What Is Backflow?
Water systems are designed to flow in one direction. However, a drop in pressure or a break in a water line can send water flowing in the opposite direction - drawing contaminants and other chemicals into our water system. This reversal of flow is called backflow, or back-siphoning. Backflow into our public water system can pollute or contaminate the potable (drinking) water making the water unsafe to drink. The Henry County Water Authority has a responsibility to provide safe drinking water under all foreseeable circumstances.
What Is A Cross Connection?
Each customer connection to our public water system represents a potential cross connection and must be protected in order to prevent backflow into our public system. Installation and maintenance of appropriate backflow prevention devices prevent contamination via cross-connection.
Our Cross Connection Control Program:
Our GIS & Water Loss Department administers our backflow prevention program in accordance with our Cross Connection Control Program Manual.
- Approving the Backflow Prevention Assembly Test Data and Maintenance Report. For directions on how to complete the maintenance report, click here.
- Certifying backflow testers and maintaining an Approved Tester List.
- Each tester must sign and submit the HCWA Approved Tester Code of Conduct and Application before being placed on the HCWA Approved Tester List.
Customer is responsible for having their backflow device(s) installed according to our specifications and tested by an approved tester. HCWA does not install or test commercial backflow devices.
Backflow Prevention/Thermal Expansion Requirements:
Devices can be found at most hardware stores. They are made by a variety of manufacturers, including:
For additional information on backflow prevention and thermal expansion, please refer to the following documents:
If you have any questions regarding the Cross Connection Control Program, please call 770-914-3688 between the hours of 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to Turn Off Water Meter
In case of an emergency, it is important to know the location of the water shut-off valve for your home. If you are unable to locate or operate the shut-off valve in your home, another alternative is to turn off your water meter to your home.
- Screw Driver
- Crescent Wrench
- Curb Stop Key (if available) also known as a T-handle or T-bar
- Locate your water meter. Meters are typically close to the street and have a rectangle-shaped metal or plastic lid.
- Remove the lid from the meter box. A standard screwdriver can be used to help lift the lid.
- On the street side of the meter, locate the oblong knob (as pictured below). This is the main shut-off valve also referred to as the angle stop.
- The angle stop has two loops, one on each side. The middle of the angle stop is marked with an arrow, indicating the direction the water is flowing.
To turn the water off, place the curb stop key over the center of the angle stop. If you do not have access to a curb stop key, you can improvise using a crescent wrench and screwdriver by doing the following:
- Place the jaws of a crescent wrench over the angle stop with the handle sticking up.
- Insert a screwdriver through the hole in the handle of the crescent wrench to create a tee handle.
- Turn the curb stop key, or make-shift tee handle, clockwise until both loops are together, approximately 180 degrees (as pictured below).
If the angle stop has not been operated in a long time, it could be locked up. Whatever you do, DO NOT FORCE THE ANGLE STOP.
Click here for information on How to Detect a Leak.
If it will not turn with a reasonable amount of pressure, please call HCWA at 770-957-6659.
Sewer Line Cleaning
Why does HCWA clean sewer lines?
- Fats, oils, and grease can accumulate and solidify on the ceilings and walls of the pipe causing restriction of flow in the pipe. This can cause sewage backups in your homes and HCWA sewer manholes.
Using high-pressure water nozzles, HCWA cleans sewer mains regularly to help prevent any sewer back-ups or overflows.
Signs will be placed in front of all entrances to your subdivision to provide at least 24-hour notice that the sewer lines in your neighborhood are scheduled for cleaning.
Because a high-pressure cleaning system is used in the pipes to complete this work, water can be displaced out of your toilets during the process. HCWA recommends closing your toilet seats to prevent this from happening in your bathrooms.
If you have any questions or concerns, please call the Henry County Water Authority Sewer Maintenance Department at 678-583-4501.
SINGLE FAMILY TOILET REBATE PROGRAM
The Henry County Water Authority (HCWA) continues to promote wise water use among its customers, providing financial incentives for their participation in the Toilet Rebate Program.
The Authority is reinvesting in the state's Toilet Rebate Program annually through its continual partnership with the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District. When budgeted funds are available, HCWA customers may receive credit on their monthly water bill for upgrading their homes with Ultra High Efficient Toilets (UHET) of 1.1 gallons per flush or less.
First, HCWA customers must go to the Metro North Georgia Water Planning District website for an application to determine which toilets are approved for the rebate. After the customer installs an approved toilet, they must contact the Metro North Georgia Water District to have that installation verified.
The District then notifies the HCWA of approved applicants who have complied with all program requirements.
If customers are in good standing on their HCWA account, they can receive a $75 credit (max of 2 toilets) on an upcoming water bill.
As long as the HCWA is listed on the Metro North Georgia Water District Web site as one of the water systems currently participating in the Toilet Rebate Program, funds will be available to underwrite the rebates for Authority customers. When the budgeted funds are exhausted, the Authority will remove its name from the list, an indication to HCWA customers that rebates are no longer available.
