Inspectors to begin checking residential water lines, will require access to homes

SWARTZ CREEK — Residents in the City of Swartz Creek should expect to receive notices of residential water line inspections within the next few months.

The inspections are required for the city to remain compliant with the rules set forth in the state Safe Drinking Water Act, PA 399 of 1976. The Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy maintains authority over enforcing the act.

Inspectors with Troy-based HydroCorp will make home visits by appointment, and will check the water lines to ensure that contaminants are not backwashing into the drinking water.

Subsequent inspections may occur on a three-year rotation.

Homes with pools, irrigation systems and boilers, where a significant loss of pressure can cause contaminated water to siphon back into the potable water system, will be of particular interest to inspectors.

Inspectors will have a limited number of backflow preventers “to help folks become compliant on the spot,” said City Manager Adam Zettel.

“The point is to inspect and correct,” Zettel said.

The process will require that inspectors go inside of homes, which city officials understand may not sit well with some residents.

“They’re just looking for those features (that could compromise the drinking water),” Zettel said, adding that they also will check to see if homes are compliant with rules regarding lead and copper pipes. “We are hoping folks will work with us.”

In homes where drinking water contamination is possible, those occupants would face the greatest impact, he said.

“So, we hope they would cooperate with the professional consultants,” Zettel said.

Inspectors will try to work with the residents, but as a last-ditch effort, they could seek a court order or water shut-off.

“We have to get in there,” Zettel explained. “The state requires it.”

Periodic inspections of commercial and industrial facilities have taken place for years.

“We’ve had a Cross Connection Control program for many years,” Zettel said. “It’s a routine part of maintaining the distribution system.”

Additional information will be available in the city’s newsletter, which is expected to go out next week.