Cross Connections

Our public water supply system is always under pressure. This prevents any contamination from entering the system and keeps our water safe. But under certain conditions (like when there is a sudden drop in water pressure due to infrastructure work, hydrant flushing, firefighting, or a water main break), water may want to flow the "wrong way". This is called a backflow. If there is an arrangement of pipes, hoses, or anything else that would allow a backflow to enter the water system, that's called a cross-connection.

Cross-connections create opportunities for contamination to enter the system. This may come from sources connected to your home or businesses plumbing, or a hose attachment with cleaning or lawn care products. 

You can help make sure that the water we drink within our homes and businesses stays safe. Prevent cross-connections by making sure that backflow prevention devices are installed, inspected, and properly maintained by licensed and certified plumbers. A few simple steps can also help: 

  • Do not submerge hoses in buckets, pools, tubs, sinks or process tanks.
  • Do not use spray attachments to apply fertilizer or similar products without a backflow prevention device. The chemicals used on your lawn are toxic and can be fatal if ingested.
  • Buy and install backflow prevention devices (hose bib vacuum breakers) for all threaded faucets around your home or business. They are inexpensive and available at hardware stores and home-improvement centers.
  • Never install sprinkler systems, fire suppression systems, or boilers with chemical additives without proper backflow prevention devices.
  • Make sure that your softener drain line has an air gap between the drain line and the receiving drain.
  • Residential and Commercial establishments connected to the municipal water system must properly abandon all water wells onsite and provide abandonment information to the City of Kalamazoo and the Kalamazoo Environmental Community Health Department.
  • In certain situations when you need to access water through a hydrant (for certain construction or utility work, for example), you must request a backflow preventer from the City.