Recently , the enforcement of a 15-year-old law has created headaches for some homeowners Winston-Salem Journal

The letters may appear confusing, and vaguely threatening although they’re not meant to be.

In addition to jargon, words such like “unwanted,” “dangerous” and “hazardous” Yes we recognize that they’re redundant , and citing by numbers in state law is a possibility.

“Per North Administrative Code, 15A NCAC 18C .0406 Backflow prevention assemblies must be put in place on all cross-connections with risky connections to ensure that there is no contamination and to ensure that our water supply is safe,” the letters begin.

Backflow? Contamination? Huh?

And, given that the letters are delivered to Worth, Ill., it’s no surprise that a good portion ends up in the garbage.

A more thorough review coupled with some investigation — suggests that this could result in a costly error which could cause homeowners to pay many hundreds (or many thousands) and plenty of heartburn.

Many are now taking a look at…

All because the state is forcing Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Utilities to start enforcing a 15-year-old state law which requires some homes and businesses tied into municipal water systems to have a working backflow prevention assembly.

Whatever it is that’s.

Homes that are not aware of their surroundings

Perhaps someone in your family knows what a backflow preventive assembly is. Plumbers definitely do.

While I could draw a guess from clues in the context I’d never ever heard of a device like this until a retired member of the homeowners’ association of her condo was contacted by. The woman was not thrilled.

To put it in a mild way.

“Unbeknownst to homeowners of all kinds all people who is connected to water has any kind of irrigation, is required to install one or have it tested every year in the event that they do,” she said on an anonymity basis since her board didn’t have the authority to approve spilling tea. (If you’ve been involved with a homeowner’s association, you’re aware.)

“The law was in place since 2007, but has not been implemented,” she continued. “Now the state cracks the whip, and the documents aren’t up to date. We have just three weeks to complete this in accordance with the letter and could cost us thousands.”

(Backflow protection devices for example are exactly as they sound like (they stop the unintentional reversal of water flow from the user’s water supply back to the supply of water. homeowners who have irrigation systems as well as swimming pools, along with all commercial structures, should be equipped with such devices.)

The challenge for the homeowners’ association started when they received the letter from BSI Online, the private company that was contracted by the utility commission to manage the backflow testing program.

These letters are basically messages that are sent to those customers identified as having backflow protection devices.

The initial issue, according to the homeowner stated the first issue was that her condo was told that they had one, but they did not , and the association was given 30 days to be in compliance.

This caused a scramble to locate a reputable contractor that is now its own supply-and-demand issue, as any homeowner in need of repairs will attest.

And the letters that are currently on the verge of being delivered to up to 255,000 homeowners within Forsyth County — are actually a consequence of the enforcement of an old law that dates back to 15 years.

“As as of January. 1st, 2020, new record-keeping rules for the state went into effect. They require public water systems to comply with the law and maintain an inventory that includes all connections cross-connected (backflow preventative) and publish the annual results of tests within the water supply system.” written Bill Brewer the deputy director for wastewater and water treatment through an email.

Welp. Be assured that everything is not lost.

Making a cut

Utility officials are aware of the way this plays out and have taken action to lessen the stress of putting a deadline that seems almost impossible to address a problem that nobody knew existed.

In the case of an angry condo owner, discover if she was equipped with backflow prevention.

“The state’s requirements require us to keep track of the assemblies that are held,” Brewer wrote. “We occasionally discover that our records aren’t current and this could be an issue in the present instance. If this happens, we update the records and inform the owner of the property of their accountability.”

It could cost hundreds or thousands , depending on the scope of the installation. The process of finding a licensed contractor (the Utilities Commission has a list of 16 approved contractors on its website is a hassle on its own.

To aid the situation, officials have instituted an extension of grace. Find someone to perform the job and inform the commission for utilities be aware. There is no chance of having sewer or water services interrupted.

“We know of the possibility of issues with timing for backflow device testing and installation,” Brewer wrote. “Our mission is to help our customers to achieve compliance. They have contact details so that we can keep informed of their current circumstances.”

For those who want to know who is to blame for a tangled backlog of 15 years in creation, put it to Raleigh along with the less than slow move of the government.

“NC General Assembly amended the rule effective January 1st 2020.” Brewer wrote.