CROSS-CONNECTION CONTROL AND BACKFLOW PREVENTION
The Williamsburg Water Department makes every effort to ensure that the water delivered to you home and business is clean, safe and free of contamination. Our staff works very hard to protect the quality of the water delivered to our customers from the time the water enters the town, throughout the entire treatment and distribution system. But what happens when the water reaches your home or business? Is there still a need to protect the water quality from contamination caused by a cross-connection? If so, how?
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 equipments that allows the drinking water to come in contact with non-potable liquids, solids or gases (hazardous to humans) in event of a backflow.
What is a backflow?
Backflow is the undesired reverse of the water flow in the drinking water distribution lines. This backward flow of water can occur when the pressure, created by equipment or a system, 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 that many water consumers are unaware of, a problem that each and 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/business. In fact over half of the country’s cross-connection incidents involve unprotected garden hoses. There are very simple steps that you as a drinking water user can take to prevent such hazards, they are:
• NEVER submerge a hose in soapy water buckets, pet watering containers, pool, tubs, sinks, drains or chemicals.
• NEVER attached a hose to a garden sprayer without the proper backflow preventer.
• Buy and install a hose bibb vacuum breaker on any threaded water fixture (ex. Outside hose connections, sinks with a hose connection). This inexpensive device is available at most hardware and home-improvement centers.
• Identify and be aware of potential cross-connections to your water line.
• Buy appliances and equipment with a backflow preventer installed.
• Buy and install backflow prevention devices or assemblies for all high and moderate hazard connections.
If you are the owner or manager of a property that is being used as a commercial, industrial or institutional facility you must have your property’s plumbing system surveyed for cross-connection by your water purveyor. If your property has NOT been surveyed for cross-connection, contact your water department to schedule a cross-connection survey.
The Massachusetts Drinking Water Regulations, 310 CMR 22.00, requires all public water systems to have an approved and fully implemented Cross-connection Control Program (CCCP). The Williamsburg Water Department is working diligently to protect the public health of its drinking water customers from the hazardous caused by unprotected cross-connections through the implementation of its cross-connection survey program, elimination or proper protection of all identified cross-connections, the registration of all cross-connections protected by a reduced pressure backflow preventers (RPBPs) or a double check valve assemblies (DCVAs), and the implementation of a testing program for all RPBPs and DCVAs.