Residential Cross Connection Program

Residential Cross Connection Program

The Neenah Water Utility is required by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to conduct a cross connection control survey of residential water customers every 10 years to ensure the safety of your water supply. The initial survey is done by water utility staff and the property owner is notified of any areas of noncompliance with DNR Code 810.15. The property owner is required to make necessary corrections. Some devices, but not all, are sold and installed by the Utility. If you choose to make the necessary corrections yourself, you will need to schedule a cross connection recheck appointment for the utility to verify compliance. Compliance is mandatory.

To schedule a Cross Connection Recheck Appointment click here

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Cross Connection?

A cross-connection is a point in a plumbing system where the potable supply may come in contact with a source of contamination.  State plumbing codes require approved backflow prevention devices, assemblies, or methods to be installed at every potable water connection.

How Can Contamination Occur?

Water normally flows from the municipal water system through the customer’s plumbing. Under certain conditions water can flow in the reverse direction, potentially exposing your drinking water to contaminants.

What is Backflow?

Backflow occurs when the water in the customer’s plumbing (the pipes after the water meter) travels backward. There are two situations that can cause the water to backflow: Back-siphonage or Backpressure.

What is Back-Siphonage?

Back-siphonage can occur due to a loss of pressure in the municipal water system such as during a water main break or a system repair. This creates a siphon in the plumbing system which can draw water out of a sink or bucket through a submerged hose.

What is Backpressure?

Backpressure may be created when a source of pressure, such as a boiler, creates a water pressure greater than the pressure supplied from the municipal water system. This may cause potentially contaminated water to be pushed into your plumbing system and the city water supply through an unprotected cross connection.

What Are Some Common Household Cross Connection Hazards?

  • Hose faucets
  • Toilets
  • Boilers
  • Lawn and garden irrigation systems
  • Bathtubs
  • Laundry or utility sinks with threaded faucets

How Often Will Buildings Be Inspected, and by Whom?

All single family and duplex homes will be inspected when the water meter is changed.  This occurs approximately every eight to ten years.  The Water Utility technician changing the water meter will perform the cross connection control inspection.

What Areas of My Home Will the Technician Need to See?

The technician will need to see common areas where potential cross connections may exist.  This may include the basement, hose faucets, irrigation systems, boilers, etc.

How Will I Know What the Technician Found?

The technician will complete a cross connection form for each building inspected.  A copy of the completed form will be given to the property owner or tenant indicating compliance or  non-compliance with a list of changes needed for compliance.

Who Is Responsible for Eliminating a Cross Connection or Installing a Device to Prevent Cross Connection Contamination?

The property owner is responsible for eliminating any cross connections or installing the appropriate backflow prevention within 30 days of a notice of non-compliance.  Non-compliance may be remedied directly by the owner or his/her designee during or after the inspection.  If non-compliance is remedied after the inspection is complete, contact Neenah Water Utility to make an appointment for a follow-up inspection.

What Happens if I Refuse an Inspection or Do Not Make the Required Changes?

This program was adopted to help ensure safe drinking water for everyone. In accordance with City of Neenah Code Section 17-27 and §810.15 Wis. Stats., Neenah Water Utility is authorized to disconnect the water supply service for refusal to allow an inspection, uncorrected non-compliance, or in the event a hazardous cross connection exists. Reasonable time is allowed for making required corrections identified during the inspection.

What is Potentially Dangerous About an Unprotected Hose Faucet?

The purpose of a hose faucet is to allow easy attachment of a hose for water use. However, hoses can be extremely hazardous if they are left submerged in swimming pools, laid in elevated locations when watering shrubs, attached to a hose with a chemical sprayer, or left in a laundry sink. Hoses are often left lying on the ground, which may be contaminated by fertilizer, pesticides, or herbicides.  Back-siphonage may occur when there is a loss of pressure in the water system creating a siphon which can draw contaminants into the drinking water system of your house. If someone drinks, cooks or bathes in contaminated water, there is a risk of serious illness or death. While occurrences are rare, the use of proper backflow protection can prevent this from happening.

What Protection Is Required for a Hose Faucet?

A hose faucet vacuum breaker should be installed on every non-compliant faucet to protect your water supply from contamination.

In the Kitchen – Sinks and Dishwashers

Kitchen sink faucet outlets must be at least 1″ above the top rim of the sink.

If there is a hand sprayer it must have approved back flow prevention built into it. Compliant devices should have ASSE 1025 or an ASME 112.18.1 stamped on the back of the faucet. If there is no number or cannot be proven compliant, it must be replaced.

In the Bathroom – Sinks and Bathtubs

Bathtub and sink faucet outlets must be at least 1″ above the top rim of the tub or sink.

Handheld shower heads (if present) must have approved backflow prevention. Compliant devices should have ASSE 1014 or ASME 112.18.1 stamped on the fixture.  If the hand held shower is not stamped, it must be at least 1″ above the tub when hanging.

In the Bathroom – Toilet Tanks

There are many unapproved toilet tank fill valve products sold at common retailers that do not meet the State plumbing code requirements for backflow prevention.  Use approved ASSE 1002 fill valves.  Verify the critical level (CL) marking on the device is at least one inch above the overflow.