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Backflow & Cross Connection Control

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This ordinance is in accordance with the minimum requirements of the North Carolina State Department of Environment, Health and Natural Resources, the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act 1974/86/96 (P.L. 93-523),the North Carolina State Administrative Code (Title 15A, Subchapter 18C), the North Carolina State Plumbing Code (Volume II), and the International Plumbing Code (most recent edition), that pertain to cross
connections with the public water supply.

Purpose and Objectives

The purpose of this ordinance is to prevent any waterborne disease, organism, or contaminant from entering Chatham County's water system through:

1. The installation of backflow prevention devices whenever a new service connection to a property is installed.

2. The elimination of cross connections whenever a hazard is found to exist through a site survey, the type of use is changed or the plans for the modification of the water service connections are subject to review and approval by Chatham County.

The specific objectives of the Backflow & Cross-Connection Control Ordinace for Chatham County are as follows:

1. To eliminate all cross connections within the county’s public potable water supply.

2. To protect the public potable water supply of the county against actual or potential contamination by isolating within each consumer’s water system, contaminants or pollutants which could, under adverse conditions, backflow through uncontrolled cross connections into the public water system.

3. To eliminate or control existing cross connections, actual or potential, between the potable water system of consumers and non-potable or industrial piping system.

4. No Grandfather Clause Exists.


1. State of North Carolina/Health Agency. The North Carolina Department of Environment, and Natural Resources (NCDENR) Division of Environmental Health has the responsibility for promulgating and enforcing laws, rules, regulations, and policies to all water purveyors in the State of North Carolina in carrying out an effective Cross Connection Control Program.

The N.C. Division of Environmental Health also has the primary responsibility of insuring the water purveyor operates the public potable water system free of actual or potential sanitary hazards, including unprotected cross connections. They have the further responsibility of insuring that the water purveyor provides an approved water supply at the service connection to the consumer’s water system; and, that the water purveyor requires the installation, testing, and maintenance of an approved backflow prevention assembly on the service connection when required.

2. Water Purveyor. Except as otherwise provided herein, the Water Purveyor’s (Chatham County’s) responsibility is to ensure a safe water supply beginning at the source and continuing throughout all of the public water distribution system, including the service connections, and ending at the point of delivery to the water system of consumers. In addition, the county shall exercise reasonable vigilance to insure that the consumer has taken the proper steps to protect the public potable water system. To ensure proper precautions are taken, the county is required to identify, prevent, and eliminate potential hazards to the public potable water system; to determine the degree of hazard or potential hazard to the public potable water system; to determine the degree of protection required; and to ensure proper containment protection through an on-going inspection program.

3. Plumbing Inspector: The Plumbing Inspectors have the responsibility to not only review building plans and inspect plumbing as it is installed, but also to prevent cross connections from being designed and built into plumbing systems. Where the review of building plans indicates or detects the potential for cross connections being made an integral part of the plumbing system, the Plumbing Inspector has the responsibility, under the North Carolina Plumbing Code, for requiring that such cross connections be either eliminated or provided with an approved backflow prevention assembly, where the service line approaches private property and continues throughout the entire length of the consumer’s water system. The Inspector shall inquire about the intended use of water at any point where it is suspected that a cross connection may exist, or where one is designed for installation. When a cross connection is discovered, a suitable backflow prevention assembly shall be required.

4. Consumer. Each consumer has the primary responsibility of preventing pollutants and contaminants from entering his/her potable water system or the county’s public potable water system. The responsibility of each consumers starts at the point of delivery from the public potable water system and includes all of the consumer’s water system(s). To accomplish this, the consumer at the consumer’s own expense, shall install, operate, test, and maintain an approved backflow prevention device. Each consumer shall maintain accurate records of tests and repairs made to backflow prevention assemblies and shall maintain such records for a minimum period of three (3) years. The records shall be on forms approved by the county and shall include the list of materials or replacement parts used, the dates of all tests and repairs, and the identity of the contractor. Following any repair, overhaul, re-piping, or relocation of a consumer’s backflow prevention device, the consumer shall have it tested to insure that it is in good operating condition and will prevent backflow. Tests, maintenance and repairs of backflow prevention devices shall be made by a certified backflow prevention device tester.

5. Certified Tester. All backflow prevention assembly testers must become certified or re-certified every two (2) years through a North Carolina AWWA/WEA approved backflow prevention certification program. When employed by the consumer to test, repair, overhaul, or maintain backflow prevention assemblies, a Certified Tester will be responsible for:

a. Making competent inspections and for repairing or overhauling backflow prevention assemblies and making reports of such repair to the consumer and responsible authorities on forms approved by the county including the lists of materials and/or replacement parts used.
b. Be equipped with and be competent to use all the necessary tools, gauges, manometers and other equipment necessary to properly test, repair, and maintain backflow prevention assemblies.
c. Ensure that original manufactured parts are used in the repair of or replacement of parts in a backflow prevention assembly.
d. Not to change the design, material, or operational characteristics of an assembly during repair or maintenance without prior approval from the county.
e. Provide a copy of all test and repair reports to the consumer and to the county within ten (10) business days of any completed test or repair work. A certified tester shall maintain such records for a minimum period of three (3) years. Performing the work and ensuring the accuracy of all tests and reports. All certified testers must obtain and employ backflow prevention assembly test equipment, which has been evaluated and/or approved by the county. All test equipment shall be checked for accuracy annually (at a minimum), and calibrated, if necessary, employing an accuracy/calibration method dictated by the manufacturer of the equipment acceptable to Chatham County’s Public Utilities Division.  Certification of the accuracy and calibration shall be provided to the county annually.

View the Cross Connection Control Ordinance



For more information on backflow prevention and the county's Backflow & Cross Connection Control program, call the Public Utilities Division at (919) 542-8270.