The Painesville Water Division has a comprehensive backflow prevention program for it's customers. Backflow is the unwanted flow of water in the reverse direction in a piping system. Backflow can flow water or other liquids, mixtures or substances into the distribution pipes of a potable water supply which can be a serious health risk for the contamination of potable water. For this reason, the City of Painesville mandates backflow prevention devices to prevent backflow issues.


Why are Backflow Devices Important

A backflow prevention device is used to protect potable water supplies from contamination due to backflow. Once the potable water passes through your meter into/onto your home, facility or premise, the water is yours to use as you see fit and the backflow device will protect all other users of our system, just as their device protects your water supply.


While backflow and cross connections (an arrangement whereby backflow can occur) are not new, they are more strictly covered by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under sections 3745–3795 of the Ohio Administrative Code. Locally in the Painesville Water Division system, backflow is covered by ordinance number 933.22 titled “cross-connection control."


Approved Backflow Devices

Under this ordinance, the Painesville Water Division has deemed that all commercial/industrial facilities are in need of a approved backflow device, including some residential sites which may be required to have some sort of protection based on a site survey. This survey is done for all new water connections and may be conducted at an existing site by the Painesville Water Division. Devices that may be required by this survey are as follows:

  • Air-Gap Separation - A complete physical separation of piping (water free falls from incoming line to users needs). Considered the best form of protection and not usually needed.
  • Double Check Valve Assembly - Two single independently acting check valves used where incoming pressure is a concern and the degree of hazard is deemed by survey to be low.
  • Double Check Detector Check – The same as double check but designed to be line size for fire protection only with a small bypass line and meter to detect fire flow, line leakage or unauthorized use.
  • Reduced Pressure Backflow Prevention Assembly - Two independently acting check valves operating in a series and automatic relief valve. Second only to air-gap in protection and used wherever there is another water source on site, or the ability for your site to generate greater pressure than is being delivered to you.
  • Reduced Pressure Detector Assembly - Same as above, but used on dedicated fire protection system that uses additives in the system or the site as an auxiliary water source.
  • Pressure Vacuum Breaker - Utilizes spring loading to actuate the valve when a problem is detected, used in all irrigation systems using “pop up” heads.
  • Low Suction Cut off Controller - Senses low incoming pressure and shuts off any and all booster pumps on your site. Used where you have demonstrated a need to have constant pressure greater than is provided to your site and approved by the water division.


Any and all devices that are needed will be required to be tested at time of installation and yearly thereafter by a Department of Commerce certified tester. As a courtesy, we have posted a list of approved testers in the Painesville area. Please feel free to use any of these or any other approved tester of your choice. We have also posted a City of Painesville test form that must be used and returned to the City of Painesville Water Division.


In addition, under the same mentioned ordinances, we reserve the right to on request perform additional on site surveys. Please feel free to contact Todd Livengood at the Painesville Water Plant at 440-392-2975 or the general Painesville Water Plant line at 440-392-9565.