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Protecting Your Drinking Water


There are simple steps you can take in order to protect your home's drinking water from contamination through a cross-connection and/or backflow.

What is a cross-connection?
A cross-connection is an actual or potential connection between the safe drinking water (potable) supply and a source of contamination or pollution.  State plumbing codes require approved backflow prevention methods to be installed at every point of potable water connection and use.  Cross-connections must be properly protected or eliminated.  Examples of cross-connections are backsiphonage and backpressure.

  • Backsiphonage occurs when a loss of pressure in the municipal water system during a fire fighting emergency or water main break and/or repair creates a siphon in your plumbing system, which can draw out water from a sink or bucket and back into the municipal water system
  • Backpressure occurs when a source of pressure (such as a boiler) creates a pressure greater than the pressure supplied from the municipal water system, which may cause contaminated water to be pushed into your plumbing system through an unprotected cross-connection.

Where in your home can you prevent backflow?

  • Bathtub and Shower Fixtures
  • Toilet Tanks
  • Boilers
  • Laundry Tub and Other Drain Lines
  • Outside Faucets and Spigots

What can you do to protect your drinking water?

  • Verify and install proper backflow protection on lawn irrigation systems and have tested at appropriate intervals by a certified tester.
  • Verify and install a simple hose bibb vacuum breaker on all threaded faucets around your home.
  • Verify water treatment devices such as a water softener have the proper "air gap" of at least 1" above any drain.

What don't you do?  

  • Don't submerge hoses in buckets, pools, tubs, sinks, or ponds.
  • Don't use spray attachments without a backflow prevention device.
  • Don't connect waste pipes from water softeners or other treatment systems directly to the sewer or submerged drain pipe; make sure there always is a 1" "air gap" separation.