Stoughton Utilities tests our residential water meters on a rotating ten year cycle, as required by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC)
. You will receive a letter in the mail when your water meter is due to be tested.
While replacing the water meter, SU personnel will also inspect your water system for potential cross-connections that could possibly contaminate the water distribution system. Some examples of water connections that will be checked are sinks, toilets, laundry tubs, outside hose bibs, boilers, and water softeners. Site inspection, as well as correction of any cross connections identified, is mandated by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Did you know?
Your drinking water can become contaminated if connections to your plumbing system are not properly protected. The purpose of Stoughton's Cross-Connection Control Program is to ensure everyone in the community has safe, clean drinking water by eliminating points of possible contamination. When you turn on your faucet, you expect the water to be as safe as when it left Stoughton's wells or towers. However, certain hydraulic conditions left unprotected within your plumbing system may allow hazardous substances to contaminate your own drinking water or even the public water supply.
What is a cross-connection?
A cross-connection is defined as an actual or potential connection between a potable (safe to drink) water supply and a non-potable (unsafe to drink) source, where it is possible for a dangerous contaminant to enter the drinking water supply.
How are cross-connections controlled?
Control of cross-connections can be achieved through thorough knowledge, education, and system improvements. State plumbing codes require approved backflow prevention methods to be installed at every point of potable water connection and use. Cross-connections must be properly protected or eliminated.
How does contamination occur?
Water normally flows in one direction -- from the street and out of your tap. However, under certain conditions, water can actually flow backwards and into your tap -- this is known as backflow
. There are two situations that can cause water to flow backward: back siphonage and back pressure.
- Back Siphonage: May occur due to a loss of pressure in the municipal water system. This creates a siphon in your plumbing system which can draw water out of a sink or bucket and back into your plumbing system, or even the public water system. Events that may cause backsiphonage include a fire-fighting emergency with heavy use by the fire department, an unexpected water main break, or a scheduled system repair.
- Back Pressure: May be created when a source of pressure (such as a boiler) creates a pressure greater than the pressure supplied by the public water system. This may cause contaminated water to be pushed into your plumbing system through an unprotected cross-connection.
What should I do?
When Stoughton Utilities is at your home to change out your water meter, the service technician will also perform a quick inspection of your household plumbing system. Upon completion of the inspection, you will be provided with a listing of potential cross-connection sources, as well as details of any preventative action that must be taken.
Please note that Stoughton Utilities personnel will need access to the location of your water meter, typically located in the basement, as well as unimpeded access to the meter itself. If necessary, please clear a path to the meter, as well as remove all obstacles and objects surrounding it, prior to the technician's arrival.
How much will this cost me?
There is no fee for this inspection. However, any costs associated with the replacement, modification, installation, and/or testing of backflow prevention assemblies is the responsibility of the property owner/manager. Some modifications may be purchased at local hardware stores and installed by the homeowner without the need for a plumber. Since every home is different, and every homeowner has a varying level of "do it yourself" knowledge, no general cost estimate can be provided.
How do I schedule my inspection?
For your convenience, you can schedule an appointment online. If you provide an email address, you will also receive appointment reminders, as well as the ability to reschedule if a conflict comes up.
If you prefer, you can also contact us
to schedule an appointment with a SU employee, as well as get any questions answered that you may have.
The meter changeout and cross-connection inspection will take approximately 30-minutes.
How does Stoughton Utilities ensure compliance?
We are required to have an inspection and remediation plan within our cross-connection control policy. If potention sources of cross-connection contamination are found during the initial inspection, the property owner will be provided with details and information on what actions need to be taken. Once the property owner has completed remediation measures, they will need to schedule a follow-up inspection where a SU technician will verify that the property is now in compliance.
If no follow-up inspection is made within 30-days, SU will contact the property-owner to remind them of the work that needs to be completed, and the requirement for a follow-up inspection. If the property-owner refuses to bring their water system into compliance, municipal water service to the property may be disconnected in order to mitigate the threat to the safety of the public water system.