Frequently Asked Questions

What is a cross connection control program?
A cross connection control program is a cooperative effort between health officials, water purveyors and property owners to ensure that the water supply remains uncontaminated as a result of backflow. The program involves the isolation of private water systems from the public waterworks through the installation of a backflow prevention device immediately after the water meter. This is called “premise isolation.”

The Cross Connection Control Program focuses on Industrial, Commercial, Institutional (ICI) and Agricultural properties where there is a greater potential for backflow and contamination to the water supply. The elements of a program define the type of protection required and responsibility for the administration and enforcement.

What are we protecting the public water supply from?
The program's goal is to protect the drinking water supply from contamination due to backflow. We do this by preventing water that has been used for washing, heating, cooling, etc., within a facility from backflowing into the drinking water system.

What is a cross-connection and backflow?
A cross connection is any actual or potential connection between a drinking water system and some other environment which could allow a backflow of contaminants to enter the drinking water. This could be a pipe connecting a customer's water system to the heating/cooling system, irrigation or fire system.

Backflow is the flow of water or other liquids, gases, or solids from any source in the direction opposite to normal or intended flow.

What is back-siphonage?
Back-siphonage is caused by negative pressure in the supply piping. Some common causes of back-siphonage are:

1. High velocities in pipe lines.
2. Line repair or break that is lower than a service point.
3. Lowered main pressure due to high water withdrawal rate such as fire fighting or water main flushing.
4. Reduced supply on the suction side of the booster pump.

What is backpressure backflow?
Backpressure may cause backflow to occur when the potable supply piping is connected to a system or fixture which exceeds the operating pressure of the supply piping. This higher pressure can be caused by booster pumps, boilers, pressure vessels or elevated piping, such as high rise buildings or tanks. If these connections are not properly protected, potable and non-potable water or liquids can be forced into the potable supply system.

What is an Air Gap?
Air Gap is the physical separation of the potable and non-potable system by an air space. The vertical distance between the supply pipe and the flood level rim should be two times the diameter of the supply pipe but never less than 1”. The air gap can be used on a direct or inlet connection and for all toxic substances.

What is a backflow preventer?
A backflow preventer is a mechanical apparatus installed in a water system to prevent the occurrence of backflow. Find out more about backflow prevention devices.

What products are used for protection of cross connections?
  1. Air Gap
  2. Atmospheric Vacuum Breakers – which also includes hose connection vacuum breakers
  3. Dual Check Value
  4. Double Check Valve Assembly (testable)
  5. Reduced Pressure Zone Assembly (testable)

Find out more about backflow prevention devices.

What is premise isolation?
Premise isolation is the isolation of a property's private water system from the City's drinking water supply system. This is done at the water service connection (the water meter). It is the isolation of water located within a building, structure or property from the City's water supply and is achieved by installing a backflow preventer immediately after the water meter. Find out more about premise isolation.

Is a building permit required to install a backflow preventer?
Yes, the installation of a backflow preventer requires a building permit for projects involving new or altered plumbing.

The property owner can apply for a building permit, however in many cases, the plumbing contractor will do it on the owner's behalf. For more information, please contact the Building Inspection department at 604-465-5454.

How do I know if my property requires the installation of a backflow prevention assembly and/or device?The City of Pitt Meadows is currently performing surveys of all water connections to the water distribution system. Our program is focused on Industrial, Commercial, Institutional (ICI) and Agricultural properties, beginning with high-hazard properties such as heavy industrial and farming, then medium-hazard properties and finally lower-hazard properties consisting largely of residential properties in the farming areas. The City has and will be contacting property owners directly to evaluate eachfacility for the requirements of a backflow prevention assembly.

Why are homes not covered by this program?
Single family homes pose the least threat for contamination of the water supply. They are considered a low hazard and no protection is required in the bylaw, unless associated with farming where more stringent regulations apply. Homeowners can however help to protect our water supply and the water within their own homes by installing backflow prevention devices on their garden hoses. These are called hose bibs and they can be purchased from hardware stores. Using a hose bib is not a law, but it is good practice in protecting homeowners and their families from contaminated water. Everybody has a role to play in protecting the health and safety of our drinking water.

I have received a letter stating that appropriate cross connection control assemblies must be installed to comply with the City of Pitt Meadows Waterworks Bylaw 2343. What am I required to do on my property? Contract a Certified Tester (i.e. journeyman plumber, mechanical contractor) to apply for a building permit and install the cross connection control on the identified water supplies.Contact the City of Pitt Meadows Building Inspection department at 604-465-5454 for a list of certified testers. Also, review the Installation Guidelines.

