More than 2,000 Wichita water customers are at risk of getting their service turned off if they don’t test their irrigation system’s backflow.
The city said in a news release Sept. 5 that Wichita water customers with irrigation systems linked to city water, such as sprinkler systems, are required to get their backflow tested. According to the city website, backflow is “the reversal of flow in a water system from the normal or intended direction of flow.”
“It’s a federal requirement that those backflows get tested, and the risk is that if something gets into the contaminant of the backflow it can infect our entire water supply,” city spokesperson Megan Lovely told The Eagle.
Backflow is required to be tested annually.
According to Lovely, as of last Tuesday, the city had 2,200 customers with outstanding tests, even though the deadline was at the end of May. If these customers do not comply with testing, their water will be shut off Tuesday, Sept. 12.
Lovely said the city sends out reminders to customers every year ahead of the deadline, which is always in May.
“Because of the number of customers who were not in compliance last year, we ramped up efforts even more,” Lovely said. “We work with folks, and as long as they get their testing scheduled ... their water can stay on.”
Last year, 333 accounts were shut off, Lovely said.
All customers who are at risk for disconnection will continue to get reminders up to the deadline, including a door hanger a week prior to Sept. 12, according to the city’s news release.
How to get your backflow tested in Wichita
The city has a list of companies on their website qualified to test your system’s backflow.
“Those companies usually expect to get an influx of requests around this time,” Lovely said.
You also have the option of shutting off the backflow yourself.
“If you don’t want to deal with, if you don’t want to pay a company to come out and test your backflow, we have instructions on how to just shut it off,” Lovely said. “Those are the two options that [customers] have.”
If you have questions about testing or the disconnections, you can call 316-219-8916.
This story may be updated.