WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — More than 2,000 Wichita water customers could have their water service disconnected starting in one week. The City says the customers are not complying with a requirement for lawn irrigation systems.

Backflow device (Courtesy: The City of Wichita)

The City of Wichita requires people with lawn irrigation systems hooked up to city water to get an annual test of the system’s backflow device.

As of Tuesday morning, the City says about 2,200 households have not done that, even though the City has sent out multiple notices. The deadline was May 30.

Backflow device

The backflow prevention device ensures water only flows in one direction. If it works properly, it keeps contaminants such as pesticides and fertilizers from flowing back into the City’s water distribution system.

The U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act requires the devices. The Environmental Protection Agency gives the example of a homeowner who did not have a backflow device. The EPA says irrigation water and E. coli flowed back into the public water system, making it unsafe for customers.

The City of Wichita requires property owners to have a licensed contractor test and certify backflow devices each year. The certification for Wichita water customers was due May 30.

Wichita also requires a property owner to have the backflow device rebuilt by a licensed contractor every five years.

Disconnecting a customer’s water

The City says the people who did not get their backflow device tested are scheduled to have their water disconnected. The City is hanging notices on doors this week. Disconnections will begin on Tuesday, Sept. 12.

This only applies to customers who have irrigation systems hooked to City water. It does not apply to people who have sprinklers connected to well water.

What customers can do

For Wichita water customers who have not had their backflow devices tested, the City says it is crucial to take care of it immediately.

The City website lists 100 local companies that are certified to do the test. The companies have agreed to submit results from backflow tests within 10 to 14 days.

The prices vary. KSN News called five companies and got estimates ranging from $60 to $88.

Customers who have scheduled a backflow test can call the water department with the appointment date to avoid the risk of water being shut off.

Click here to learn more about the City’s backflow requirements. Or call 316-219-8916 for information on how to achieve compliance.