Doing Your Part in Cross Connection Control

Cross Connection Control blog

Do you have any of these on your property?

  • Lawn irrigation system
  • Swimming pool
  • Hot tub / jacuzzi tub
  • Decorative fountain
  • Fire sprinkler system
  • Water makeup lines (that supply a boiler or hydronic heating)
  • Livestock watering system
  • Hydraulic boat lift

If you answered “yes” to any of the above, we’re hoping the term “Cross Connection Control” is already familiar to you. If not, read on…

North City Water District takes pride in providing safe, high quality drinking water to our community. However water safety is a two-way street: even though the water that reaches your home or business is pure and clean, contamination can occur within your own piping system. Part of our job is to prevent these types of contamination hazards from escaping back into the public water system. We do that through Cross Connection Control.

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What’s a Cross Connection?

A cross connection is any point in a plumbing system where the potable water supply is connected to a non-potable source. If an unexpected “backflow” occurs (the unwanted flow of non-potable substances back into the consumer’s plumbing system and/or public water system), pollutants or contaminants can enter the drinking water system through uncontrolled cross connections.

The only way to prevent this from happening is by installing and maintaining a Backflow Prevention Device.

There are two types of backflow:

  • Back-siphonage: this is caused by a negative pressure in the supply line to a facility or plumbing fixture. Backsiphonage may occur during waterline breaks, when repairs are made to the waterlines, when shutting off the water supply, etc.
  • Back-pressure: this can occur when the potable water supply is connected to another system operating at a higher pressure, or with the ability to create pressure—including booster pumps, pressure vessels, and elevated plumbing.

The risk of contaminated water escaping into the overall water system due to cross connection is a very important health concern. So important in fact, that the State Health Department has established rules that require water purveyors (including North City Water District) to identify any and all potential cross connection hazards within our water system, and take appropriate action to protect against these hazards.

How Do We Prevent Cross Connection Hazards?

The best way to identify and prevent potential cross connection hazards is by working with you, the water user, to ensure that a mechanical Backflow Prevention Device (such as the one pictured above) is properly installed (according to stringent installation requirements), in order to prevent backflow from happening at cross connection points. The District is changing our software and will be contacting everyone on record with a backflow device.

In short, if you have any of the items listed at the top of this article, if you are a business of (most) any kind, or if you raise farm animals, you are required to:

  1. Have backflow prevention in place;
  2. Have a state certified Backflow Assembly Test performed on your Backflow Device assembly each year; and
  3. Send us a copy of your test result.

If you recently purchased your home and are unaware of this device, and/or where it is located on your property, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 206.362.8100.

For a list of certified testers, contact us or visit this website.

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