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Cross Connection Control Program

In Calgary, nearly all buildings have a cross connection. This is a permanent or temporary link between our drinking water system and any potential contaminant. These include but are not limited to equipment that uses or needs water to function or an irrigation system. 

Examples of cross connections:

  • lawn irrigation and sprinkler systems;
  • wash basins and janitor service sinks;
  • boilers;
  • solar heating systems;
  • water conditioners;
  • water recirculating systems;
  • reclaimed water systems;
  • processing tanks;
  • industrial fluid systems and compressors,
  • and fire protection systems.

Since all water systems are subject to backflow an approved backflow preventer or cross connection control device is installed on the plumbing system to protect Calgary’s drinking water from contamination.

Cross connection devices prevent water that has been used for industrial processing, washing, irrigation, or heating and cooling from potential suction or reverse flow back into our drinking water.

The City of Calgary monitors and enforces annual testing and compliance of these devices in order to protect Calgary's drinking water supply.

Frequently asked questions

What are a homeowner’s responsibilities?

Homeowners must ensure no cross-connections exist on their property that could contaminate their water supply. Cross connection locations include the following:

  • Outside taps (eg., garden hose attached to an outside tap with the end of the hose connected to a pesticide sprayer, left submerged in an ornamental pool, or laying on the ground with the water running;
  • In-ground lawn watering (irrigation) systems

Cross connection examples

  • After market bidet attachments for toilets
  • Laundry sink connected with hose(s)
  • Handheld shower heads left immersed in water
  • Trap seal primers
  • Boiler for in-slab or comfort heating
  • Fire protection system
  • Hot tub or spa
  • In-home water treatment (softener) system
  • High-pressure washer

What are a business owner's responsibilities?

Businesses and building owners must ensure that the required cross connection devices are installed and tested on a yearly basis.

To protect the health and safety of your personnel and the general public, it’s advisable to have a certified cross-connection control tester conduct an onsite hazard assessment to eliminate or provide backflow protection on all cross connections.

A plumbing permit is required to install a testable cross connection control device. For additional permit information, please contact Planning and Development.

Who are certified cross control testers?

The names on our certified cross connection tester list have an active registration with The City of Calgary. It is not an endorsement of the tester business practices or workmanship.

A certified tester is any individual who is registered with The City of Calgary Water Services as a Cross Connection Control Specialist with a current American Water Works Association (AWWA) Backflow Tester’s Certificate from Western Canada Section (WCS) AWWA.

I have received a letter about annual testing – what should I do?

If you received a letter, you need to have your cross connection device tested by a certified tester who is registered with the City of Calgary.

View a list of certified cross connection testers.

After testing is completed, the tester should submit the report to our office within 30 days. Check with your tester to make sure the report was filed with us and that you have received a copy of the test report.

If you need to check if we received your report or advise you no longer own or live at the address please contact 311 or submit an online service request.

What if I do not comply with testing or installation requests?

Failure to comply with the Water Utility Bylaw could result in fines, water service interruptions and property or business owners being held liable for damages

Cross connection resources

Contact us

If you have questions about cross connection or need to speak to a member of our cross connection team, please contact 311 or submit an online service request.

A representative will respond to you within five business days.

Seasonal Irrigation Note:

As per the Water Utility Bylaw section 39.3e: "A test must be performed at the time the system is turned on at the beginning of each irrigation season."