At Watters Plumbing, we’re here to help you understand the most asked plumbing questions and how our team can help you achieve a safe and efficient system.
We’ll guide you through what a plumbing cross connection is and where contamination commonly occurs.
What is a Plumbing Cross Connection?
A plumbing cross connection is the physical connection between two separate piping systems, one for drinking water and the other for contaminated water. Between the two, there’s a possibility of flow from one system to the other, and the direction depends on the differential pressure between the two systems.
Under certain conditions, water can backflow, pulling contaminants into the drinking water supply and forcing contaminated water into the building’s piping system. This typically occurs when there’s a change in pressure in the water distribution system, such as water line breaks, water main repairs, or rapid withdrawals from a nearby fire hydrant.
When repairing a water main, maintenance workers may provide you with a water filter for drinking and cooking until the drinking water returns to normal and is properly filtered.
Where Can Cross Connections Occur?
Great question. It’s more common than you may think.
The most common cross connection contamination occurs from your garden hose. Your hose is directly connected to the water supply system and can come in contact with various chemicals and fertilizers that are dangerous to your health.
Other common cross connections happen on boilers, pressure washers, toilets, pools, sinks, and lawn irrigation systems. And that’s why you often see air gaps on sinks, where the faucet is much higher than the bowl, effectively eliminating any cross connection and backflow.
Cross Connections and Safe Water
Plumbing cross connections present a risk of contaminated drinking water — supplying it with bacteria and other hazardous chemicals. Without knowing, you and your family could be drinking and cooking with contaminated water.
According to the World Health Organization, at least 2 million people worldwide use drinking water from a contaminated source.
Even right here at home, contamination has been an issue. The United States Environmental Protection Agency found that between 1920 and 1980, cross connections caused 78% of disease outbreaks and 95% of cases of illness. A 2008 study from the Food Safety Magazine found that 73% of all water usage was unprotected, and almost 96% of all direct or indirect cross connections were health hazards.
Thankfully, we’ve learned and improved a lot since then. We now have better trained plumbing and sanitation professionals that can spot potential issues and eliminate cross connections in your plumbing system.
Contact the Team at Watters Plumbing Today!
If you’re concerned about your drinking water, the team at Watters Plumbing would be happy to review your plumbing system and minimize cross connections.