Cross Connection Control Program

Water flowing from a tap at homeWe test our drinking water each day to ensure it is safe and clean. However, you might not realize that cross connections exist in your home and that there is potential to contaminate our drinking water supply. The Cross Connection Control (CCC) Program is a proactive approach to prevent contaminated water from flowing back into the potable water system.

What is a cross connection?

A cross connection is a direct link between a household water line and a source of contamination such as a hot tub or fertilizer jug.

Examples of typical cross connections include connections between the drinking water supply system and:

  • Lawn irrigation systems
  • Fire sprinkler systems
  • Chemical feed systems
  • Boiler systems

Am I at risk of contaminating the water supply?

Back pressure caused by the occasional fluctuation in water pressure is unavoidable and can cause an accidental contamination to the water supply if there is a potential cross connection with a tap open at the same time.

What is backflow?

Backflow occurs as a result of back siphoning, back pressure or both.

Back siphoning

Back siphoning is a reversal of normal water flow in a system caused by negative pressure in the water line.

Back pressure

Back pressure is when there is a reduction in or stoppage of the main water supply pressure. This could occur when a fire hydrant is being used, or if there is a break or repairs occurring in the water mains.

Backflow can also occur when there is an increase in the downstream water pressure above that of the supplied water pressure (back pressure) or when there is a direct cross connection between the potable water supply and another process line which has the potential to transmit a contaminant into the potable water supply.

While the possibility of such events occurring and contaminating potable water supplies may seem like an industrial or institutional problem, backflow can occur in any water supply line including residential dwellings. The potential for contamination and fatal illness due to accidental poisoning does exist in every home and raising awareness is a high priority.

The program aims to protect the City and its consumers by enforcing the regulations in the Water Service Bylaw #2379, ensuring that backflow prevention devices are installed on all possible cross connections to the water distribution system. Through the program, we:

  • Enhance Backflow Prevention (BFP) regulations that are in the City's Water Service Bylaw #2379
  • Identify areas for cross-connections where contamination of the potable water supply may occur
  • Maintain a database of qualified backflow device testers
  • Maintain a database of facilities, building owners and BFP assemblies, including historical testing information and notes about the location
  • Provide annual notices to the appropriate facility or BFP assembly owners ensuring that tests are conducted and that reports are reviewed and entered
  • Conduct cross connection inspections of new and existing facilities

Safeguarding Medicine Hat's drinking water is everyone's responsibility

Owners and occupants must ensure that no cross connections exist on their property as stated in:

  • Section 28 of the Medicine Hat's Water Service Bylaw #2379
  • Alberta Safety Codes Act
  • National Plumbing Code of Canada
  • Canadian Standards Association (CSA) B64.10 “Manual for the Selection, Installation, and Field Testing of Backflow Prevention Devices”

You can follow these three simple steps to protect your drinking water from accidental contamination:

  1. Never place the end of a hose, sprayer or faucet where it can suck contaminants into our drinking water.
  2. Leave at least one inch air gap between the end of a hose or faucet and a source of contamination. This eliminates the link between the two.
  3. Many homes have hose bibs equipped with frost-free vacuum breakers. If your home does not, consider attaching a vacuum breaker to your outdoor hose bibs. Before winter, ensure you turn off the tap's indoor valve and manually drain the vacuum breaker.

Backflow prevention testers

Companies wishing to offer backflow prevention assembly testing services to customers in Medicine Hat must have a registered Tester with the City of Medicine Hat in the SwiftComply program. When registering, please be prepared to provide the following:

  • A copy of your company's current City of Medicine Hat Business License
  • A copy of your company's Certificate of Insurance
  • A copy of your valid AWWA Cross Connection Control Specialist Certificate
  • A copy of a current calibration certificate for your test kit equipment
  • A copy of your Professional/Journeyman Certification

Companies have the option to set up an Admin account to enter tests on behalf of a Tester. When submitting a registration form for an Admin account, please note that a certified Tester must first be registered in our SwiftComply program. If there is no record of a registered Tester, the Admin account registration will be delayed. If you have any questions about the registration process, please contact Environmental Utilities at 403-529-8176.

Register to be a backflow tester

Test Kit Calibration

Test Kit Calibration is the responsibility of the tester or testing company. All Test Kit Calibration information must be provided to the City of Medicine Hat to ensure that all tests being completed are valid.

For further information regarding the CCC Program or tester registration, contact us.