A cross-connection is any temporary or permanent connection between a public water system and any source or system containing non-potable water or other substances. An example is the piping between a public water system and an auxiliary water system, cooling system, or irrigation system.
Under certain conditions, water from the non-potable source can reverse flow (called backflow) and enter the public water system, contaminating the water in that system, making it unusable or unsafe to drink. The Regional Water Authority has a responsibility to provide water to our consumers that is usable and of high-quality. And consumers should have absolute faith that water delivered to them through our public water system is always safe to drink. For these reasons, local, state and national health codes prohibit contaminated sources from entering the public water supply through cross connections.
To prevent backflow in plumbing systems, the Connecticut Public Health Code requires backflow prevention devices to be installed in specific locations where there is the potential for a cross connection.
Annually, the Authority inspects over 3,300 commercial, industrial, residential, and health facilities. We examine the plumbing connections and test the backflow preventers to make sure they are in compliance with requirements set by the Department of Public Health. This information is reported to the state health department annually.
The occurrence of Legionella is on the rise and is now the leading cause for waterborne illness in the United States. Infection occurs through the inhalation of contaminated water vapor primarily found within inadequately maintained building plumbing systems.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has developed a guide specifically intended for building owners and managers to reduce the risk of Legionella development. This guide, Developing a Water Management Program to Reduce Legionella Growth & Spread in Buildings, identifies areas or devices in buildings where Legionella may grow or spread to people so that steps can be taken to reduce this risk. The RWA is distributing this guide through our Cross Connection Control program to those businesses we visit where conditions may exist for Legionella development so preventative or corrective steps can be taken to minimize contamination risk or you may access the guide here.
Please contact the RWA’s Cross Connection Control Team Lead if you have questions at 203-401-2701.