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Cross Connection and Backflow Prevention

Protecting your drinking water supply is also your responsibility!

State regulations require residential, commercial and industrial customers served by a public water system to protect the public water system from potential contamination. Under certain conditions water from private plumbing can flow into the public water distribution system, this is referred to as backflow. In order to prevent potential backflow, some customers are required to install and maintain backflow prevention devices on the main water service lines.

Please read the list of locations requiring backflow prevention to become familiar with State of Indiana requirements.

What Is A Cross Connection?
A cross connection is a connection between a contaminated source and your drinking water system. Backflow occurs when the water flow is reversed, due to a change in pressure, and water flows backwards, into and through the system. This creates a potentially hazardous situation.

How Are Cross Connections Controlled?
The installation of a backflow prevention device, otherwise known as a cross connection control device, is required under any circumstance where contamination may occur.

What is Backflow?
Backflow is the reverse flow of water or other substances through a cross connection into the treated drinking water distribution system. There are two types of backflow: backpressure and backsiphonage.

Backpressure happens when the pressure of the contaminant source exceeds the positive pressure in the water distribution main. An example would be when a drinking water supply main has a connection to a hot water boiler system that is not protected by an approved and functioning backflow preventer. If pressure in the boiler system increases to where it exceeds the pressure in the water distribution system, backflow from the boiler to the drinking water supply system may occur.

Backsiphonage is caused by a negative pressure (vacuum or partial vacuum) in the water distribution system. This situation is similar in effect to the sipping of water through a straw. Negative pressure in the drinking water distribution system can happen because of a water main break or when a hydrant is used for fire fighting.

Who Has Responsibility For Cross Connection Control?

• Responsibility of the State – The Indiana Department of Environmental Management is responsible for administering the state regulations for cross connection control, 327 IAC 8-10.

• Responsibility of Indiana American Water – Responsible for providing customers with drinking water that meets all applicable federal and state primary drinking water standards. Indiana American Water is responsible for maintaining backflow prevention device test results.

• Responsibility of Customers of Indiana American Water – Responsible for using water in a manner that does not jeopardize the water quality in the public water distribution system. Customers are responsible for adherence to the state plumbing code. State regulations may require customers to install, maintain, and test state approved backflow prevention devices and submit test results to Indiana American Water.

What Is The State Required Frequency of Backflow Prevention Device Testing?

Reduced pressure principle devices must be tested at 6 month intervals.
Pressure Type Vacuum Breakers must be tested 1 year intervals.
Double Check Valve Assemblies must be tested at 1 year intervals.
Double Check Detector Assemblies must be tested at 1 year intervals.

Who is Eligible to Test Backflow Prevention Devices?
Only state approved and registered testers can test backflow prevention devices.

A list of Indiana certified installers and testers can be found at

Where Should I Submit My Backflow Prevention Device Test Results?
Test results must be submitted within 30 days of testing using one of the following methods, in order of preference.

FAX – Indiana American Water Cross Connection Control Dept. @ 1-866-613-5879
Email –
Mail – Indiana American Water Cross Connection Control Department, 555 E. County Line Road, Greenwood, IN 46143

Where Can I Obtain More Information?
Indiana American Water Cross Connection Department at 1-866-612-2843
Indiana Department of Environmental Management Drinking Water Branch at 1-800-451-6027
IDEM Cross Connection Control Manual

Cross Connection Control and Backflow Prevention Frequently Asked Questions


Indiana American Water Cross Connection Control Program Description

Cross Connection Survey Form

Backflow Test Report

Backflow Tags

Cross Connection Control Poster

Indiana Administrative Code

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