CCC Program FAQ

What is a cross connection control program?

A cross connection control program is a cooperative effort between health officials, water purveyors and property owners to ensure that the water supply remains uncontaminated as a result of backflow.

What are we protecting the public water supply from?

The program’s goal is to protect the drinking water supply from contamination due to backflow.  We do this by preventing water that has been used for washing, heating, cooling, etc., within a facility from backflowing into the drinking water system.

What is a cross-connection?

Cross connection means any actual or potential physical connection between the City Waterworks’ potable water line and any source containing a non-potable fluid or where it is possible for the non-potable fluid to enter the water system by backflow.  A cross connection includes connection to an unapproved water supply systems, sewer, drain, conduit, pool, storage reservoir, plumbing fixture, or any other device which contains, or may contain, contaminated.

What is backflow?

Backflow is the flow of water or other liquids, gases, or solids from any source in the direction opposite to normal or intended flow.

What is back-siphonage?

Backsiphonage is caused by negative pressure in the supply piping. Common causes of backsiphonage are:

  1. High velocities in pipe lines.
  2. Line repair or break that is lower than a service point.
  3. Lowered main pressure due to high water withdrawal rate such as fire fighting or water main flushing.
  4. Reduced supply on the suction side of the booster pump.

What is backpressure backflow?

Backpressure may cause backflow to occur when the potable supply piping is connected to a system or fixture which exceeds the operating pressure of the supply piping. This higher pressure can be caused by booster pumps, boilers, pressure vessels or elevated piping, such as high rise buildings or tanks. If these connections are not properly protected, potable and non-potable water or liquids can be forced into the potable supply system.

What is a backflow prevention device?

A backflow prevention device is a mechanical apparatus installed in a water system to prevent the occurrence of backflow.  See related document for photos and descriptions of various backflow prevention devices.

How do I know if my property requires the installation of a backflow prevention assembly and/or device?

The City of Chilliwack is currently performing surveys of all the 16,000 water connections to the water distribution system.  The program is primarily focused on Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional (ICI) properties as well as Multi-family Residential.  The City will contact property owners directly to evaluate facilities for the requirements of a backflow prevention assembly.

I am a home owner; does my house require a backflow prevention assembly or device?

Currently the City of Chilliwack does not require existing homes to be retro-fitted with a backflow prevention device, but new homes are to be outfitted with backflow prevention devices as per the BC Building Code.

The City has been suggesting that property owners look into outfitting their exterior hose bibs with anti-siphon devices to prevent common cross connections such as pesticide and herbicide sprayers and even a hose in a bucket of soapy water.  These devices can be purchased at any local hardware store and are referred to as Hose Bib Vacuum Breakers.     

Who can test backflow prevention devices?

Testing can be completed by an individual who is certified by the British Columbia Water and Waste Association (BCWWA).

Why do backflow prevention devices have to be tested periodically?

Backflow prevention devices have internal moving parts that are subject to fouling, wear or fatigue.  Therefore, all backflow prevention devices have to be tested yearly, or as specified by the authority having jurisdiction to ensure that they are functioning properly.

I have received a letter stating that my backflow prevention device is due for testing, what am I required to do?

Contact a certified tester to test the backflow prevention device(s) at the subject facility.

Who is responsible for testing a backflow prevention device?

The owner of a property or agent of the owner is responsible for testing.

What are the consequences for failing to comply with the testing or installation requests?

Failure to comply with the notification will result in fines being issued against the property owner as provided in Waterworks Regulation Bylaw 2004, No. 2995, Section 70 & 72.

Are there any regulations related to backflow or cross connection control?

The City of Chilliwack, Waterworks Regulation Bylaw 2004, No. 2995.

For further information on this topic please visit the following Websites.

  • British Columbia Water & Waste Association (BCWWA)
  • American Backflow Prevention Association (ABPA)