In order to help ensure the supply of safe, clean drinking water to its users, the City of Medicine Hat has taken a proactive approach with respect to the prevention of backflow into the potable water system. This has resulted in the establishment and enforcement of a Cross Connection Control (CCC) Program designed to:
- Enhance Backflow Prevention (BFP) Regulations that are in the City’s Water Service Bylaw #2379 to identify any and all potential 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.
The purpose of the CCC Program is to help prevent harmful chemicals, bacteria and other pollutants and contaminants from flowing back into the potable water supply, creating a public health hazard. 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.
Common hazards protected by a backflow prevention assembly:
- Premise Isolation - where the water supply enters a building
- Fire Sprinkler Systems
- Boiler Systems
- Lawn Irrigation and Sprinkler Systems
- Swimming Pools
- Cooling Systems / Towers
This list is not an exhaustive list, but just some examples of potential cross connection hazards.
Safeguarding Medicine Hat’s drinking water is everyone’s responsibility!
The City of Medicine Hat meets its responsibility by supplying excellent drinking water that is well within the “Canadian Drinking Water Quality Guidelines” and the “License to Operate”, issued by Alberta Environment and Parks.
Owners and occupants must ensure that no cross connections exist on their property as stated in Section 28 of the City of Medicine Hat Water Service Bylaw #2379; the Alberta Safety Codes Act; National Plumbing Code of Canada; and the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) B64.10 “Manual for the Selection, Installation, and Field Testing of Backflow Prevention Devices.” Therefore, the CCC Program was built and is enforced to further protect the Medicine Hat drinking water and water using customers.
What is Backflow?
Backflow occurs as a result of back siphoning, back pressure or both. Back siphoning is a reversal of normal water flow in a system caused by negative pressure in the water line. 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, therefore the need to raise awareness of this issue with all residential; multi-unit residential; industrial; commercial and institutional water customers in Medicine Hat is a high priority.