Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Cross Connections

The water you provide in your water system is susceptible to contamination at the points where it comes in contact with other systems.


Cross-connections are defined as any potential or actual connection between a water system and sources of pollution or contamination, where a reverse flow of water, known as backflow, might occur.

A physical connection between a water source and the source of a contaminant is an example of a cross-connection. It could be as simple as a garden hose left to run in a hot tub. Backflow can occur if there is a drop in pressure in the water system. In this case, hot tub water could be pulled into the system through the garden hose.

Backflow prevention may include eliminating any physical pipe connections that pose a problem. Backflow prevention devices that can be installed include:

  • air gaps
  • double-check valve assemblies
  • reduced pressure principle devices
  • vacuum breakers
  • barometric loops

To avoid cross-connection and backflow problems, take control of your system:

  • Conduct a survey of the entire system.
  • Follow building and plumbing codes.
  • Ensure work on plumbing is completed by certified, skilled contractors.
  • Be aware that, in most jurisdictions, a private water system cannot be connected to a public water system.
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