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Cross Connection Control Program

Purpose of the Program

In order to ensure the delivery of safe, clean drinking water to the residents and businesses within the municipality, the Town of Amherstburg has passed a By-law requiring all Industrial, Commercial, Institutional and some Multi-residential properties to comply with the CSA Standard for  the installation and maintenance of backflow prevention devices.


  • "Backflow" is the undesired reversal of water flow against the  normal direction;
  • "Backflow Prevention Device" is a mechanical device that prevents backflow and is sometimes called a backflow preventer;
  • "Cross connection" is a connection between the municipal water system and any source of contamination.


How Backflow Can Happen

  • Backflow can occur when the water pressure in the municipal delivery  system drops, as in the case of a water main break or when the Fire Department is drawing water from a fire hydrant.
  • Backflow may also occur when pumps on a private plumbing system raise the water pressure within a building to a level higher than the water pressure in the municipal water main.
  • Backflow can also occur within a building and can be very dangerous, such as when a boiler with chemical additives is connected to the same water lines as a drinking fountain.

 backflow diagram


Case Histories

March 7, 2005    Stratford Ontario

  • Detergent from car wash was pumped into the municipal water system, making the municipal supply non-potable for 7 days


Labour Day Weekend 1997    Guelph Ontario

  • A petroleum chemical backflows into the municipal drinking water system


October 1989    Edmonton, AB

  • Contaminated water from a fire hose cabinet was discovered coming out of a drinking fountain

Jun 1987    Kitchener, ON

  • On June 14, 1987 the employees of an electroplating plant in Kitchener, Ontario noticed the water from one of the plant's drinking fountains "looked like Kool-Aid" and had a metallic taste. By Friday, June 19, twenty-nine workers had reported being exposed to nickel contamination. Eleven were in the hospital, and six others were under observation by their family doctor for symptoms of nickel poisoning. Ingested nickel could harm the lungs, kidneys, liver and immune system.The nickel solution most likely entered the plant's water system by backsiphonage through a submerged inlet (cross connection) to a plating rinse tank.  The submerged connection was not protected by a backflow prevention assembly.

An Inspector from the Amherstburg Building Department will conduct a survey of all Industrial, Commercial, Institutional and some multi-residential properties to determine what action, if any, is required to bring these properties into compliance with the Cross Connection Control By-law.

Each property owner will be notified in writing of any action that may be required and a reasonable amount of time will be given in order to complete the necessary work.

Installation and Annual Testing of Backflow Prevention Devices

The installation of testable backflow prevention devices will require a plumbing permit from the Amherstburg Building Department.  A copy of the Permit application is on the "Forms" page of this web site.

Some types of backflow prevention devices require annual testing to ensure that they are operating properly. A copy of the Device Test Report is available on the "Forms" page of this web site.  If your property requires the installation of a testable backflow prevention device, you will be notified by the Town each year, prior to your annual testing date. A permit is not required for the testing of Backflow Preventers.

Please note that the Cross Connection Control By-law allows only plumbers who are Cross Connection Control Specialists to install and test backflow prevention devices.  A list of contractors who are qualified to install and test backflow prevention devices can be found on the page entiled "Contractors".

Contact Information

Telephone:  Amherstburg Building Department Office 519-736-5408