Cross Connection Control Program

Georgetown Township is committed to protecting our drinking water system from contamination.  One of the ways that contamination can get into the water system is through a cross connection.  A cross connection can be an actual or potential connection between a drinking water supply and a source of contamination.

How can a cross connection occur?
For example, a drinking water line may enter an industrial facility and be piped to a chemical rinse tank.  If a water flow reversal were to occur (due to a water line break outside, a fire next door, or similar), the chemicals in the rinse tank could be sucked into the drinking water system.  This type of event is called backsiphonage.  If the chemical rinse tank was pressurized at a higher pressure than the drinking water system, the chemicals could be forced into the drinking water system.  This type of event is called backpressure.

Or suppose you are filling a pool with a garden hose, and the hose is submerged in the pool.  If there were to be a water line break down the street causing a loss in pressure, the contents of the pool could be 'vacuumed' back into the water supply.  This is another example of backsiphonage.

How do we prevent this?
Cross connections are prevented through either a physical separation or use of a backflow preventer.  Physical separation means there is a gap of air between the source of contamination and the water supply.  In the swimming pool example, simply moving the hose so that it fills the pool from above the water line would prevent a backflow event.

A backflow preventer could be used to ensure that a cross connection does not occur from the chemical rinse tank example.  This mechanical device, if properly installed and maintained, is designed to prevent contaminated water from entering the drinking water supply.  There are many different types of backflow devices that can have different applications depending on the situation.

What are some other examples of cross connection?
*Hoses submerged in dirty buckets
*Lawn irrigation systems
*Water softeners
*Fire sprinkler systems
*Water-assisted sump pumps
*Hot tubs
*Toilet fill valves

Industrial or Commercial
*Lawn irrigation systems
*Fire sprinkler systems
*Cooling towers
*Soap dispensers
*Hose connections
*Food processing equipment
*Chemical feed equipment
*Laboratory equipment
*Mop/slop sinks

How is it regulated?
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) requires water utilities to have a cross connection control program.  This is defined in Part 14 of the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act.  Additionally, the MDEQ has published a Cross Connection Rules Manual which more fully explains Cross Connection Control Programs.  The Michigan Plumbing Code also has requirements regarding preventing cross connections.