Note: Only homeowners with residences built in 1993 or earlier are eligible for the program, and other qualifications apply as outlined by the Metro North Georgia Water Planning District.
MULTI-FAMILY TOILET REBATE PROGRAM
The Henry County Water Authority (HCWA) continues to promote wise water use among its customers, providing financial incentives for their participation in the Toilet Rebate Program. The Authority has partnered with the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District to participate in the state's Single Family and Multi-Family Toilet Rebate Program.
Multi-family property managers/owners (including apartments, townhome communities, and condominiums) are also invited to participate in a rebate program to replace old, inefficient toilets. Property must be built prior to 1994 for residential use, have a master-metered residential account in good standing and up-to-date on payments, and must replace a minimum of 30 toilets.
When budgeted funds are available, HCWA customers may receive credit on their monthly water bill for upgrading their multi-family units with water-efficient toilets.
Rebates are limited and are issued on a first-come, first-serve basis. When the budgeted funds are exhausted, all interested parties will need to wait until the following year to apply when more funds become available.
For FAQs, eligibility requirements, approved toilets, and to apply online, HCWA customers can contact 404-463-8645, email@example.com, or go directly to the District's Web site at www.northgeorgiawater.com to get started.
Please visit Henry County Recycling for more information about toilet recycling in your area.
Why do we smoke test our sewer lines?
Smoke testing is an important tool used to identify areas in HCWA sewer lines that need repairs or rehabilitation.
- During this process, a section of the sewer line is plugged off and a blower then pumps the “smoke” into a manhole. Crews then look for smoke escaping out of the ground, buildings, manholes, and sewer clean-outs. The crew will flag areas that need further attention and repair.
- If the sewer line is in good condition, the only places smoke should exit are sewer vent pipes. Repairs to internal home plumbing are at the homeowner’s discretion.
Is the smoke harmful to people, pets or plants?
No. The “smoke” is actually a mist that is fruit-scented. This smoke compound is manufactured specifically for this application and is non-toxic and non-staining. It creates no fire hazard.
What should I expect during the smoke test?
If your plumbing is in good condition you should not have smoke enter your house. HCWA recommends that you run water in all your traps for 30 seconds. Sometimes traps on faucets that haven’t been used in a while will allow smoke to enter. This smoke should clear within a few minutes. To dissipate any smoke that may enter your home, open your doors and windows and notify the crews, or call 678-583-4500.
Does HCWA notify people in the area before doing a smoke test?
Signs are placed at the entrance of your subdivision or neighborhood at least 24 hours in advance indicating the dates smoke testing will take place.
If you have any questions or concerns, please call the Henry County Water Authority Sewer Line Maintenance Department at 678-583-4501.
How do I know if my Pressure Reducing Valve is bad?
If you are experiencing any of the issues below, you may want to have a plumber check your PRV.
- Hammering or vibrating pipes
- Higher than normal water pressure
- Diminishing water pressure
- Plumbing leaks
Click here for information on Pressure Reducing Valves (PRV).
UNAUTHORIZED WATER USE
All water being used must flow through a HCWA authorized water meter associated with an active water account that is in good standing. It is expressly illegal for anyone to tap, convert, steal, or utilize water through any fire line, fire hydrant, water main, or other equipment or lines of HCWA without first having established a water account with an associated HCWA authorized water meter.
Any withdrawal of water through HCWA hydrants or other non-standard access points, except for fire-fighting activities by fire department personnel or official use by HCWA personnel, must occur through a hydrant meter provided by HCWA.
Outdoor Water Use
Daily outdoor watering for purposes of planting, growing, managing, or maintaining ground cover, trees, shrubs, or other plants is allowed each day, with the exception of the mid-day hours between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm.
The following outdoor water uses are allowed daily at any time of the day:
- Commercial agricultural operations as defined in Code Section 1-3-3
- Capture and reuse of cooling system condensate or storm water in compliance with applicable local ordinances and state guidelines
- Reuse of gray water in compliance with Code Section 31-3-5.2 and applicable local board of health regulations adopted pursuant thereto
- Use of reclaimed waste water by a designated user from a system permitted by the Environmental Protection Division of the department to provide reclaimed waste water
- Irrigation of personal food gardens
- Irrigation of new and replanted plant, seed, or turf in landscapes, golf courses, or sports turf fields during installation and for a period of 30 days immediately following the date of installation
- Drip irrigation or irrigation using soaker hoses
- Hand watering with a hose with automatic cutoff or handheld container
- Use of water withdrawn from private water wells or surface water by an owner or operator of property if such well or surface water is on said property
- Irrigation of horticultural crops held for sale, resale or installation
- Irrigation of athletic fields, golf courses, or public turf grass recreational areas
- Installation, maintenance, or calibration of irrigation systems
For more information concerning outdoor water use, please visit: http://epd.georgia.gov/outdoor-water-use-information.
