Cross Connection Control / Backflow

Information for Residential Customers:

Letters are sent out to residential customers with known backflow assemblies on an annual basis. The City's plumbing code requires a backflow assembly on all landscape irrigation systems, fire suppression, wells, swimming pools, hot tubs, and any other potential hazard.

A backflow assembly is a device that prevents impurities or contaminants from being drawn into the drinking water system. Many sprinkler systems already have the proper backflow assembly installed and need only to be tested annually. Others may not meet state and local regulations and may need to be replaced with the proper backflow assemblies.

State certified Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester (BPAT), available through your local irrigation or plumbing company can determine whether or not your equipment meets the requirements. The regulations also require a state certified BPAT to test the backflow preventer annually.

Click here to find a BPAT registered to work in the City of Alpine.

What is a Cross Connection?

A cross connection is a connection between a potable drinking water supply and a possible source of contamination or pollution. Under the provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1971, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established national standards for safe drinking water. Each state is required to enforce the various regulations of the Safe Drinking Water Act and how it relates to its state laws. 
To meet these provisions, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) on January 1, 1996, enacted a state law which requires the public water suppliers to implement and enforce the Cross Connection Control Program requirements located in the Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Title 30, Chapter 290 of the Rules and Regulations for Public Water Suppliers. 

What is Backflow?

Backflow is the undesirable reversal of flow in a potable water distribution system. Water that is always under pressure can only flow in one direction. Then how can water flow in reverse? Water will always flow towards the point of lowest pressure. If a water main were to break or if the fire department opened several fire hydrants to help fight a fire, the pressure in the water main could drop. The demand upstream could cause a reversal in flow. 

Cross connections and the possibility of backflow need to be recognized so they do not occur. A garden hose submerged in a hot tub, swimming pool, car radiator or attached to an insect/fertilizer sprayer could siphon the liquid back into the water main. Water from an irrigation system could be siphoned back into the public water supply.

Backflow prevention assemblies are designed to protect the public water system from these types of concerns. 

Information for Testers/Installers:

 Testing of Backflow Prevention Assemblies

All backflow protection assemblies must be tested upon installation, replacement, repair or relocation.  The City of Alpine adopted the 2021 International Plumbing Code, which requires every backflow assembly to be tested annually. 

The City of Alpine has chosen to partner with the Envirotrax® system to allow for the online submission of Backflow Prevention Assembly Test and Maintenance Reports.  All testing information will be entered directly by the tester into the online password protected Envirotrax® system.  Testers will no longer be able to submit paper test reports directly to the city.

For frequently asked questions, including whether your facility is required to have a backflow device installed, please see TCEQ Backflow Information and FAQs.


Becoming a Registered Tester

All Backflow Prevention Assembly Testers (BPATs) are required to register with the Envirotrax® system.  Upon registration and verification of license, and test gauge accuracy, the tester will be added to the approved list of Backflow Prevention Assembly Testers.


Note:  Backflow prevention assemblies on fire protection sprinkler systems are required by the State Fire Marshal to be tested and/or repaired by a BPAT who is a full‐time employee of a fire protection sprinkler company that is licensed with the State Fire Marshal's Office.

Click here to download a Quick Start Guide with information on how to become a registered BPAT.