The 23rd Annual Cross Connection Control Seminar was held October 17, 2018 at the La Quinta Inns and Suites in Tacoma.

Mick Holte, our Group Chair opened the seminar and introduced our speakers and vendors.

Bill Bernier is the Operator Certification and Training Sections Manager with the Washington State Department of Health, Office of Drinking Water. He provided the group with an overview of the cross-connection control portion of the new reclaimed water rule. He discussed the relationship between waste, reclaimed, and potable water systems. He explained the new certification requirements for reclaimed water generators and described resources available to help everyone comply with this rule.

Rachel Neville is the BAT Program Manager from Washington State Certification Services at Green River College. She manages both the BAT Certification and Professional Growth Program for over 1,300 BATs. Rachel provided updates of current information regarding Washington Certification Services and the deadline for the Professional Growth Exam for BAT’s. She explained the Professional Growth Exam – what it is and what you need to do to satisfy it. Testing is at the new Western Washington Testing Location in Auburn. The Renewal process is now online for BATs and Waterworks Operators. This will help expedite the procedure. She explained the Diversity Initiative/Women’s Awards available. (BAT Certification Glass Hammer Award and Glass Ladder Award). See the web site at The BAT “Public List” is now “Hire a BAT” on the website. This list will help consumers find a certified backflow tester.

Sean Cleary is the Vice President of Operations for the IAPMO (International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials) Backflow Prevention Institute. He reviewed the changes in codes and regulations within the cross-connection industry. He presented the new and improved devices and assemblies available today along with the upcoming changes to product and performance standards within approval agencies and code bodies. We looked at the progress and pitfalls the industry has endured over the past several years and what can be done to educate both the industry and the public on the importance of strong, active cross-connection control programs.

Paul Schwartz is the Chief Engineer of the USC Foundation for Cross-Connection Control and Hydraulic Research with responsibility for the Laboratory and Field Evaluation Program. His department oversees the approval process for certifying backflow assemblies. In their laboratory he puts the assembly through multiple tests for breakage of the assembly, pressure loss vs. flow rate, and vertical and horizontal applications. They also test for back siphoning and back pressure at the same time, temperature increases and decreases and cycle tests at various flow rates. He explained the new DCDA-II Type 2 Assemblies with a single check on the bypass. He explained the field testing and how to record the test values on the test reports.

Jim Purzycki is with BAVCO, a wholesale distributor of backflow assembly repair parts. He talked about Backflow Myths. He clarified them and talked about Backflow prevention, Cross Connection responsibilities, the Safe Drinking Water Act and Backflow repairs.

Scott Hallenberg is employed with Tacoma Water and is currently the Operations Manager in the Water Quality section responsible for oversight of the regulatory compliance programs associated with the source water and distribution system. He talked about Backflow Incidents and Response – and how to communicate with customers and the media. When dealing with the Media he suggested the following: Have emergency contact information, have designated media person who is NOT part of working the operations side, educate your organization on who should and should not talk to the media, have social media accounts, get to know your reporters, (reporters want to know who, what, where…) and debrief after the incident. Never point fingers at anyone.

Randy Engle is owner and founder of XC2 Software, providing backflow prevention management software to water purveyors. He showed various methods of submitting backflow test reports online via the web and other options for quickly, efficiently and securely receiving test reports from testing contractors. He talked about the ability to import backflow test results from a spreadsheet, and email options for sending notices. All these solutions are designed to increase efficiency, reduce work load, and provide more up to date record keeping and reporting.

The attendance at the seminar was 130 and was a full house. The comments turned in show everyone enjoyed the seminar, food, hotel accommodations and the friendly atmosphere. A special thank you to all the vendors, who were more than generous with the door prizes and to those that had an ad in our binders. This helps defray the costs to The Group and keeps our attendance fee low.

The next meeting will be held on November 21st at Tacoma Public Utilities, 3628 South 35th Street, Tacoma 98409. This will be the Annual Business Meeting and Elections for 2019. If you are interested in having a seat on the board, plan to attend!