What is a cross-connection?
A cross-connection is any point where the public water supply meets an actual or potential source of nonpotable liquid, solid, or gas in a connection to a home, business, irrigation system, etc. that could contaminate the public water supply by backflow.
What is backflow?
Backflow is the unwanted flow of water in the reverse direction. This means that water flows backward from your home or business into the public water supply.
There are two types and causes of backflow: backsiphonage and backpressure.
Backsiphonage means backflow due to a reduction in system pressure in Lacey’s water distribution system. This is a normal and common occurrence due to firefighting, water line flushing, or water line breaks.
Backpressure means a pressure (caused by a pump, elevated tank or piping, boiler, or other means) on the consumer’s side of the service connection that is greater than the pressure provided by the public water system which may cause backflow.
The danger? Backflow can carry contaminated water into the public water supply.
The degree of hazard depends on the type of substance which may flow into the drinking water supply at the point of cross-connection.
- A low cross-connection hazard refers to any substance which would affect the color or odor of the water but is considered a non-health hazard.
- A high health cross-connection hazard refers to any substance that causes illness or death if ingested and is considered a health hazard.
- A severe health cross connection hazard refers to extreme hazards including sewage treatment plants and nuclear facilities because of the epidemic possibilities and dangers associated with them.
Washington State Law requires that water purveyors establish and implement a cross-connection control program to protect the public water system from these hazards. The public water system begins at the source of water (in Lacey the source of water is a well) and ends at the service connection to the customer, the water meter.
The installation or maintenance of any uncontrolled cross-connection which could endanger the quality of the City’s public water system is prohibited. Any such cross-connection is unlawful and should be abated immediately. Abatement includes, but is not limited to, discontinuance of water service or the installation of an approved backflow prevention assembly, equal to the degree of hazard, as determined by the City.
The customer is responsible for backflow prevention assembly installation, initial testing, and annual testing thereafter by a licensed tester. The customer is required to provide proof of installation and proof of a passing test to the Public Works Department by the annual due date. The City will mail affected customers an annual reminder, but it is your responsibility as the water customer to ensure testing is completed.
Service shall be discontinued to any premises, water user, or property owner for failure to comply with rules and regulations pertaining to the City’s cross-connection program or failure to permit entry upon the premises by authorized City personnel for purposes of inspection and/or testing.
For more information about this program, please see the City of Lacey Development Guidelines and Public Works Standards, or contact the City’s Cross-control Specialist at (360) 413-4341.