Cross Connection FAQs

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Cross Connection Control
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What are cross connections?
Cross connections are actual or potential connections between a potable water supply such as the Utilities Kingston distribution system, and any environment that would allow other substances to enter the water system. Such substances may include chemicals, wastewater, steam, or any matter that would change the quality, colour, or taste of the water.
What is backflow?
Water normally flows in one direction from the public water distribution system through the customer's plumbing system. If the water begins to flow in the opposite direction, due to back pressure or back siphonage, it can become contaminated from cross connections.
What is backpressure and back siphonage?
Back siphonage is caused by a negative or a below atmospheric pressure in the water main. Events that can cause back siphonage include a water main break or a high rate of water withdrawal, such as fire fighting.

Back pressure is caused by a system connected to the Utilities Kingston distribution system that is operating at a higher pressure. Booster pumps or elevated piping are examples of connections that operate at a higher pressure and can cause back pressure.

How do backflow prevention devices (BPD) work?
A BPD controls water flow in a pipe restricting it to one direction only, from the supply (Utilities Kingston distribution system) to the end user (customers). A specially designed valve prevents water from back flowing into the distribution system.
Who is responsible for the BPD?
The facility or property owners are responsible and liable for any cross connection within their facilities. Utilities Kingston will hold a database of BPD but the installation, yearly testing and maintenance of the BPD are the responsibility of the building owner or authorized agent.
Who is required to comply with the by-law?
The Utilities Kingston CCCP is implementing a premise isolation program for industrial, commercial, institutional (ICI) and multi-residential (5 or more units) properties. Section 3 of the By-law 2006-122 (Water Use) describes the compliance requirements for the registered owners of the (ICI) properties.
What are premise, individual, and zone isolation?
Premise Isolation — protection provided at the entrance to a building or facility

Zone Protection — protection provided for sections of a piping system within a building or facility with no potable connections downstream of a backflow preventer

Individual Protection — protection provided at the connection to a fixture or appliance.

Will a plumbing survey be required?
A survey will be required for every industrial, commercial, institutional and multi-residential (5 units of more) property to determine the level of premise protection required, as well as the priority. The survey will be:
  • completed at the owner’s expense
  • completed by a Certified Backflow Preventer Tester every five years or upon written request
How do I select a BPD, how is it installed?
Selection and installation of BPD will be based on degree of hazard (see below) in accordance with the Ontario Building Code and Canadian Standards Association Standard B64. Installation will require a building permit and…
  • must be easily accessible for inspection and maintenance
  • must be located indoors or in a chamber
  • must not be removed without the prior written approval of the operating authority
What is meant by degree of hazard?
The potential of danger to public health determines the degree of hazard (minor, moderate or high) and will in turn determine the type of backflow device required for the protection of the potable water system.

For classification examples, see our degree of hazard page.

Who may install, test, and maintain a backflow device?
Backflow prevention devices must be installed and maintained by a Certified Backflow Preventer Tester at the owner’s expense. Utilities Kingston maintains a list of certified testers that have registered with us.
Why do backflow assemblies require annual testing?
BPDs are mechanical devices that contain seals, springs, and valves, and are therefore subject to wear and corrosion. The BPD need to be serviced and tested annually, to ensure that all the components are functioning properly and that the device is operating as designed. A non-functioning BPD is considered to be non-existent.
What happens after the device is tested?
A copy of the Backflow Prevention Device Report must be forwarded to the Utilities Kingston Cross Connection Control Program (CCCP) within ten days of the tests. If the report indicates that the device passed the requirements, the database will be updated and all requirements under the CCCP are met for a twelve month period.

If the report indicates that the device has failed, notice must be sent to the Utilities Kingston CCCP within twenty-four hours. The device must then be repaired or replaced and a new report submitted to the CCCP within four days.

All tests must be performed by a Certified Backflow Preventer Tester.

Who is responsible for the installation, testing, and maintenance of the backflow prevention devices?
It is up to the customer/property owner to ensure that the BPD is properly maintained and repaired, tested at the time of installation and on an annual basis thereafter. If any maintenance or repairs are performed on the device, it must be re-tested. The BPD belongs of the customer/property owner and therefore they are entirely responsible for the maintenance and testing of the devices.