Backflow Prevention Program
The City of Alamogordo seeks to safeguard public drinking water and protect the health of our customers by maintaining a high level of backflow prevention and cross-connection control.
To protect the system, backflow prevention assemblies are required for all connections that may present a potential source of contamination to the public water system.
Backflow conditions are potentially dangerous but preventable. To comply with the New Mexico Administrative Code 20.7.10, Uniform Plumbing Code (Chapter 6), and the City of Alamogordo Code of Ordinances / Chapter 8 Article 8-08 - Cross Connections , Prevention and Control, property owners must do the following to prevent backflow.
- Isolate your water system from the public’s through the elimination of unnecessary cross-connections
- Protect cross connections that cannot be eliminated with an approved backflow prevention device or assembly
- Conduct annual testing of backflow prevention assemblies on your property using testers that are on the City of Alamogordo Certified Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester List. Tests will not be accepted by testers who are not on the list.
Test results will only be accepted from Backflow Testers who have attended a 40-hour training course on Backflow Prevention Assemblies with a certificate of completion and City of Alamogordo Business License.
If you are a Backflow Tester and would like to be added to the Certified Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester List, please fill out the application form. You are required to resubmit any time you have a change in your contact information.
Requirements for certification
Certification. No person shall engage in any activity listed in this section unless he or she is a certified backflow repairman or tester, holds a current certificate issued by the city, and is on the list of certified contractors to perform such acts. Certified backflow repairmen must also be licensed in accordance with the New Mexico Construction Industries Licensing Act and produce proof to the city's planning and zoning division in order to be added to the list.
Initial certification. To initially certify as a backflow prevention assembly tester, a person shall attend a forty-hour training course that has been approved by the planning and zoning division, and the person must successfully complete the written and performance examinations administered as part of the approved training course. A person who is employed by the appropriately licensed contractor in accordance with the New Mexico Construction Licensing Act, attends, and successfully completes the approved training course may be certified as a backflow prevention assembly repairman. The planning and zoning division will issue a certificate and add to the city's list of qualified contractors any person who meets the above requirements.
The City of Alamogordo maintains a Certified Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester List. This list represents companies the City of Alamogordo approved to provide backflow testing.
- I received a letter saying my annual backflow test is due. What do I need to do?
Contact a Backflow Tester from our List of Approved Backflow Testers and schedule a test. Provide a copy of the letter to your Tester. After completing the test, the Tester will submit the results to the City of Alamogordo Utilities Department.
- Why are backflow preventers tested annually?
Backflow prevention assemblies have internal seals, springs, and moving parts that are susceptible to wear and failure. Annual testing ensures they are functioning properly and protecting our public water system.
- Do Backflow Testers work for City of Alamogordo Utilities Department?
Yes, however, we require you to utilize independent private contractors. The City of Alamogordo Utilities Department does not install or test backflow preventers. We only inspect them. We do require backflow tests to be performed by Testers on our List of Approved Backflow Testers.
- How do I know if I need to install a backflow preventer?
Residential customers are only required to install a backflow preventer if the home has an in-ground irrigation system, well, or pool. It is the customer's responsibility to notify us if an irrigation system, well, or pool is installed. Backflow requirements vary for commercial customers based on the business's water use. Our staff reviews newly established commercial water accounts to assess the degree of backflow hazard and notifies businesses about backflow requirements.
- What is backflow?
Backflow is the reversal of the normal flow of water. It's caused by pressure differences and can allow contaminants from an irrigation system, boiler, or other sources to enter a home or building's plumbing system or the public water supply. Backflow prevention devices protect plumbing systems and our public water supply by preventing backflow.
- What is a cross connection?
A cross-connection is a link between a potable water system and a non-potable water system, in our case, the City of Alamogordo's public water lines and our customers’ private plumbing systems. Backflow can occur through cross-connections.
- What causes backflow?
A sudden drop in water pressure in our public system can cause backflow. Backpressure can also cause backflow. Backpressure occurs when a building's plumbing system has higher pressure than the public water supply. Both situations can allow water and contaminants from a private plumbing system to reverse flow into the public supply, potentially contaminating the water for other users. Backflow preventers keep this from happening.
- How does City of Alamogordo Water System prevent backflow?
Since 1999, the City has installed residential dual check valves on every residential water service. We also require customers whose water use presents a backflow hazard to install and annually test a backflow prevention assembly according to our specifications.
- What can I do to protect my home plumbing system from backflow?
Install a hose-bib vacuum breaker on each of your outside water spigots. These devices will prevent water from being back-siphoned from a hose or irrigation system into your home's plumbing. Hose-bib vacuum breakers are inexpensive and available at hardware stores.
- What is the backflow administration fee?
This annual fee is assessed on each backflow prevention assembly to offset the cost of maintaining our backflow prevention program. Residential irrigation customers are exempt from this fee.
- A backflow preventer was already installed when I moved into this commercial space, but I don't think I need it. What should I do?
Different customers present different backflow hazards, even at the same location. If your water use is different from the last customer, contact us to schedule an assessment.
- I'm a renter, why did I receive a letter about the backflow preventer?
Compliance with our backflow requirements is the responsibility of the water account holder. If you are renting a commercial space, your landlord or property management company may agree to take care of the backflow installation and/or annual testing, but it is ultimately the account holder's responsibility.
- I received a letter saying I need to install a backflow preventer. How do I do that?
