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Placid to implement water backflow prevention program

LAKE PLACID — This village’s water department will approach commercial property owners who need to implement a cross-connection and backflow control program for their water systems after Lake Placid trustees unanimously passed a mandatory prevention program Monday evening.

The village is ready to implement this program as the state Department of Health has indicated to the village that it is satisfied with the cross-connection control program the village drafted in June. For about the past decade, the village had been in minor violation with the DOH for not having the program and for violations remaining with individual water users who do not have programs in place to prevent anything other than potable water from mixing with what people drink.

A cross-connection is between a potable water system and a non-potable one, such as for cooling or irrigation. Cross-connection programs can help protect public water systems against backflow, the undesirable reversal of non-potable water or other substances into the piping of a potable water system.

Speaking at Monday’s regularly scheduled meeting, Lake Placid Mayor Craig Randall said the code enforcement office will manage the program. The time period for individual properties to install the proper prevention devices could be between 90 days or up to 24 months, depending on the property. The mandate does not apply to single and two-family residences.

Randall said the required prevention devices will be installed, maintained and tested annually at the expense of each water user. The village will also require record keeping, including denoting if and when the required mandates and accompanying testing are not completed on a regular basis. Randall said for various water customers with various different situations there are a variety of backflow preventers depending on the size of the water lines, their individual applications and the types of associated risks.

Sewage and wastewater treatment plants, breweries, food processors, hospitals, veterinarians, laundries and commercial car washes are some of the commercial water users that could be affected, Randall noted. He and village Trustee Peter Holderied said they are particularly concerned with wet sprinkler systems, the predominant sprinkler system at commercial properties throughout the village.

“This is very important,” Holderied said of instituting the program overall.

“A wet sprinkler system,” he later added, “the water in the pipes turns to this black sludgy stuff. And if we lose water pressure because of a fire, and you don’t have cross prevention, that nasty water can go into a water system and contaminate it.”

Lake Placid lake is the source for the village’s drinking water, with a 24-inch-diameter intake located about 340 feet from shoreline at a depth of 37 feet. Gravity pulls the water to a 13,000-gallon raw water storage reservoir located under the village’s filtration plant on George and Bliss Lane

The village had indicated to the DOH over several years that it was working on a cross-connection control program. Last August, the DOH said the village had failed to prepare and implement one.