Comprehensive Cross-Connection Control Programs vs. Backflow Tracking Programs
“In any distribution system, potential cross-connections and therefore sources of contamination can be numerous, varied, and unpredictable.” – EPA Cross-Connection Control: A Best Practices Guide.
Some may be scratching their head at the title thinking backflow programs and cross-connection programs are the same. What is the difference? The M14 AWWA Backflow Prevention & CCC Recommended Practices 4th Edition states:
“A cross-connection control program differs from a backflow prevention program in that cross-connection control provides protection in the plumbing system. Backflow prevention provides protection of the water supply distribution system and is generally installed on the service connection.”
With recent water quality issues and backflow related issues across the country, a proactive, comprehensive, collaborative approach towards cross-connection control is needed. Many states and/or water purveyors only regulate and track backflow prevention assemblies at the service connection (containment) and/or meter, because state regulations only require a containment program. Isolation falls within the Plumbing Code or Building Code typically. It is governed by a Plumbing Board or some other entity with a State Plumbing Inspector.
As you can see, there is a shared responsibility between different departments for a comprehensive cross-connection control program. One of the many reasons municipalities across the country choose BSI is because we take all the heavy lifting off their shoulders allowing them to dedicate more resources to a more comprehensive program between departments above. It is still their program, we just help manage the mundane administrative tasks and duties. They can rest assured we can and do track both types of devices effectively, returning their time to physical inspections, enforcement, and other value-added tasks to the water system, ensuring water is safe for consumption.
Backflow is backflow. Backflow does not care if it is internal or near the meter or whose responsibility it is, backflow can and will happen. Backflow incidents go unreported, but when they do get reported, the cost can be hefty to your staff, water system, customers, and municipality. Is your water system ready for the cost of a backflow incident?