PROTECTING YOUR HOME AGAINST CROSS-CONNECTIONS
Without proper protective devices, something as innocent as a garden hose has the potential to poison your home's water supply. In fact, unprotected garden hoses are responsible for over half of the nation's cross-connections.
What is a cross-connection?
A cross-connection is a permanent or temporary piping arrangement between a potential source of contamination and any drinking water system piping.
What is backflow?
Water distribution systems are designed so that water flows in one direction from a water service provider to your home. Water flowing opposite its normal path is called backflow. Changes in pressure within the distribution system cause this reversal in flow.
A potentially hazardous cross-connection occurs every time a garden hose sprayer is used to apply insecticides or herbicides on a lawn. Using a garden hose to clear a stoppage in a sewer line is another example of a potentially dangerous cross-connection.
Without a backflow prevention device between your hose and hose bibb (spigot or outside faucet), the contents of the hose and anything it is connected to can backflow into the piping system and contaminate your drinking water.
This hazardous situation sometimes affects more than a single home. In 1977, the National Guard rationed drinking water to an entire town while its water distribution system was flushed and disinfected following contamination. Investigators determined that two residents spraying DDT had made direct cross-connections to their homes. A backflow condition occurred and DDT was sucked into the home piping systems and out through the town's water distribution system.
Backflows due to cross-connections can cause sickness and even death; however, it can be avoided by the use of proper protective devices. Each spigot at your home should have a hose-bibb vacuum breaker installed. This is a simple, inexpensive device, which can be purchased at any plumbing or hardware store. Installation is as easy as attaching a garden hose to a spigot.
Don't let your Irrigation System
Contaminate the Water you Drink
Irrigation systems make watering lawns and gardens easier but, water that may be contaminated by weed killers and/or fertilizers can be siphoned back into your drinking water. Irrigation systems not protected by approved backflow prevention assemblies could endanger the health of a household, neighborhood or an entire water distribution system.
ALL IRRIGATION SYSTEMS, new or existing, MUST BE EQUIPPED with an approved backflow prevention assembly. Only properly installed, state-approved backflow prevention assemblies meet the plumbing code and provide protection for your family and neighbors.
American Backflow Prevention Association
American Backflow Prevention Association Carolinas Chapter
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
Cross-Connection Control and Backflow Prevention Program
Seneca Light and Water Permitted Backflow Testers