The City of Santa Barbara’s Water Resources Division spends millions of dollars each year to ensure the safety of our drinking water from contamination and pollution. A vital link in this effort is the city of Santa Barbara’s Cross-Connection Control / Backflow Prevention Program. Water distribution systems are designed so that water flows in one direction from the treatment plant to the customer. Contamination of this water supply may occur through unintentional “backflow”. This undesirable reversal of flow in a drinking water distribution system may introduce objectionable substances into the drinking water line.
Backflow conditions may occur if the drinking water system suddenly loses pressure. For example, if large quantities of water are pulled from the system to fight a fire, or if there was break in the water distribution pipeline there could be a significant loss of pressure.
If backflow conditions occur our water could be contaminated through “cross-connections”. A cross connection is a connection or potential connection between the City’s drinking water and any other system or environment that may contain harmful or objectionable substances that could enter the drinking water system.
Many cross-connections exist on both commercial and residential property. For example, when water enters a residential property through a domestic meter it could provide drinking water as well as serve an irrigation system, fire protection system, pool, spa or ornamental pond. The water distribution system is protected from these hazards with backflow prevention assemblies.
Federal and State laws require Water Purveyors to protect their system from cross-connections and backflow. To do this we work closely with consumers, architects, contractors and engineers to insure that the necessary backflow prevention assemblies are incorporated into project plans, installed correctly and maintained / tested annually.