How do I know what type of backflow prevention device my facility requires?
The type of device required for your facility will depend on the hazard level your facility and use of your property as it relates to the AWWA Canadian Cross Connection Control Manual Level of Risk Standards . The hazard level is determined by the industry sector. Facilities classified as a “moderate hazard” require the installation of a Double Check Valve Assembly (DCVA) assembly. Facilities classified as a “high or severe hazard” require the installation of a Reduce Pressure Zone assembly (RPZA).

What is a Double Check Valve Assembly (DCVA)?
A Double Check Valve Assembly (DCVA) is a mechanical backflow prevention device that consists of two internally loaded check valves. It includes two shut-off valves and four test cocks. With the two check valves in series, a DCVA prevents backflow even if one check valve fails to close tightly. It can be used to prevent backflow due to both back siphonage and back pressure where a minor or moderate hazard exists. Since no visible warning is given of a failure of check valves, a DCVA must be periodically tested for proper operation.

See City of Pitt Meadows Cross Connection Control Bulletin No. 1 [PDF - 98 KB] for assembly specifications.

What is a Reduced Pressure Principle Assembly (RP)?
A Reduced Pressure Principle (RP) is a mechanical backflow prevention device that consists of two independently acting, internally loaded check valves, separated by a reduced pressure zone. During normal operation, the pressure between the two check valves is maintained at a lower pressure than the supply pressure. If either check valve leaks, water will discharge from the relief port. When this happens, maintenance is required. Due to the discharge of water, an RP must be properly installed in an area that has adequate drainage.

A Reduced Pressure Principle includes two shut-off valves and four test cocks. It is designed to isolate severe hazards and must be tested at least once a year.

See City of Pitt Meadows Cross Connection Control Bulletin No. 1 [PDF - 98 KB] for assembly specifications.

Who can test backflow prevention devices?
Testing can be completed by an individual who is certified by the British Columbia Water and Waste Association (BCWWA). Contact the City of Pitt Meadows Building Inspection department at 604-465-5454 for an updated list of certified testers.

Why do backflow prevention devices have to be tested periodically?
A backflow prevention device may not show visible signs of failure. Backflow prevention assembly devices contain internal seals, springs, and moving parts that are subject to fouling, wear, or fatigue. A backflow prevention assembly device, such as Double Check Valve Assembly (DCVA), or Reduced Pressure Principle Assembly (RP), must be tested by a certified individual with a properly calibrated test gauge to ensure that they are functioning properly.

I have received a letter stating that my backflow prevention device is due for testing, what am I required to do?
You must have a certified tester to test the backflow prevention device(s) at the subject facility. Contact the City of Pitt Meadows Building Inspection department at 604-465-5454 for an updated list of certified testers.

How often do backflow prevention devices need to be tested?
In order to ensure the proper operation of a backflow prevention device, it must be tested upon installation, repair, relocation or replacement, and at least once a year thereafter. To ensure that backflow prevention devices are functioning properly, a certified tester must test them annually.

Who is responsible for the installation and annual testing of premise isolation backflow prevention device?The owner of the property or building that currently has a service connection to the City's water supply or has applied for a new service connection is responsible for the installation of the premise isolation backflow prevention devices, as well the annual testing of the device by a certified tester.

Where can I find a copy of the test report form to submit testing results?
Results must be submitted on the City of Pitt Meadows Backflow Prevention Device Test Form [PDF - 292 KB] on our website or contact the Building Inspection department at City Hall for a copy.

Do the test tags have specifications?
Device tags may be any size, colour, and must be made of a moisture resistant material. The City of Pitt Meadows Cross Connection Control Policy requires that:

"The owner shall cause to be displayed a legibly marked record card on the premise isolation backflow prevention device that indicates the address of the property, the location, type and date of installation of the device, manufacturer, serial number and size of the device, the test date, the tester's initials, the tester's printed name, the printed name of the tester's employer and the tester's certificate number."

If a business changes from a moderate risk to a high risk, what is the process for compliance?
It is the property owner's responsibility to notify City of Pitt Meadows Building Inspection department if there is a change from moderate to high risk.

What are the consequences for failing to comply with the testing or installation requests?
Failure to comply with the notification may result in fines and or discontinuation of a water service.

What are the regulations related to backflow or cross connection control?
The City of Pitt Meadows Waterworks Regulation Bylaw 2007, No. 2343 [PDF - 354 KB] and Cross Connection Control Policy F-21.

See more related regulations here.