Cross Connection Control Program

Overview of the Program

In order to protect the drinking water distribution system from contamination the Westfield Department of Public Works, Water Resources Division is required to maintain Cross Connection Control program. As part of a Cross Connection Control Program, the Westfield DPW Water Resources Division must determine if cross connections exist and if they do, that they are maintained by the proper protective device.

A cross connection occurs whenever a potable drinking water line is directly or indirectly linked with a non-potable piece of equipment or piping. Examples of areas where cross connections can be found include dishwashers, air conditioning systems, fire protection systems and boilers. An unprotected or inadequately protected cross connection in a building could contaminate the drinking water not only within that building but throughout the neighboring buildings and homes.

Severe illnesses and injuries - even death - have resulted from cross connection contamination events that could have been prevented. Such events have been known to cause outbreaks of Hepatitis A, gastroenteritis, Legionnaire's Disease, chemical poisoning and body lesions (from exposure through showering). They also can rupture plumbing fixtures and cause explosions.

The Cross Connection Control program consists of two basic sections, the Survey and Device Testing.

Cross Connection Survey

The Cross Connection Survey is the first step in the program. Massachusetts Drinking Water Regulations 310 CMR22.22 requires all industrial, commercial and institutional facilities to be surveyed for cross connections and to be re-surveyed at intervals.

A Survey is a walk-through of the water system in a building or property, starting from the water meter and ending at "the last free-flowing tap". This survey is conducted at no charge to the owner or tenant.

The Water Resources Division has a Water Engineer on staff who is a state licensed Cross Connection Surveyor.

This Survey may take just a few minutes or several days, depending upon the complexity of the facility being surveyed. At the end of the survey, a report is written describing any violations or discrepancies found, as well as the actions required to rectify the problems.

If a testable backflow device is required, a Cross Connection Device Permit Application will need to be filed BEFORE a device is installed. (See link at bottom of this page)

This permit application consists of three parts. The first two pages have information regarding the location of the device (Company, Contact Person, and Physical Location at the facility), the make and model of the device, and the name of the person installing the device. All devices must be installed by a Massachusetts licensed plumber with the exception of any device that is installed on a fire sprinkler system. Devices installed on a fire sprinkler system are required to be installed by a sprinkler fitter. A one-line drawing must be provided. The last item is a check in the amount of $50.00 made payable to the City of Westfield as the permit application fee.

Device Testing

Testing of the protective devices depends upon the type of backflow device installed. The main types of testable devices are the Reduced Pressure Backflow Preventer (RPBP), the Double Check Valve Assembly (DCVA) and the pressure Vacuum Breaker (PVB). Other types, such as an Atmospheric Vacuum Breaker, are non-testable.

Pipes and valves.

Reduced Pressure Backflow Preventer (RPBP)

The RPBP is designed for a Contamination hazard and its internals consist of two check valves and a relief valve. This device must be tested every six months. This device protects the domestic water from chemicals, blood products and other harmful materials.

Pipes and valves.

Double Check Valve Assembly (DCVA)

The DCVA is designed to protect against a Pollutant hazard and its internals consist of two check valves. This device must be tested annually. This device can be generally found on a fire sprinkler system. These sprinkler systems are generally constructed of black iron pipe, which rusts when the water sits in the pipe. The rust generally will not harm a person but having it in drinking water is not desirable.

Pipes and valves.

Pressure Vacuum Breaker (PVB)

The PVB is designed to protect against Contamination hazards and its internals consist of a check valve and a vacuum breaker. This device is tested annually. It is generally found on a lawn irrigation system and prevents the lawn chemicals and animal feces from getting back into the drinking water.

When the schedule requires a device to be tested, someone from our contracted testing company, Sigma Water Safety, will call to make an appointment. The testing of a device generally takes only a few minutes and requires water to be on for that device.

If the device fails, the owner of the device must obtain the services of a Massachusetts certified plumber or sprinkler fitter to perform the necessary repair within fourteen (14) calendar days of the failure test or from the discovery of the defect as required by the Massachusetts Drinking Water regulations, CMR 310 22.22 (13) (b) and the Westfield Department of Public Works Water Resources Division Rules and Regulations. Afterwards, the repaired device must be re-tested by a Massachusetts certified backflow prevention device tester.

Annual Fees

The Cross Connection Control program is funded by an annual fee charged to the owners of the backflow device(s) and is billed in May of each year. The fees cover the required tests and administration of the Program. Currently, the rates are:

$117.00 for RPBP (tested twice per year)

$87.00 for DCVA and PVB (tested once per year)

Lawn Irrigation Protection

The Westfield Water Resources Division is actively surveying commercial and residential lawn irrigation systems and installing hose-bib vacuum breakers where needed.

A RPBP and PVB device are the only types which are acceptable for irrigation. If you have an irrigation system and are not sure if you have a device or the proper type, please call the Water Resources Division Engineering Section at (413) 642-9327 to have a Cross Connection Surveyor come out to check. This check is a free service provided to help ensure the quality and safety of water to your home and neighborhood. To properly evaluate your irrigation system, the water supply should be on to the backflow device.

Irrigation Specifications

Cross Connection Control Rules and Regulations

State Cross Connection Regulations

Cross Connection Device Permit Application

Approved Backflow Device List