We recommend contacting a licensed plumber. You can install it yourself, but it must be installed according to our specifications, and the Utilities Department will inspect it after installation. If you hire someone to install it, provide them with a copy of the letter. After completing the install, contact a Backflow Tester from our List of Approved Backflow Testers and schedule a test. Provide a copy of the letter to your Tester. After completing the test, the Tester will submit the results to the City of Alamogordo Utilities Department.
- Examples of common sources of cross connection hazards are listed below (this is not intended to be a complete list):
Agriculture/Farming Operations/Processing Facilities · Air Conditioning Cooling Towers · Aircraft Modification and Storage Facilities · Airports and Airlines · Apartments, Condominiums, (Bidets, Cooling Towers, Chillers, Boilers, Laundry Machines, Pools, Blow Offs) · Asphalt Plants · Aspirators · Auto Garages · Autoclaves and Sanitizers · Automotive Dealers/Plants · Automotive Radiator Shops Automotive Paint, Body Repair Facilities · Automotive Repair Facilities · Autopsy Facilities · Baking Facility · Beauty Salon, Barber Shops, Beauty Parlors, Beauty and Baber Schools · Blood/Plasma Collection Facilities · Breweries · Butchers · Car Wash · Car and Truck Wash Facilities including Detail Services · Cellar drains of the water ejector type (Water Powered) · Cemetery (Excluding Office Facilities) · Chemical Plants (Processing, Manufacturing, Compounding, Treatment) · Chemical Storage Facilities Church/Religious Facilities (Baptisteries and Kitchens) · Coin/Card-Operated Laundries · Community Facilities · Compressed Gas Handling and Storage Facilities · Concrete Mixing Plants · Convenience Stores (with Gasoline and Food Facilities) · Crime Laboratories · Day Care Facilities (with Food Processing) · Dental Facilities/Laboratories/Buddy Systems · Doctors’ Offices and Clinics · Dry Cleaners (Commercial, excluding Drop off Facilities) · Embalming · Equipment using Water Producing Pressure · Exterminating Companies · Facilities using Water in Manufacturing/Processing · Farms and Feedlot Operations/Hog Farm · Fertilizers Plants, (Liquid and Spray Distributors) · Film Processing Facilities (including One Hour Processing) · Food and Beverage Processing Facilities · Fire Sprinkler Systems · Fuel/Oil Handling or Processing Facilities · Funeral Homes/Parlors, Morgues and Mortuaries · Gardening/Horticulture, Composting · Gas Stations (and/or Mini Marts with Soda Dispensing Machines or Coffee Lines) · Grease Traps/Sewage Ejectors/Degreasing Equipment/ Garbage Grinders · Grocery Stores (Raw Meat and Hazardous Waste Processing or Storage Facilities · Health Care Facilities/Dockside Facilities Health Clubs, Fitness Centers and Spas · Heat Exchangers/Solar Heating System · Home Improvement Stores · Hospitals, Dialysis Centers · Hotels and Motels · Ice Processing and/or Manufacturing Facilities · Incineration Facilities · Irrigation Systems (Planting, Agricultural and Lawn) · Jails and Penal Institutions · Kennels and Pet Facilities (Animal Hospitals and Clinics) · Laboratories and Research Facilities (Industrial, Commercial, Medical Research Schools/Colleges) · Laundries/Laundromats (Commercial, excluding Drop off Facilities) · Livestock and Animal Holding Facilities · Lumber Yards/Processing Facilities · Meat Markets and/or Meat Processing Facilities · Medical Facilities/Offices/Labs (that administer medication), Plasma Centers · Metal Manufacturing, Plating Etching, Anodizing, Passivation or Pickling Plants · Mobile Homes (Trailers)/RV Parks or Campgrounds · Nail Salon · Nursery, Shrubbery or Garden Centers and Greenhouses · Nursing Homes/Convalescent (Rehabilitation) Homes · Paper and Paper Product Plants · Pesticides, Weedicides, Herbicides, Distributors, Processors, Applicators · Pharmacy/Drug Store · Petroleum Processing and Storage Plants · Poultry Operations · Power Plants (Electrical Facilities) · Premises with Industrial Piping Systems or Auxiliary Water Supplies/Restricted Inspections · Printing Facilities (Excluding Copy Centers) · Private Wells · Propane, Butane Gas Handling Facility · Radioactive Material Plants and Handling Facilities · Railroad Yards · Rain Water (Capture and Use) Systems · Recreational Areas (Swimming Pools/Water Slides/Flume) · Restaurants (all types), and Food Handlers · Retirement/Assisted Living Centers · Sand and/or Gravel Processing Plants · Schools with Athletics Facilities, Labs, Kitchen, Pool, Spas · Shopping Centers/Malls//Strip Malls · Soda Dispensing Machine (Vending Machine) · Stable for Horses/Dockside Farm · Steel Processing Facilities · Storage Facilities with Hazardous Materials/Scrap · Supermarkets · Swimming Pools (Including Multi-Tenant Facilities), Ponds and Fountains and Water Slides/Bath House · Tattoo/Piercing Parlors · Taxidermist · Urinals (Siphon jet blowout), Trough Urinals · Vending Machines · Vegetable Processing Facilities · Veterinary Clinics/Offices/Labs · Waterhouse Facilities with hazardous materials (Toxic Chemicals, etc.)