About Cross Connection Control

The BC Water & Waste Association (BCWWA) is the recognized administrative body for the voluntary certification of approximately 2,000 backflow assembly testers and cross connection control (CCC) inspectors in British Columbia and Yukon.

We provide annual certificate and membership services, offer certification exams and manual sales, and work closely with CCC training institutions and community programs to ensure a competent and sustainable water sector workforce.


The Basics

What is a cross connection?
According to the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), a cross connection is defined as any actual or potential connection between a potable water system and any source of pollution or contamination. Cross connections are present in every water system and, depending on the size of the system, hundreds or thousands of potential cross connections can exist. Wherever physical cross connections exist between a potable and non-potable water, there is the potential for backflow to occur.

What is backflow?
Backflow is a flow of solid, liquid or gas from any source opposite to the normal direction of flow, back into the potable water supply or system. There are two types of backflow: backsiphonage and backpressure.

Backsiphonage is caused by negative pressure in the supply piping system. Some common causes of backsiphonage include:

  • High velocity in pipelines.
  • Line repair or a break that is lower than a service point.
  • Lowered main pressure due to high water withdrawal rate, such as fire-fighting or water main flushing.
  • Reduced supply pressure on the suction side of a booster pump.

Backpressure is caused whenever a potable system is connected to a non-potable supply operating under a higher pressure by means of a pump, boiler, etc. There is a high risk that the non-potable water may be forced into the potable system whenever these cross connections are not properly protected.

What is cross connection control?
Cross connection control is defined as the enforcement of an ordinance regulating cross connections. Municipalities and other communities set up cross connection control programs that monitor the installation, maintenance and field testing of backflow preventers in accordance with local bylaws and other codes and standards.

What is a backflow assembly tester?
Individuals with an active BCWWA backflow assembly tester certificate are certified to test backflow prevention assemblies. They have demonstrated that they have the knowledge and skills to test whether a backflow device is in proper working order in accordance with relevant codes and standards. Communities in BC with CCC programs in place recognize BCWWA-certified backflow assembly testers as individuals qualified to test backflow prevention assemblies within their water distribution system. Find out how to become a BCWWA-certified tester.

What is a CCC inspector?
Individuals with an active BCWWA CCC inspector certificate are certified to conduct cross connection risk assessments on the drinking water supply systems of various types of buildings and facilities. The work of a CCC inspector may involve reviewing plans, physically inspecting premises for potential and actual cross connections, educating customers, and developing and enforcing municipal bylaws. Find out how to become a BCWWA-certified inspector.


How Can We Prevent Backflow Incidents?

  1. Install backflow prevention assemblies - many people can consume contaminated water without even realizing there is a problem.
  2. Stay informed about new devices; education is the key to prevention - water purveyors and certified backflow assembly testers should know how and when to use a backflow preventer, and which device is the most appropriate for a particular context.
  3. Create cross connection control programs – these are programs put in place by water purveyors, such as municipalities, which mandate and monitor the proper installation, maintenance and testing of backflow prevention assemblies within their water distribution system. Find out which communities have a CCC program.
  4. Report backflow incidents – many incidents go unreported. If backflow incidents go unreported, water purveyors may not take seriously the risks that their water system (and the public) is exposed to through unprotected cross connections.


Questions?

If you have any questions about the BCWWA cross connection control program, please contact the BCWWA office.



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