Residential Cross Connection Program

Under the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act, the EGLE institutes rules to protect drinking water and to prevent cross connections that may contaminate public drinking water systems. All communities are required to implement a program for removal of ALL existing cross connections and the prevention of all future cross connections.

Canton currently requires cross connection testing on commercial and industrial facilities due to their perceived greater risk of contaminants. While testing of these facilities will continue, Canton is now required to address the residential sector. Most residential contamination risks come from the large number of underground irrigation systems. Starting in 2020, those systems will be required to have their backflow devices tested and submit the results at least once every five years.

It’s estimated that over 11,000 homes in Canton have underground irrigation systems and will need to have their backflow devices tested. Due to this large number, and the limited number of certified testing companies, Canton has proposed a five-year rotational schedule for inspection and testing. Canton will be divided into five areas and require the first area to obtain inspections/testing in 2020.

You will be notified by mail if your property is required to be tested. Please direct questions to Canton's Division of Public Works at 734/397-1011.

WHAT IS A CROSS CONNECTION?

One of the most serious public health threats to a drinking water supply system is something called a cross connection. A cross connection is an arrangement of piping that could allow undesirable water, sewage, or chemical solutions to enter your drinking (potable) water system as a result of back flow. Cross connections with potable piping systems have resulted in numerous cases of illness and even death. Due to a State mandate – as part of compliance with Public Act 399, Part 14A – a residential cross connection control program has been implemented by Canton Township. 

WHAT IS BACKFLOW & HOW CAN IT OCCUR?

Back flow is the reversal of normal flow in a system due to back siphonage or back pressure. Back siphonage occurs when a vacuum is induced on a piping system, similar to drinking from a glass with a straw. A garden hose or a hose connected to a laundry tub can act as a “straw” allowing undesirable liquids to be drawn through it by back siphonage.

SOME TYPICAL SITUATIONS THAT CAUSE BACK SIPHONAGE ACTION INCLUDE:

  • High water flow rates exerted on a water main due to fire fighting, hydrant flushing, large system demands or major pipe breaks.
  • Booster pumps taking direct suction from potable water supply piping.
  • Undersized piping.

Whenever the drinking water supply system is directly connected to another piping system or process that operates at a higher system pressure, backpressure backflow can occur.

In-Ground Irrigation and Lawn Sprinkler Systems: Automatic irrigation systems pose a significant threat to the drinking water system. By their nature, sprinkler heads may reside in a pool of yard/animal waste, pesticides and/or fertilizers. And because the supply lines are under constant pressure and flow, and controlled by underground control valves, a typical vacuum breaker is not an appropriate form of protections. These items require backflow prevention assemblies.

Hose Bibb and Garden Hose Usage: Because of their portability and universal ease of connection, general purpose/garden hoses pose one of the greatest risk for backflow occurrences. In addition, there is a general complacency (underestimation of hazard level) with what hoses are connected to or with what they are left submerged in.

In residential applications, the normal way to protect the drinking water system for the hose, and its uses, is to outfit the hose bibb (spigot/valve) with a vacuum breaker. Every hose bibb, regardless of age or usage, must be outfitted with a vacuum breaker. Vacuum breakers are considered non-testable and may be installed or replaced by a homeowner.

Canton Cross Connection Program - FAQs

I’ve never had an inspection before. Why do I need one now?

Canton has had a Cross Connection Control program for a number of years, which began with inspections of all of the commercial and industrial accounts. As a natural progression of our program we are now inspecting residential customers as required by the State.

Is this inspection mandatory?

Yes. These inspections are conducted in order to ensure compliance with state regulations to maintain the safety of your drinking water.

What happens if I refuse to have the inspection done or to correct any problems it identifies?

Penalties for refusing to cooperate with inspections and/or refusing to make needed repairs are can include termination of water service, a fine, or both.

Why do I need to test my backflow prevention assembly?

Just like any other mechanical device, backflow prevention assemblies are prone to wear and tear, and do break down from time to time. Regular testing is required in order to ensure that your device remains in proper working order.

How often should I test my backflow prevention assembly?

Canton is requiring homeowners to test their system once every five years beginning in 2020.

Why doesn’t Canton pay for the testing of my backflow preventer?

A lawn irrigation system is not a required component of the water system. Homeowners who choose to install a lawn irrigation system as a convenience are responsible to assure the backflow preventer is properly installed and maintained in accordance with State laws and regulations

Can any plumber test my irrigation backflow devices?

No. It has to be a certified tester approved by the State of Michigan. Visit http://watercustomer.com/ to find a certified tester near you.

Who is responsible for completing the repairs if necessary?

If you are the owner of the home being inspected, you are responsible for any needed repairs. Renters may have to refer to their lease agreements in order to determine whether they are responsible for repairs. Please note, a licensed plumber must make all repairs.