Cross Connection and Backflow Prevention
All non-residential customers are required to take steps to prevent cross connections and backflow to the public water system. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection requires that a physical connection permit must be obtained by the owner of a facility containing an unapproved and non-potable water supply and the public community water supply. The permit must be renewed annually and requires each backflow prevention device covered by the permit to be tested quarterly.
Failure to comply can result in the denial or disconnection of water service by the Company. (Residential customers with domestic wells must demonstrate that wells are not connected to internal plumbing before service is resumed.) New Jersey American Water can help to determine if you are in compliance with the regulations, and we are available to answer any questions that you may have related to backflow prevention.
What is a cross connection and backflow?
Plumbing cross connections are actual or potential connections between a potable and non-potable or unapproved water supply and constitute a significant public health hazard and are controlled by the use of check valves. All New Jersey American Water non-residential customers with an unapproved water supply are required to take steps to prevent cross connections and backflow to the water system. This includes the installation of an approved backflow prevention device, having it permitted by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and as per the permit requirements, tested quarterly.
Backflow is the reverse flow of water or other substances through a cross connection into the treated drinking water distribution system. There are two types of backflow: backpressure and backsiphonage.
Why backflow prevention is important
Drinking water that meets regulations leaving the water treatment facility can become contaminated in the distribution (pipeline) system by backflow when:
How to prevent backflow contamination
Backflow contamination can be prevented.All non-residential water utility customers are required to have approved and functioning backflow-prevention devices installed. In some cases, residential customers may also be required to install backflow prevention devices.
Installation of backflow prevention devices can be completed by an independent plumbing contractor. The cost of the device and installation is the responsibility of the customer. We recommend that customers obtain cost estimates before installation.
In addition to installing these devices, New Jersey Regulations require a physical connection permit to be obtained by the owner of a facility (not a private residence) containing an unapproved (non-potable) water supply and a public community water supply. The permit regulation mandates that non-residential water customers and residential customers where it applies must have these devices tested on a quarterly basis by a qualified tester. For a list of qualified testers, please see the links below. All New Jersey American Water customers’ with a permitted Back flow device must supply copies of the backflow device test results on a quarterly basis. This information will ensure that the device is functioning properly, and in working order.
We will work with you to answer any questions you may have regarding backflow prevention and the corrective actions necessary to ensure compliance. Below are additional resources that may be helpful.
Certified Backflow Testers
The following is a list of certifying agencies approved in the New Jersey Safe Drinking Water Act. N.J.A.C. 7:10-10.8 by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to certify individuals as certified testers of backflow prevention devices. The most current list of certified testers is available through the certifying agencies listed below:
Please note: New Jersey American Water does not endorse any specific backflow testers, and we are not responsible for the accuracy of the information provided on these websites. These links are provided as a resource only. There may be other qualified testers not listed on these sites.
If you have any questions, please call New Jersey American Water's Environmental Manager at 1-732-302-3141.