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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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physical connectionPhysical Connections

Plumbing cross connections are actual or potential connections between a potable and non-potable or unapproved water supply and constitute a significant public health hazard and are controlled by the use of backflow prevention valves. This program protects the public water system from contamination by an unapproved water supply by requiring installation and testing of backflow prevention devices (double check valve assemblies and reduced pressure zone backflow preventers) installed on the public supply lines where they enter facilities, generally near the water meter on domestic lines and before the alarm check and siamese connection for fire lines. From January 2012 testing shall be by a certified tester with a valid backflow prevention device tester certificate (see below).

New Jersey regulations require a physical connection permit be obtained by the owner of a facility (not a private residence) containing an unapproved water supply and a public community water supply. The permit has to be renewed annually and requires each backflow prevention device covered by the permit to be tested quarterly. To apply for or renew a Physical Connection Permit, please complete the appropriate application Forms (below). Further information on cross connection control is available in the EPA Cross Connection Control Manual (below).

FAQs for Physical Connection Permits

Physical Connection Permit Online Processing
The Department is implementing an online process for the renewal of physical connection permits. Information and instructions can be obtained on our Electronic Permitting page

Q1: What is a cross connection?
A1: A cross connection is an arrangement of pipes or hoses that allows the potable water supply to be connected to a line that contains a contaminant. For example an ordinary garden hose connected to a sill cock with the end lying in a pond.

Q2: What is the most common cross connection?
A2: The ordinary garden hose is the most common cross connection in that it can be easily connected to the potable water and used for hazardous applications such as connected to weed killer sprayers, fertilizer applicators, or left lining in a swimming pool. A reduction in the water pressure in the house could draw these contaminants back into the household plumbing system and the water main in the street.

Q3: What protection should I install on a sill cock?
A3: A hose bibb vacuum breaker should be installed on every sill cock.

Q4: What protection should I install on my garden/lawn irrigation system?
A4: An Atmospheric Vacuum Breaker should be installed and it should be at least six inches above the highest sprinkler head provided there are no downstream control valves (no zones to your system) otherwise use a Pressure Vacuum Breaker installed at least 12 inches above the highest sprinkler head. Please consult your plumbing code official for additional information and requirements for irrigation systems.

Q5: Do I need a backflow prevention device on the supply to my boiler or furnace?
A5: Yes a backflow prevention device is needed, please consult your plumbing code official for the required type for your particular system.

Q6: Have there been cases where the public supply has been contaminated due to the lack of a backflow prevention device?
A6: Yes there are cases where the public supply has been contaminated and there are various reports that list these occurrences. If you require specific examples please contact the technical support unit.

Q7:Do I need a Physical Connection permit?
A7: examples below

Who I am

Public water supply

Other water supply

Whether a permit is needed

Private residence

Yes

None

No

Private residence

Yes

Irrigation well

No, but you may be required to install a backflow prevention device. Contact your public water system or plumbing code official for further information.

Private residence

Yes

Gray water wastewater system

No, but you may be required to install a backflow prevention device. Contact your public water system or plumbing code official for further information.

Private residence

Yes

Hydraulic sump pump

No, but you may be required to install a backflow prevention device. Contact your public water system or plumbing code official for further information.

Business

Yes

Well

Yes, if any plumbing connected to the well enters the building(s) which have a public supply

Business

Yes

Pond to supply fire suppression sprinkler system

Yes

Car wash

Yes

storage tanks for the recovery and recycling of the water

Yes

Homeowners association

Yes

Development with its own sewage treatment plant

Yes, if the public supply enters the sewage treatment plant.

Municipal Utilities Authority

Operates it

Also operates waste water system

Yes, for each waste water pump station and sewage treatment plant that also has public supply entering its buildings.

Residential care facility

Own PWS with wells

Connection to municipal system

Yes, if your PWS is a “public non-community water system”; no, if your PWS is “public community water system.”

Industrial facility

Yes

Large storage tanks of process water

Yes, as storage tanks are considered an “unapproved source.”

Office building

Yes

Fire suppression sprinkler system supplied by PWS by service connection separate from drinking water line

Yes, if the fire suppression system contains an additive such as antifreeze or for corrosion control

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Last Updated: September 16, 2014