Cross Connection Control

We are committed to providing customers with safe and reliable drinking water. Safeguarding the drinking water is everyone’s responsibility. As part of our responsibility we have a cross connection control program. This helps protect the potable (drinking) water supply from contamination due to cross connections. 

What is a Cross-Connection?

A cross connection is a connection or arrangement of piping through which water of questionable quality, wastes, or other contaminants could enter the potable water supply due to a reversal of flow.

The Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act requires water suppliers to have a comprehensive cross connection control program. This program is for the elimination and prevention of all cross connections. Routine inspections of existing commercial, industrial and multi-family residential properties are conducted to locate cross connections. One and two family residential homes are required to be inspected for cross connections at the time of construction or renovation when changes to the plumbing system are made.

Customers must maintain their potable water systems free of cross connections as required by The Michigan Plumbing Code, Part 14 Administrative Rules promulgated under The Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act and Local Cross Connection Rules. If contamination was to happen in your potable water system as a result of a cross connection, the property owner could be held liable for damages.

Every connection to a potable water system needs to be protected against backflow. You must protect the system by an air gap or an approved backflow prevention device.

Take time to inspect your private water system and make any necessary corrections. If you can't inspect your private water system for cross connections, contact a plumber. A plumber can inspect it for you.

Check out Section 11 of the Grand Rapids Water System Rules and Regulations(PDF, 3MB). This section provides more specific details about required backflow prevention devices. Residential customers can find more information by clicking on the Residential Cross Connections button. If you have any questions, please contact us.

Several types of cross connections are required to be protected against backflow by testable backflow prevention devices. The Michigan Plumbing Code requires these devices to be tested annually by an ASSE certified tester.

One and two family residential customers that have an irrigation system with a testable backflow preventer will need to submit a current year backflow test once every five years upon notification from the Water System. For more information click on the Residential Irrigation FAQ’s button.

Commercial, Industrial and multi-family residential customers will need to submit current year backflow tests once every two years upon notification from the Water System. Properties that are deemed high hazard facilities will have to submit backflow tests every year.

If you receive a letter from us stating you’re due to have your backflow preventer(s) tested, you will need to contact a professional and schedule your test(s).

A qualified tester must be ASSE 5110 certified. Most plumbing companies and businesses in the water industry have certified testers. If the backflow preventer fails the test, you'll have to have it repaired by a licensed plumber.

The repairs must be completed and the backflow preventer tested again before submitting the form. You can submit the test forms by mail, email or fax. For help locating a certified tester, click on the link: ASSE 5110 Certified Tester.