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Cross-Connection Control

 

Part III of Chapter 62-610, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.), deals with public access reuse systems. These systems include irrigation of golf courses, residential areas, parks, school grounds, and edible crops.

The three key components to a Part III reuse system are:

  1. Production of a high quality reclaimed water at the domestic wastewater treatment facility,
  2. Cross-connection control, and
  3. Ensuring that reuse customers and the public are informed about the proper use of reclaimed water.

The focus of this article is cross-connection control. Reclaimed water meeting the requirements of Part III of Chapter 62-610, F.A.C., is similar to drinking water in that it is sparkling clear and meets many of the drinking water standards. However, it is not meant for drinking water purposes. Since, it is virtually impossible to distinguish reclaimed water from drinking water by sight and scent, it is important that cross-connections between reclaimed water lines and drinking water lines be prevented in order to protect public health.

Before a public access reuse system is placed into operation, the permittee must develop and obtain Department acceptance for a cross-connection prevention and inspection program as discussed in Rule 62-610.469, F.A.C. [see Rule 62-610.491(1)(b), F.A.C.] Public access reuse systems cannot be placed into operation until the DEP receives documentation of a Department accepted cross-connection control and inspection program for all public drinking water supply systems located within, or providing service within areas to be served by reclaimed water.

Code of Good Practices for Water Reuse

DEP and the Florida Water Environment Association’s Water Reuse Committee developed the Code of Good Practices for Water Reuse as a guide for reuse utilities. The Code of Good Practices for Water Reuse essentially defines quality reuse programs. The importance of ensuring that effective cross-connection control and inspection programs are enforced is highlighted in the Code of Good Practices for Water Reuse.

Responsibilities of Owners/Operators of Public Access Reuse Systems

It is the permittee’s responsibility to ensure that:

  1. Reclaimed water delivered to users is of acceptable quality for the intended use at the point of delivery such that public health and environmental quality are protected;
  2. Reclaimed water is used in a manner consistent with Chapter 62-610, F.A.C., and the permit, by conducting inspections within the reclaimed water service area to verify proper connections, monitor proper use of reclaimed water, and minimize the potential for cross-connections. (Inspections are required when customers first connect to the reclaimed water distribution system and periodically thereafter);
  3. Users of reclaimed water are informed about the origin, nature, and characteristics of reclaimed water; and limitations on the use of reclaimed water. (Informed users make better decisions and will use reclaimed water appropriately, and informed users are less likely to create cross-connections between drinking water and reuse lines.) [see Rules 62-610.800(12) & 62-610.468(6), F.A.C.]

Cross-Connection Control Rule Requirements

Rule 62-610.469(7), F.A.C., strictly prohibits cross-connections to potable (drinking) water systems. Rule 62-610.469(7)(a), F.A.C., directs the permittee to submit documentation of Department acceptance for a cross-connection control program pursuant to Rule 62-555.360, F.A.C., for all public water supply systems located within areas to be served by the reuse system.

Rules 62-610.469(6) and (7)(b) through (h), F.A.C., specify requirements aimed at cross-connection control such as:

  1. Separation distances between reclaimed water lines and other domestic water lines;
  2. Labeling of reclaimed water valves and outlets to warn the public and employees that the water is not intended for drinking (Labels must bear the words, "Do not drink" in English and Spanish together with the equivalent standard international symbol);
  3. Converting existing domestic wastewater lines to reclaimed water lines (Permittee must provide affirmative demonstration that all existing connections will be eliminated);
  4. Inspecting reclaimed water lines to minimize the potential of cross-connections; and
  5. Color coding of reclaimed water pipes, valves, and outlets to differentiate reclaimed water from domestic or other water lines. (Reclaimed water piping which is not manufactured of metal or concrete, must be color using Pantone Purple 522C using light stable colorants. Metal and concrete pipe shall be color coded or marked using purple as a predominant color.)

Note: It is recommended, but shall not be required, that distribution and application facilities located on private properties, including residential properties, be color coded using Pantone Purple 522C.

Rule 62-610.800(7)(a), F.A.C., requires the permittee to obtain written approval from the Department before placing the initial portion, part, or phase of a reuse system permitted under Part III of Chapter 62-610, F.A.C., into operation. Written application to place a reuse system into operation must be made using Form 62-610.300(4)(a)3. Approval to place a reuse system into operation shall be granted if the requirements in Rule 62-620.630, F.A.C., are met.

Record Drawings: Record drawings are required for as discussed in Rule 62-620.630, F.A.C. Record drawings are needed for additional portions as well as initial portions of the reuse distribution system. Record drawings for relaimed water facilities located on private property are recommended but not required. [see Rule 62-610.800(6), F.A.C.]

Reporting to DEP: In 1999, the Annual Reuse Report was revised to include requirements for reporting cross-connection control and inspection activities of public access reuse systems.

Checklist: The following checklist can be used to help reuse utilities meet the cross-connection control requirements of Chapter 62-610, F.A.C.

Recommended Communication with Regulatory Agencies

As noted in the Code of Good Practices for Water Reuse, effective communication and establishment of partnerships with the regulatory agencies are key elements in reuse system management. This is particularly true for the Part III public access reuse system. Multiple agencies (local and state) may have interest and involvement in the implementation and review of cross-connection control activities. Effective communication is needed to ensure that all parties are aware of what’s happening within the reuse system.

The permittee is required to obtain written permission from the DEP before the initial part of the reuse system is placed into operation. However, formal notification to DEP or other agencies is not required as subsequent portions of the reuse system are constructed.

Given the importance of cross-connection control issues and emphasis placed on establishing partnerships and effective communication in the Code of Good Practices for Water Reuse, it is recommended (but not required) that the utility notify the DEP district office, the county health department, and other parties involved in the implementation of the cross-connection control program as additional portions of the reuse system are constructed.

Last updated: September 21, 2011

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