Water: Cross Connection Control
Cross-connections, which are defined as actual or potential connections between a potable water supply and a non-potable source, where it is possible for a contaminant to enter the drinking water supply. External contaminant introduction diminishes the water quality of drinking water distribution systems. While there are cross-connection control programs in place in many locales, many others lack such programs. There is evidence that inconsistent implementation of such control programs can result in public health risk (NRC, Drinking Water Distribution Systems: Assessing and Reducing Risks, 2006). The problem is a dynamic one, because piping systems are continually being installed, altered, or extended. Control of cross-connections can be achieved through thorough knowledge, vigilance and education.
Federal Advisory Committee Recommendations on Cross-Connection Control Information
In 2007 EPA established a committee under the Federal Advisory Committee Act to develop an agreement in principle regarding recommendations to EPA on revisions to the Total Coliform Rule and on what information about distribution systems is needed to better understand and address possible public health impacts from potential degradation of drinking water quality in distribution systems. As part of the Agreement in Principle (September 2008), the Total Coliform Rule Distribution System Advisory Committee recommended that “EPA and primacy agencies reference and compile existing requirements, guidance, and other information on cross connection control practices from EPA, states, [American Water Works Association], and other relevant parties with the aim of having a single, complete resource library available to the public.” EPA has compiled the information below to meet that recommendation.
EPA Cross-Connection Control Resources
- EPA Cross-Connection Control Manual
- EPA Cross-Connection Control: A Best Practices Guide PDF (4 pp, 177K)
Tips for detecting and responding effectively to a backflow event and information on helpful technology.
EPA 816-F-06-035, September 2006
Industry and Academic Partners
- AWWA - Statement of Policy on Public Water Supply Matters: Cross Connections
- USC Foundation for Cross Connection Control and Hydraulic Research
- American Backflow Prevention Association
- University of Florida Center for Training, Research and Education for Environmental Occupations