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Cross-Connection Control and Backflow Prevention

Licensed backflow testers
What is a cross-connection?

A cross-connection is a plumbing arrangement that physically connects the public water system with a source of potential pollution or contamination. It is vital to remove or protect cross-connections in order to prevent backflow into potable water.

What is backflow?

Backflow is the undesirable reversal of potential pollution or contamination through an unprotected cross-connection and into the City's water system. An example would be a hose attached to a pesticide spray bottle. If a drop in water pressure occurs, the hose could act as a siphon and suck contaminants into your water supply.

Ultimately, backflow has the potential to cause the contamination of the entire public water supply, posing a risk for anyone using the water for drinking, cooking, bathing, or other purposes.

Backflow and cross-connections are regulated by the City’s Water By-law, which is mandated through Manitoba’s Drinking Water Safety Act.  The Act directs the City to protect the public drinking water system from source to tap.

The City’s Water By-law requires property owners to remove cross-connections from their plumbing system. If that is not possible, property owners must install backflow prevention devices, which prevent water from flowing backward into the public drinking water system. Failing to comply with the by-law could lead to fines and turning off water services until the property is in compliance.

Backflow Prevention Program

The City has a Backflow Prevention Program to protect the public drinking water system from contamination by unprotected cross-connections. In this program we:

  • review plans submitted by professional engineers at the preliminary design stage to ensure backflow prevention devices are included in the plans
  • receive backflow permits and inspect new or replaced devices for compliance with backflow and cross-connection control requirements
  • confirm testing requirements are satisfied when property changes hands as part of the backflow and cross-connection control record search
  • perform cross-connection control inspections when requested
  • license backflow prevention device testers
  • confirm that backflow prevention device testing is up-to-date
  • track and confirm annual calibration of backflow prevention device test kits
  • monitor the use of public water outlets and fire hydrants
  • enforce the City’s Water By-law

In addition to the City’s Backflow Prevention Program, there are things that you can do to in your home and business to protect against cross-connections and backflow.

Last updated: August 7, 2018