Cross Connection/Backflow Prevention

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Cross connection is any point in the water distribution system that has the potential to introduce contaminates into the drinking water supply and can create backflow.

Two types of backflow:
Back siphonage can occur by putting a garden hose into a swimming pool to fill it or when a hose is connected to a container that applies chemicals to a lawn.

Back pressure occurs when the backflow pressure on the downstream side of a piping system is greater than the pressure on the upstream side.  Back pressure can occur with pumps, elevated piping, thermal expansion, and pressurized containers.

Cross connections can be protected with a backflow preventer assembly that prevents contaminants from being drawn back into the water distribution system.

The City has adopted the International Plumbing Code, which requires that an approved backflow preventer be installed and tested annually on all cross connections.

  • A Cross Connection/Backflow Permit is required to install or replace a backflow preventer.
  • An Individual Trade Permit Application is required to disconnect and remove backflow and equipment.
  • All residential lawn irrigation systems are required to have either a pressure vacuum breaker (PVB) or a reduced pressure zone (RPZ) backflow preventer. All hose bibbs are required to have an atmospheric vacuum breaker.
  • All backflow preventer assemblies are required to be tested by a Certified Backflow Tester when they are installed, after repairs are made, after relocation and at least once per year thereafter.  The City notifies when the annual backflow test is due.
  • Testing Requirements for Certified Backflow Testers.
  • Commercial Facilities requiring Backflow Prevention.


Irrigation systems should be winterized and the backflow preventer should be shut off, drained and/or removed for the winter. 

If your backflow preventer freezes and breaks a Cross Connection Permit is required if the backflow preventer is replaced.

Additional Resources

Contact Cross Connection Permit – Annual Test at OlatheConnect or call 913-971-9311 for additional information.


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