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Cross Connection Control

A Cross Connection is a connection between the City's drinking water supply and a potentially polluted or contaminated source.

For example: 

  • a hose attached to a pesticide spray bottle
  • leaving the end of a hose in a paddling pool while filling it.

If a drop in water pressure occurs, the hose could act as a siphon and suck contaminants into your water supply. This makes the water unsafe to drink and dangerous for you, your family, and your neighbours. There are easy and simple ways to prevent this; see tips below. The City is also working with commercial and industrial water users to help keep our water safe. The Cross Connection Control Program operates as a premise program to protect the city's water distribution system.

The Cross Connection Control Inspectors maintain public safety by ensuring that proper backflow prevention devices are installed and tested to prevent foreign substances from entering the water distribution system.

Cross connections between water supplies and sources of contamination represent one of the most significant threats to health in the water supply industry.

 

 

Test Forms

Once installed, backflow prevention devices must be tested annually by a licensed backflow tester.  See the Licensed Backflow Tester page.

Fill out the test form and submit online.  You can also e-mail the form to:  cross.connection@saskatoon.ca.  We suggest that you request a "Read Receipt" from your e-mail to ensure that out department has received your report.

All testers are required to:

  • Fill out the Testing and Inspection Report completely and accurately each year (annually).
  • Sign the device tag after each use
  • When replacing a device, ensure the old tag is removed and a new one is filled out with the new information (serial number, model size, installation date, etc.)
  • Use the "remark/comment" section for any concerns or additional information

You can mail the form to the following address:  1101 Spadina Crescent West, Saskatoon SK, S7M 1P3 or fax to:  306-975-3351.  Ensure your fax machine provides you with a confirmation report.

How to Become a Certified Cross Connection Control Device Tester

Cross connection control testers are individuals certified by recognized institutions to test cross connection control devices and systems.  

In order to test devices in the City of Saskatoon, you must first have passed a cross connection control course in backflow preventer testing at an accredited college or institution and obtain a certification from recognized institution.

After you are certified with the American Water Works Association as a Cross Connection Control Specialist, you must register your certification by applying to test cross control devices within the City of Saskatoon.

When you apply to register your certification with the City, you will need the following:

  • A completed application form
  • A copy of your Cross Connection Control Special Certificate
  • A current accuracy verification or calibration certificate for the test equipment you will be utilizing to test cross connection control devices

To apply online, complete the New Cross Connection Control Tester Application.  

 

Annual Licence Renewal

Testers are required to renew their licence annually by filling out the Annual Renewal Cross Connection Tester Licence.  In order to continue to test in Saskatoon, you must submit the application form above, which demonstrates qualifications, and a current gauge calibration certificate.

For any change of information such as name, address, or Company Name, please fill out a the Tester Information Change Form.

The Cross Connection Control Program was established in the City of Saskatoon on May 15, 2003, as a result of provincial legislation and by following general industry best practices. The program is supported by City Bylaw 7567, The Waterworks Bylaw. The program is ongoing and dynamic as drinking water piping systems are continually being installed and altered.

Inspections

The Cross Connection Control Program works with private backflow prevention installers and testers to ensure that industrial and commercial companies comply with Bylaw 7567.

Upon notification of new installations, the Meter Shop’s Cross Connection Inspectors conduct on-site inspections.  Each inspection includes documents and photographs of serial numbers, devices used, whether these devices have been tested, and if appropriate devices have been installed.  The contractors or building owners are notified if changes or corrections to the installed backflow prevention system are required.   If these changes are not made within the allotted timeframe, water distribution to the property may be terminated until the corrections are made.  All testing and inspection reports, photographs, and correspondence are kept on file for that specific service address.  

Once installed, backflow prevention devices must be tested annually by a licensed backflow tester.  See the Licensed Backflow Tester page.

It is our commitment to you to provide the residents of Saskatoon with a high standard of drinking water. Together we can fulfil this commitment.

Tips for Home Owners

What is a "cross-connection?" test?
A cross-connection is a permanent or temporary connection, which could contaminate your drinking water if a backflow condition occurs.

What is "backflow"?
It's just what it sounds like: the water is flowing in the opposite direction from its normal flow. With the direction of flow reversed, due to a change in pressures, backflow can allow contaminants to enter our drinking water system through cross-connections. Without proper protection devices, something as useful as your garden hose has the potential to poison your home's water supply.

A potentially hazardous cross-connection occurs every time someone uses a garden hose sprayer to apply insecticides or herbicides to their lawn. Without a backflow prevention device between your hose and outside faucet, the contents of the hose and anything it is connected to, can backflow into the water system and contaminate your drinking water. Backflows due to cross-connections are serious plumbing problems.

How can I prevent a cross connection?
There are three easy ways you can prevent a cross connection at your home.

  1. Never place the end of a hose where it can suck contaminants into your drinking water.
  2. Leave at least a one-inch gap between the end of a hose and a source of contamination.
  3. Use proper protection devices. Each spigot at your home should have a hose-bib vacuum breaker installed. This is a simple, inexpensive device that can be purchased at any plumbing or hardware store. Installation is as easy as attaching your garden hose to a spigot.

What is "back-siphonage"?
The flow of unsafe water into a safe water supply caused by a lower pressure in the safe water supply and resulting in contamination.

What is "back pressure"?
"Back pressure" 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 and which may cause backflow.

What is an air gap?
An air gap is a vertical, physical separation between the end of a water supply outlet and the flood-level rim of a receiving vessel. This separation must be at least twice the diameter of the water supply outlet and never less than one inch. An air gap is considered the maximum protection available against backpressure backflow or backsiphonage but is not always practical and can easily be bypassed.

What is a reduced principle assembly (RP)?
An RP is a mechanical backflow preventer that consists of two independently acting, spring-loaded check valves with a hydraulically operating, mechanically independent, spring-loaded pressure differential relief valve between the check valves and below the first check valve. It includes shutoff valves at each end of the assembly and is equipped with test cocks. An RP is effective against backpressure backflow and backsiphonage and may be used to isolate health or non health hazards.

What is a pressure vacuum breaker assembly (PVB)?
A PVB is a mechanical backflow preventer that consists of an independently acting, spring-loaded check valve and an independently acting, spring-loaded, air inlet valve on the discharge side of the check valve. It includes shutoff valves at each end of the assembly and is equipped with test cocks. A PVB may be used to isolate health or nonhealth hazards but is effective against backsiphonage only.

What is a double check valve assembly (DC)?
A DC is a mechanical backflow preventer that consists of two independently acting, spring-loaded check valves. It includes shutoff valves at each end of the assembly and is equipped with test cocks. A DC is effective against backpressure backflow and backsiphonage but should be used to isolate only nonhealth hazards.

What is a residential dual check valve (RDC)?
A RDC is similar to a DC in that it is a mechanical backflow preventer consisting of two independently acting, spring-loaded check valves. However, it usually does not include shutoff valves, may or may not be equipped with test cocks or ports, and is generally less reliable than a DC. An rdc is effective against backpressure backflow and backsiphonage but should be used to isolate only nonhealth hazards and is intended for use only in water service connections to single-family homes.

Why do backflow preventers have to be tested periodically?
Mechanical backflow preventers have internal seals, springs, and moving parts that are subject to fouling, wear, or fatigue. Also, mechanical backflow preventers and air gaps can be bypassed. Therefore, all backflow preventers have to be tested periodically to ensure that they are functioning properly. A visual check of air gaps is sufficient, but mechanical backflow preventers have to be tested with properly calibrated gage equipment.