A cross connection is the physical connection between the potable water system and an end use where a potential contamination hazard exists. Contamination of the potable water system can happen from backflow occurrences through cross connections with private plumbing systems or appurtenances. Backflow is the undesired reverse flow of these contaminants coming into the potable water distribution system.
Our first priority as a company is to ensure the residents of the communities we serve are provided with clean, safe drinking water. An integral component of this is our Cross Connection Control Program, which ensures the proper installation of backflow prevention assemblies to mitigate the hazards of cross connections.
The Cross Connection Control Program is a cooperative effort between plumbing and health officials, water purveyors, property owners and certified testers. Together, we establish and administer guidelines for controlling cross connections, ensure their enforcement and make sure the public potable water supply is protected.
Aquatera’s Cross Connection Control Program helps protect public health by preventing contamination of the public water supply from potential backflow occurrences. For more information, check out our CROSS CONNECTION CONTROL BROCHURE, and our FAQ's and Resources below.
What is the Purpose of the Cross Connection Control Program?
The purpose of the Cross Connection Control Program is to protect Aquatera’s potable water supply, thereby ensuring the health and safety of our customers and communities.
What is a Cross Connection?
A cross connection is a temporary or permanent link between our water system and any potential contaminant. Examples include irrigation and sprinkler systems, heating and cooling systems, and wash basins. It is vital to protect cross connections to prevent backflow into potable water.
What is Backflow?
Backflow is the undesirable reversal of water flow in a drinking water system, potentially allowing untreated water, pollutants, and contaminants to enter the potable water supply. This can be prevented with the installation and maintenance of a backflow preventer.
What Causes Backflow?
Backsiphonage: The reversal of water flow in a system caused by a drop in supply pressure. E.g. Water main breaks, fire hydrant use, or simply flushing water mains.
Backpressure: The increase in pressure upstream that's higher than the supply pressure. E.g. Elevated piping in tall buildings, booster pumps inside a building, and thermal expansion caused by boilers and water heaters.
What is a Backflow Preventer?
A backflow preventer is a device that prohibits the backflow of water into the potable water supply. There are many types of backflow preventers, including Dual Valve Check Assemblies, Double Check Assemblies and Reduced Pressure Assemblies.
How Often Should Backflow Preventer Assemblies Be Tested?
Backflow preventer assemblies must be tested after installation, relocation, repair, overhaul, cleaning, and on an annual basis thereafter.
What Backflow Preventer Assemblies Are Approved for Use?
The National Plumbing Code states: Backflow preventers shall be selected and installed in conformance with CAN/CSA-B64.10 Manual for the Selection and Installation of Backflow Prevention Devices.
What is the Cost to Participate in the Cross Connection Control Program?
Consumers are responsible for all costs associated with testing, inspection, repair, replacement and maintenance of backflow preventers on the consumers property. Please contact an approved Certified Tester to obtain pricing for their services. The cost of testing can vary between contractors and be impacted by the number of assemblies within your plumbing system.
What if I Don't Comply?
Failure to comply may result in the termination of the water supply until the situation is rectified, and the consumer may be subject to penalties. For more information, please review Aquatera's Bylaws.
How Are Records Managed?
Records are securely stored in SpryBackflow, Aquatera's online data management program.
Who is Affected by Cross Connection?
All consumers who are connected to the potable water system are affected in some capacity and have a responsibility to protect the potable water supply.
What Are Aquatera's Responsibilities and Expectations?
Aquatera is responsible for protecting the public potable water distribution system from contamination and pollution beginning at the water supply source, including all water treatment, storage, and distribution, up to the consumer’s property.
Aquatera is also responsible for administering the Cross Connection Control Program, including:
- Establishing policies, procedures and Bylaw’s to facilitate the continuous supply of safe potable water to our customers and communities,
- Developing and maintaining a database of facilities, building owners, and certified testers,
- Developing a program to inspect new and existing buildings for proper backflow prevention devices,
- Notifying customers of testing requirements prior to testing due dates, and on overdue testing, and
- Providing public education.
What Are My Responsibilities as a Residential Customer?
Residential customers are responsible for ensuring that no uncontrolled cross connections exist on your property that could contaminate the potable water supply. Examples of cross connections include indoor and outdoor hoses, sprinkler and irrigation systems, hot tubs, and boiler systems.
What Are My Responsibilities as an Industrial Customer?
Per National Plumbing Code and CSA Standards B64.10-B64.10.1, and the Canadian AWWA Cross Connection Control Manual, industrial customers are responsible for the installation, maintenance and testing of approved backflow prevention devices on any temporary or permanent connection to the potable water system, starting at the point of service from the potable water system.
The type of backflow prevention measure required will depend upon the degree of hazard that exists, the probability of a backflow incident occurring, and the type of circumstance causing potential or actual backflow to occur.
I Received a Backflow Preventer Testing Notice. What Are the Next Steps?
- Once you receive a Backflow Preventer Testing Notice, hire an approved Certified Tester,
- The approved Certified Tester will inspect and test the backflow preventer(s) on site, completing a test report for each,
- The approved Certified Tester that carried out each test must submit the test through the SpryBackflow Portal,
- If the backflow prevention device passes the test, the approved Certified Tester must submit the report within five days, following the date of the passing test,
- If the backflow prevention device fails the test, the approved Certified Tester must submit the report immediately (i.e.) on the same day as the failed test,
- In the event the backflow prevention device fails a test, the consumer must have the unit repaired or replaced within 96 hours. The unit must then be tested again following repair or replacement to ensure that it is in compliance.
Once received, Aquatera’s Cross Connection Inspector will either approve or reject the test report. If rejected, please address the issue immediately and re-submit the test. If an Aquatera Record Device Tag is missing, please notify Aquatera.
How is the Cross Connection Control Program Governed?
Pursuant to the Standards and Guidelines for Municipal Waterworks, Wastewater and Storm Drainage Systems issued by Alberta Environment and Parks, Aquatera must develop a Cross Connection Control Program. Aquatera also derives its authority to deliver and enforce a Cross Connection Control Program through the following additional enactments: