Cross-Connection Control

Holiday Closure Notice

Dear IIABC Community,

The IIABC office will be closed from December 22, 2023, to January 05, 2024, for the Christmas and New Year break. We will not be available to answer calls or emails during this time.

Any communications received during the closure will be addressed upon our return. Happy Holidays!

Best regards,
IIABC Staff and Board Members

Cross Connection Control in British Columbia

The majority of sprinkler irrigation systems in the Province of British Columbia are connected to a potable (safe for drinking) water supply. This potable water supply could consist of a city water main, a well, or any other source of drinking water supplied by your local water purveyor. The connection of a sprinkler irrigation system with its maze of pipes, valves, and sprinkler heads to a potable water supply is called a Cross Connection.

Herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, or animal feces may collect in cesspools of water around the sprinkler heads creating a potential for the contaminants to be drawn back through the sprinkler irrigation system. This flow of contaminates (by means of Backflow or Backsiphonage) into the potable water supply line, without an approved means of cross connection control, will result in contamination of the potable water supply.

Why do I need my "Backflow Prevention Assembly" tested annually?

As with everything that is manufactured, Backflow Prevention Assemblies and Devices break or wear out. By having your Backflow Prevention Assembly tested annually, you will help to ensure that the potable water supply remains safe. 

Certified Backflow Assembly Testers in BC attend a rigorous training course, and are certified by the American Waterworks Association, British Columbia Section (BCWWA). Individuals with an active BCWWA backflow assembly tester certificate are certified to test backflow prevention assemblies. They have demonstrated that they have the knowledge and skills to test whether a backflow device is in proper working order in accordance with relevant codes and standards. Communities in BC with Cross-Connection Control (CCC)  programs in place recognize BCWWA-certified backflow assembly testers as individuals qualified to test backflow prevention assemblies within their water distribution system.

* AWWA Cross Connection Control Manual (2017 edition) (Field Testing and maintenance)

** British Columbia Building Code (2018) Part 2 Division B (Installation and selection of Backflow Preventers) 

*** Obtain all necessary local permits and inspection requirements on your irrigation sprinkler system as required per the authority having jurisdiction.

What is Potable Water?

Potable water is water, which is safe for human consumption, free from harmful or objectionable materials, as described by the health authority*.

What is a Cross Connection?

A cross connection is any actual or potential physical connection between a potable water line and any pipe, vessel, or machine containing a non-potable fluid or has the possibility of containing a non-potable fluid, such that it is possible for the non-potable fluid to enter the water system by backflow. A cross connection could be any physical arrangement whereby a potable water supply is connected directly or indirectly, with any non-potable or unapproved water supply system, sewer, drain, conduit, pool, storage reservoir, plumbing fixture, or any other device which contains, or may contain, contaminated water, liquid, gases, sewage, or other waste, of unknown or unsafe quality which may be capable of imparting contamination to the potable water supply as a result of backflow*.

What is Backflow?

Backsiphonage is backflow due to a negative or reduced pressure within the purveyors potable water supply*.

Why do I need Cross Connection Control on my Sprinkler Irrigation System?

Everyone likes to feel that the potable water supply is safe and under control at all times. Unfortunately, this is not always true, and precautions are required to ensure the health and safety of all British Columbians.

It is a very real and constant danger that our potable water supply could become contaminated by something harmful to our health. As a result, minor skin irritation, serious health effects, or in some cases death may occur. For this reason Backflow preventers shall be selected, installed, maintained and field tested in conformance with CSA B64.10**.

It is up to your local water purveyor to specify which type of backflow preventer to use. There are now many regions throughout B.C. using CSA as the approval organization. A Backflow Prevention Device (non testable) or Assembly (testable) are the most common.

Have your IIABC Certified Irrigation Contractor obtain all necessary permits and inspections on Your Sprinkler Irrigation Cross Connection as required***. Please do your part to ensure that everyone can en j oy the benefits of safe drinking water and ensure the health and safety of everyone in British Columbia.

Click below if you would like a copy of this information in a brochure format, a pdf file. Copies may be made of the brochure to distribute to clients.