Consider the following winterization tips to protect your water lines, exposed pipes, valves, and irrigation systems from freezing, potential water leaks, or pipe bursts:
- Insulate pipes, either with wraps or tapes, making sure to locate all pipes that pass through unheated spaces or areas exposed to the outdoors.
Using wraps (pictured above) to insulate pipes can help prevent them from freezing and bursting during the winter. Such water leaks can cost a lot of money for utility customers.
- Consider adding or supplementing insulation to water heaters.
- Drain irrigation systems, since the tips of sprinkler heads and portions of sprinkler systems often continue to hold water, even when inactive.
- Disconnect garden hoses from all outdoor water faucets, allowing water to drain completely, and store them in a place with consistent (warmer) temperatures.
- If a faucet is not frost-free, find the shut-off valve where the pipe feeds the faucet outside of the home or building and turn it off, prior to opening the outside faucet until it drains completely.
- Winterize air conditioning units as well, by draining all air conditioner pipes and hoses.
- Remove window air conditioning units and insulate those areas accordingly.
- Clean gutters, so winter rains and melting snow can drain.
- When leaving the home or office for an extended period of time, turn the temperature down to 55 degrees – rather than turning the heat completely off – to prevent problems from freezing temperatures.
Should a pipe burst due to freezing or under any other circumstances, always know how to turn off water at the main meter servicing the home or office building.
HOW TO READ YOUR METER
The Henry County Water Authority bills its customers each month based on the water usage registered on each account's meter. Customers often ask how to read their water meter. We hope the "How to Read your Meter" information provided here explains this process.
iPERL Meter: High-performance, Solid-state Smart Water Meter
The iPERL meter contains 9 digits on its digital display, including the 100ths and 10ths at the end. To read this particular meter start with the far left digit and read the digits left to right. This meter reads all the way down to 10th of a gallon, the size is also indicated on the meter: ¾”.
Henry County reads this meter in gallons for billing purpose. If you were to read this meter all the way down to one gallon it would read: 0003,090 gallons.
To check for a loss on this meter:
- Turn off all water within the home
- Watch the last two digits to the right. If these numbers are increasing, water is passing through the meter indicating a loss.
SR III Meter with Intelligent Communications Encoder (ICE): magnetic-drive, positive-displacement meters using an oscillating piston
The meter's design includes: high-quality, low-lead cast bronze main case dual inlet ports a patented bottom plate a streamlined flow pattern built-in leak indicator in the form of a red pointer. There are 8 digits on the SRII Meter with ICE register, including the 100s at the end.
To read this particular meter start with the far left digit and read the digits left to right. This meter reads all the way down to 1 gallon, the size is also indicated on the meter: 5/8”.
Henry County reads this meter in thousand gallons for billing purpose. If you were to read this meter all the way down to one gallon it would read: 0 gallons.
To check for a loss on this meter:
- Turn off all water within the home
- Watch the red pointer (leak indicator) for movement. If it is moving, water is passing through the meter indicating a loss.
SR II Meter: magnetic-drive, positive-displacement meters using an oscillating piston
The meters’ design includes: high-quality, low-lead cast bronze main case, dual inlet ports, a patented bottom plate, a streamlined flow pattern, and built-in leak indicator in the form of a black triangle
There are 7 digits on the SRII Meter, including a stationary zero at the end.
To read this particular meter start with the far left digit and read the digits left to right. This meter reads in thousand gallons indicated by the description under the digits: GALLONS READING 1000G, the size is also indicated on the meter: 5/8”. Its reading for billing purposes would be 834 thousand gallons.
If you were to read this meter all the way down to one gallon it would read: 834,015 gallons. This is achieved by reading left to right and then using the red sweep hand to fill in the stationary zero spot.
To check for a loss on this meter:
- Turn off all water within the home
- Watch the black triangle (leak indicator) for movement. If it is moving, water is passing through the meter indicating a loss.
LOCATING YOUR METER BOX
For Residential Customers: In most cases, the water meter is located at the front of the property near the street underground.
For Commercial Customers: In most cases, the water meter is located at the front of the property or could be located in the back or side of the property, underground. In some cases depending on the size of the commercial property, the meter will be locked underground in a large vault. In these cases, do not attempt to obtain a reading. Please contact the HCWA at 770-957-6659, to obtain a reading of the meter.
When looking at the water meter, locate the white numbers on the right side of the meter dial with the black background. These numbers count the number of gallons of water that have passed through your meter.
DETERMINING YOUR METER USAGE
Use the following example to help read your meter:
- Select a day to take an initial water meter reading.
- Write down the numbers you see on the meter odometer. (For example, the reading is 0260000.)
- After a period of time has passed (such as a day or week), read your meter again. (For example, the new reading is 0263000.)
- Subtract your first reading from the second reading. This is your water usage for that period. (In the example, 0263000 - 0260000 = 3000.)
- The 3000 figure indicates that 3,000 gallons of water have been used during the time period between the two readings.