Backflow Prevention & Cross Connections

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The Town of Harwich works very hard to protect the quality of the water delivered to our customers from the time the water is extracted from underground aquifers to when it reaches our customers. But there still a need to protect the water quality from contamination caused by a cross-connection.

What is a cross-connection?

A cross-connection occurs whenever the drinking water supply is or could be in contact with potential sources of pollution or contamination.  Cross-connections exist in piping arrangements or equipment that allows the drinking water to come in contact with a pollutant in the event of a backflow.

What is a backflow?

Backflow is the reverse of the water flow in the drinking water distribution lines.  This backward flow of water can occur when the pressure created by an irrigation system or home equipment such as a boiler or air-conditioning is higher than the water pressure inside the water distribution line (backpressure), or when the pressure in the distribution line drops due to routine occurrences such as water main breaks or heavy water demand causing the water to flow backward inside the water distribution system (backsiphonage).  Backflow is a problem every water customer has a responsibility to help prevent.

What can I do to help prevent a cross-connection?

Without the proper protection, something as simple as a garden hose has the potential to contaminate or pollute the drinking water lines in your house. There are simple steps you can take to prevent such hazards:

If you believe a cross-connection exists at your property, have your plumbing system surveyed for cross-connections.  For more information, contact the Harwich Water Department at 508-432-0304.