Cross Connection Control Program

What is a cross connection? 

When drinking water piping connects to various plumbing fixtures or water utilizing equipment a cross connection is created. If improperly protected, contamination can result when a backflow event occurs; allowing possible contaminants to reverse flow from the fixture/equipment back in to the drinking water piping. 

Modern plumbing fixtures generally have a built-in backflow protection. Toilet fill valves, clothes washers, dishwashers, and refrigerator/ice makers employ some type of built-in air gap or backflow preventer as their method of protection. Around the home and office, for the most part, standard plumbing fixtures do not present a hazardous condition; however, additional protections are required for household fixtures such as, hand held shower heads, hose bibbs, lawn irrigation, boilers, and fire protection systems. 

What type of backflow preventers do I need to install and/or monitor? 

There are two basic types of backflow preventers: testable and non-testable. 

Testable backflow preventers are generally required on the more hazardous cross connection applications, such as, lawn and landscape irrigation systems, boilers, and fire protection systems. By federal, state, and local ordinance, annual testing is required to ensure the assembly is in good working order. This is due in part because the working components of a backflow assembly have a fairly short life expectancy and/or because sediment and debris can easily block their proper function. 

When required testing fails to produce satisfactory results, assemblies must be cleaned and/or rebuilt as needed and then retested. Un-repairable or obsolete assemblies must be replaced. 

An example of a testable backflow preventer is a reduced pressure zone valve (pictured below), which protects your drinking water and the Village's water supply from possible contaminants in a backflow event.


Non-Testable Backflow Preventers are generally required on the less hazardous cross connection applications, such as, hand held shower heads, hose bibbs, and residential humidifiers. These devices come with a manufacturer's recommendation for cyclical replacement, while others are good for the life of the fixture they serve or until they visibly fail (leak externally). 

An example of a non-testable backflow preventer is a hose bibb vacuum breaker (pictured below), which is a simple device used to prevent backflow installed on an outdoor faucet.


What is Title 35? 

As of April 2019, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has made revisions to its Rules and Regulations Title 35, which contains state mandates regarding backflow prevention. As part of these revisions, the Village of Western Springs is now required to adopt an active cross-connection control program to include the following: 

- A cross connection control survey and inventory of the distribution system shall be conducted at least every two years by the official custodian or an authorized delegate. The purpose of this survey is to compile and update an inventory of devices. This survey is not intended to include an actual visual inspection of piping or plumbing systems by the official custodian. 

- An ordinance, tariff, or required condition for service whichever is applicable, which includes a plumbing code at least as stringent as the Illinois Plumbing Code, 77 Ill. Adm. Code 890, shall be adopted and enforced. 

- The Village of Western Springs Code 8-5-9 explains in further detail all information related to the Cross           Connection Control Program and the violations and fees associate with non-compliance. 

- Cross connection control programs shall include a record system which will maintain data on inspections, re-inspections, repairs, alterations, and tests. Records submitted to the community water supply shall be available for inspection by IEPA personnel in accordance with Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 111 1/2, par. 1004(e). 

- The maintenance log  shall be regularly maintained and include: a date of each test, device model name and number, device serial number, name and approval number of person performing test, test results, repairs or servicing required, repairs and date completed, and servicing performed and date completed.

What information do I need to submit annually as part of the survey?

Per Title 35 regulations, the Village will need to create and maintain a database containing cross connection control device information. Your device is required to be tested annually and to be in working condition. 

The Village of Western Springs has contracted with BSI Online to assist with State required cross connection/backflow tracking regulations. BSI Online will serve as the primary point of contact for the program and can be contacted utilizing the information below: 

Testing Company Support:  

Water Customer Support: