Cross Connections

About Cross Connections and Back Flow

A cross connection is a physical or potential connection between drinking water and a source of water that is not safe to drink, such as a swimming pool, irrigation system, or water contaminated with cleaning products or other chemicals.

Back Flow can happen when there is less pressure in the City distribution system than in a building's internal plumbing. In this situation, water from internal plumbing can be siphoned back into the piping of the distribution system. Back Flow can also happen within a home or business if a pipe breaks in the internal plumbing. Both these circumstances can contaminate water and make it unsafe to drink.

How the Attleboro Water Department Controls Cross Connections

According to 310 CMR 22.22 (3)(b), the Attleboro Water Department is required to have a cross connection control distribution system protection program plan (CCCPP) approved by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

The Water Department's CCCPP satisfies all of the requirements of 310 CMR 22.22 (3)(b) by doing the following:

  • Educating residential water users about cross connection control
  • Ensuring that all back flow devices are installed according to manufacturer's instructions and local regulations
  • Ensuring that all testable back flow devices are tested and inspected with the schedule set by DEP
  • Ensuring that all testing and surveying related to the cross connection program is performed by an employee licensed in the State of Massachusetts
  • Maintaining records of all actions and correspondence related to cross connection control
  • Not allowing cross connections in the distribution system
  • Performing periodic cross connection surveys of all industrial, commercial, and institutional facilities served by the Water Department, and ensuring that cross connections are eliminated or protected if found
  • Submitting an annual report to DEP summarizing all testing and surveying performed within the previous year

Cross Connection Survey

A cross connection survey is an inspection of the internal plumbing of a facility. This inspection is performed by an employee of the Attleboro Water Department who is licensed in the State of Massachusetts as a cross connection surveyor. The survey determines if any cross connections exist within a facility, and if so, gives a deadline by which the cross connections must be eliminated or protected by a back flow prevention device. Surveys are performed on new construction, anytime the plumbing of a facility is changed or upgraded, and periodically for all commercial, industrial, municipal, and institutional properties served by the Water Department.

Back Flow Prevention Devices

A back flow prevention device is a plumbing assembly that is installed at a cross connection to protect drinking water both inside a building and in the City's distribution system from water that is potentially contaminated. These devices are installed when it is not possible to eliminate a cross connection by otherwise changing the plumbing. Devices are tested by a licensed employee of the Water Department on a regular basis, annually or semi-annually, depending on the device type.


The City's Cross Connection Ordinance (16-13) (PDF) was revised in November of 2011.


Fees for testing, surveying, and administrative services that the Water Department performs are listed in the table.

Service Fee
Back flow test
$65 per device
Survey $85 per unit per day
Application for back flow prevention device permit plan review
$50 per device
Application for back flow prevention device removal (including inspection)
$50 per device
Permit for hydrant connection
$200 per connection
Administration fee for test of back flow prevention device by an approval alternate tester
$25 per device