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What is Back Flow & Cross Connection?

Our water system is a pressurized system, with water typically flowing in only one direction.  A sudden drop in pressure somewhere in the system can reverse the flow and suck substances in to the water system that could potentially cause contamination of the drinking water.  This is known as backflow.

We make every effort to maintain positive system pressure, however, unplanned events such as main breaks and firefighting activities, might cause backflow to occur.

A cross connection is any plumbing arrangement where potable water pipes are connected to a piping system or fixture that carries non-potable water or harmful substances.  Any cross connection poses a contamination risk to the water system and must be controlled by a backflow prevention device.  Hot tubs, auxiliary water systems such as wells, and sprinkler and irrigation systems are some common situations where a cross connection might be present.

Safeguarding the Water Supply

Our cross connection and backflow program seeks to eliminate cross connections wherever possible or assure that backflow protection devices are installed and assist property owners in complying with state regulations. Oregon plumbing code dictates when property owners must install a backflow prevention device.  Under Oregon Administrative Rule 333-061-0070, we are responsible for assuring that required backflow devices are installed correctly and tested regularly.

Backflow prevention assemblies are mechanical devices, and like all mechanical devices, can malfunction or wear out.  Consequently, all backflow assemblies installed must be tested by a certified backflow tester annually to make sure they are working as designed and the results submitted to Sunrise.  A list of state certified backflow testers is maintained by the Oregon Health Authority to help homeowners locate qualified testers.

Oregon Administrative Rule 333-061-0070 (5) makes water suppliers responsible for assuring property owner compliance with testing requirements.  failure to comply with required testing may result in disconnection of water service.  Contact our Backflow Prevention Program staff to determine if your property is required to have a backflow device.


Last updated: 3/20/2019 3:16:47 PM