Cross-Connection and Backflow Control

As your drinking water provider, the Cocoa Utilities Department’s has an obligation to provide the safest drinking water possible. Our Cross Connection and Backflow Prevention Program is an important part of providing that security. The purpose of this program is to protect our water consumers from hazards that can be caused by backflows and cross connections.

What is a cross connection?

A cross connection is any potential or actual connection between the water system and an outside source. Once two sources of water are interconnected there is a potential for contaminants and pollutants to enter the drinking water supply. Examples include:
  • Watering a garden
  • Irrigation systems (system fed, reclaimed water, or pond fed)
  • Outside hose bibs
  • Wash basins
  • Photo developing equipment
  • Swimming pools
  • Hospital equipment
  • Fire sprinkler systems
  • Car washes
What is backflow or backsiphonage?

Normally, your drinking water flows from Cocoa’s Claude H. Dyal Water Treatment Plant through pipes to your home or business. When that flow is reversed that is called backflow or backsiphonage. This can happen when there is stoppage of the water supply due to nearby firefighting, repairs or breaks in city main, etc. When the flow reverses or backflows it can carry unwanted substances from an outside source into the drinking water supply. Examples include:
  • Swimming pool water flowing through a filler hose
  • Car wash chemicals siphoning back into the water system
  • Irrigation water fed my reclaimed water or pumped from a well or retention pond flowing back through an illegal connection into the drinking water distribution system

What is a backflow assembly or backflow preventer?

A backflow assembly or backflow preventer is a testable device that prevents the flow of water and contaminants backwards into the drinking water system. It is required by law to be inspected and tested when first installed. Commercial properties must have their backflow devices tested once per year after installation.

Why are cross connections dangerous?

If the drinking water supply is connected to a contaminated water source, or if a backflow is created and a contaminant enters the drinking water system it can affect more than just the specific residence or business. It can potentially affect all of Cocoa’s water customers.

What is Cocoa doing about it?

Florida Administrative Code 62-555.360 – updated May 5, 2014, requires that the Cocoa Utilities Department is responsible for the installation, testing and maintenance of all backflow prevention assemblies. Some of the major points of Cocoa's Cross Connection Control Program are:
  • Public education on the subject
  • Cross connection ordinance
  • Cross Connection Control Program Manual 
  • Mandatory annual testing
  • Inspections and prioritizing of suspected high hazard
The key to a successful backflow prevention and cross connection control program is to determine the degree of hazard to the water system if backflow from a particular property occurred. Once the hazard level is identified then the proper protection can be installed. To determine the degree of hazard and the proper backflow protection needed the Cocoa Utilities Department must conduct site inspections on all properties. The results of these surveys provides data about:
  • The level of hazard (risk) present at each type of facility
  • The recommended backflow device to prevent water system contamination during a backflow/backsiphonage event
  • All new customers must have a hazard survey
Cross-Connection Devices must be tested:
  • Annually for commercial customers
  • Biannually for residential customers
  • Replace dual check valves every 5 to 10 years
  • Repair/replace/install CCC devices as needed to maintain protection of water supply
Types of cross-connection control devices:
  • Air Gap (AG) - Minimal protection (Gap=2X diameter of outlet & no less than 1” above rim)
  • Dual Check (DuC) - Good protection (Low hazard residential)
  • Double Check (DC) - Better protection (High hazard residential/low hazard commercial)
  • Reduced Pressure (RP) - Best protection (High hazard commercial)

What can I do about it?

Educate yourself on the subject. The following links may help you understand more about the risks and remedies of cross connection:
American Backflow Prevention Association
FDEP Cross Connection & Backflow Prevention Program
UF Backflow Prevention Courses
Florida Administrative Code 62-555.360


Cross connection in a swimming pool

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Double Check Valve (DC)


Double Check Detector Assembly (DCDA) Firelines

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