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Cross Connection Control FAQs

Shouldn’t my existing backflow prevention devices be “grandfathered” as they were approved under a different set of regulations?

No. The governing regulation for cross connection control, The Safe Drinking Water Act, doesn’t distinguish between versions of the plumbing code and only requires that the water system comply with existing laws, regulations, and rules. As such, the City of Novi has no enforcement discretion to allow non-conforming backflow prevention devices under a “grandfather” clause. It should be noted that the Safe Drinking Water Act (P.A. 399 Part 14 Rules) is not a construction code which would allow whatever is lawfully installed in a building under a set of codes to remain for the history of the building unless changed. The safe drinking water act is a mechanism to protect the public drinking water supply which requires that whenever it is found that there is the potential for a cross connection that that link between a potable (drinking water) and non-potable water supply that it be properly protected.

What is potable water?

Potable water is free from impurities present in amounts sufficient to cause disease or harmful physiological effects and conforming in bacteriological and chemical quality to the requirements of the public health authority having jurisdiction.

What is a cross connection? What cross connections may be in my residence?

“Cross Connection” means a connection or arrangement of piping or appurtenances through which a backflow could occur.

Cross connections that may be found in your residence include but are not limited to:

  • Lawn irrigation system which may or may not have a chemical feed.
  • Unprotected hose bibs on the side of your house or in your garage.
  • Water assisted back-up sump pump
  • A boiler used for heating purposes which may or may not have a chemical feed.
  • The fill valve on your toilet which does not meet the minimum safe air gap.
  • Solar system which may or may not have a chemical feed depending on type (see attachment “C” solar systems below).
  • Heated driveway with a water supply.
  • Hard piped pool or pond fills by other than a garden hose.
  • Any connection with a waste line to a water supply.
  • A hose connected to the faucet of your laundry tub.
  • Fire Sprinkler system which may or may not have a chemical feed.

Attachment C - Solar Water-heating Systems Protection of Drinking Water Supply Options

What is a “backflow?”

“Backflow” means water of questionable quality, wastes, or other contaminants or pollutants entering a public drinking water supply due to a reversal of flow.

What is contamination as it relates to cross connections? What is pollution?

  • Contamination is an impairment of the quality of the potable drinking water that creates an actual hazard to the public health through poisoning or through the spread of disease by sewage, industrial fluids or waste.
  • Pollution is an impairment of the quality of the potable drinking water to a degree that does not create a hazard to the public health but that does adversely and unreasonably affect the aesthetic qualities of such potable drinking water for domestic use.

When do I need a backflow prevention device/assembly?

An approved backflow prevention device/assembly is required when your drinking water supply is connected to a non-drinking water source. Examples of non-drinking water sources include lawn irrigation systems, connections to water assisted backup sump systems, garden hoses placed in and used to fill a swimming pool, water supply connections to boilers, fire sprinkler systems and carbonated beverage machines. Drinking water supplies and non-drinking water supplies must be isolated from one another by the installation of an approved backflow prevention device or assembly based upon the degree of hazard.

How do I know what type of protective device I need?

Protective requirements are determined based upon the potential hazard to the water system tap; contaminant verses pollutant. The protective measure is determined through codes and rules pursuant to the type of hazard. Examples of hazard types include; a water supply to a boiler which may or may not have a chemical additive for baseboard heating, water supply lines to fill a swimming pool, the hose connected to the side of your home or laundry tub faucet and a water supply line to a water assisted backup sump system or to a lawn irrigation system which may or may not have a chemical fertilization or pesticide feed.

What is a backflow prevention device? What is a backflow prevention assembly?

A backflow prevention device is a mechanical non-testable valve (no shutoff valves) used to protect potable water supplies from contamination or pollution due to backflow.

In water supply systems, water is normally maintained at a significant pressure to enable water to flow from the tap, shower etc. When pressure fails or is reduced, as may happen if a water main bursts, pipes freeze or there is unexpectedly high demand on the water system, then such reduced pressure in the pipe may allow contaminated water from the ground, from storage or from other sources to be drawn up into the system.

Why is a backflow prevention device important?

The most important component of a plumbing system is the protection of the public drinking water. A backflow preventer is a valve that separates the water you drink from potential contaminated sources.

Drinking WaterWho can test a backflow prevention assembly?

Only a certified backflow preventer testing contractor that is also a licensed plumber in the State of Michigan.

Backflow Preventer Tester Plumbing License Code Path

Do I need a permit to test a backflow prevention assembly? What about a plumbing permit?

No. A plumbing permit is not required for repairs to a backflow preventer that does not involve or require the replacement or rearrangement of the assembly or piping. A plumbing permit is required for new installations, rearrangement or relocation of valves and piping.

What should I do with a test report once my backflow prevention assembly is tested?

All test reports should be forwarded to the Department of Public Services / Water & Sewer Division located at 26300 Lee BeGole Drive, Novi, MI 48375. Fax # 248-735-5659

What are the relevant laws, ordinances, and regulations that require cross connection inspections, corrective measures and backflow prevention device testing?

The following codes and state laws require the City of Novi Department of Public Services to provide for cross connection inspection, corrective measures and backflow device testing:

  • City of Novi Code of Ordinances’ Division 2, Sections 34-36 through 34-43
  • Safe Drinking Water Act; Act 399 of 1976 as amended Part 14 Rules; Rule 1402(a), Rule 1403(1), 1404(1), Rule 1405 (1)(2)
  • State Plumbing Act; Act 733 of 2002 as amended
  • Stille-Derossett-Hale Single State Construction Code Act; Act 230 of 1972 as amended
  • The Michigan Plumbing Code, Section 608; Protection of Potable Water Supply
  • The Michigan Residential Code, Section P2902; Protection of Potable Water Supply