintenance records are the responsibility of each property owner.

List of Backflow Prevention Devices 
The following approved devices can be used for backflow prevention:

  • Vacuum Breaker

  • Double-check valve assembly

  • Reduced pressure principal backflow assembly

  • Air gap

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment accepts the use of backflow preventers that have received approval by either University of Southern California Foundation of Cross-Connection Control and Hydraulic Research or the American Society of Sanitary Engineers (ASSE).

The following is a list of common cross-connections and devices that may be used to prevent backflow:

Type of Cross-Connection Backflow Device
Hose Bib Vacuum Breaker
Fire sprinkler system Double check valve assembly on water only line. Approved reduced pressure principal backflow assembly on branch lines carrying chemicals.
Photographic processors and developers Reduced pressure principal backflow assembly
Hot water heat systems for residential use Reduced pressure principal backflow assembly
Water hauler tank filling station Air gap

Additional resource: Colorado Cross-Connection Control Manual; Corporate Discount Books, 303-815-4943

We have no commercial users in the Pine Brook Water District. We have only residential users. Our rules and regulations require a backflow prevention device be installed in the house. Since 1994, the Water District has been installing yokes with a built in check valve in new meter pits. We have been installing new yokes with the check valves as the old yokes need replacement. The Water District will send out a mailer to help educate the community about the importance of cross-connection devices and/or will publish an article in the “Pine Brook Press” which is mailed out to all residents of the Pine Brook Water District. This mailer will also be posted to the Pine Brook Water District website:

Potential Cross-Connections Sample List
System Survey conducted by Robert deHaas and Shawn Beauprez Revised March 29, 2013

Potential Cross-Connections In 
Pine Brook Water District

Degree of Hazard: 
Contamination or Health Hazard = High 
Pollution Hazard = Low

Residential fire sprinklers - Low

Residential hot water heating systems - Low

Residential irrigation systems - Low

Residential hose bibs - Low