In the plumbing industry, there’s a concept called cross-connection. A connection problem occurs when there’s a direct line between potable water supply and hazardous fluids such as wastewater. As property owners, it’s crucial to control this situation because of the health risks to you and your tenants.
Understanding these concepts can help protect your property from water contamination and keep your residents safe before you have a plumbing emergency. So, this article will dig dive into the basics of cross-connection control and signs to look for.
Know What Cross Connection Control Is
Cross-connection control is the practice of protecting water from potential contamination by backflow. In other words, it’s a method of locating and maintaining or installing barriers to ensure dirty water doesn’t flow backward and contaminate the clean supply.
The Importance Of Backflow Preventers
On a property, this is an important device. It’s a mechanical or plumbing barrier that preserves the public water supply from potentially hazardous substances. While there are different types of backflow preventers, one purpose they all have in common: to protect people from accidental contamination. This device applies pressure to the water to stop it from pushing in the opposite direction. The following are some of the most common types.
- Air Gap
- Hose Bib Vacuum Breaker
- Double Check Detector Assembly (DCDA)
- Atmospheric Vacuum Breaker (AVB)
- Reduced Pressure Zone Device (RPZ)
- Double Check Valves (DCV)
How To Control Cross Connection
Contamination can happen by reverse pressure or back-siphonage. Reverse pressure occurs when water flows from the clean side into the contaminated source due to pressure differences. As you can see, this poses potential risks for residents and property owners. However, protecting against these dangers can be simple. Here are your five steps to avoid and test cross-connection.
Know Your State Regulations
Before you start, find out your state’s guidelines on cross-connection control. It usually requires compliance with the local authority of your area. By knowing this information, you can work quickly to ensure you’re following the best practices for protection.
Determine The Potential Threats In Your Area
To further protect yourself, it’s also important to know what threats are around you. For example, there may be more cross-connection risks if your property’s location is near a chemical facility, gas station, or fracking rig. You can find out about these risks by reaching out to your local health department or asking a professional.
Identify Water Sources On Your Property
Identify all water sources on your property so you can determine which ones are vulnerable to cross-connection control issues. This problem includes the main water source, outdoor faucets, garden irrigation system, and other sources.
Act Quickly When A Problem Occurs
If you find water damage or any other water issues, act quickly to avoid contamination. First, cut off the water supply to the area where the problem occurred before flushing any remaining cross-connection control substances out of the system.
Common Signs Of A Cross-Connection
When you’re on the lookout for a problem, it’s helpful to know what some of the signs may be. You can detect cross-connection risks by looking for the following:
- Discolored Water
Water discoloration is an immediate sign that there could be a backflow or cross-connection issue. If your property’s water becomes discolored, take care of the problem as quickly as possible.
- Unpleasant Smell
Bacterial and chemical odors can be a sign of back-siphonage and cross-connection issues. If you notice a foul odor or coming from your water, it’s crucial to address the problem immediately. Another thing, if your water tastes rusty, it’s a clear sign of a cross-connecting sewer line somewhere on your property.
- Pressure Issues
Pressure issues can also be a sign of cross-connection control risk. If your water pressure changes, the best course of action is to check for cross-connection risks as soon as possible. It may be due to debris build-up in the pipes or a dirty water filter system.
- Increased Water Bills
One of the first things you should do if your water bill increase is to check for cross-connection risks. If your bill spikes, it may be due to leaks in the water system or the presence of pollutants resulting from reverse pressure or back-siphonage. How can back-siphonage elevate water bills? Due to pressure differences, it occurs when water flows from the clean side into the contaminated source.
Other factors that may be apparent before or during testing include gurgling sounds in pipes, unusual noises from your building, or the water main turned off and on. Additionally, it’s recommended to test your cross-connection control annually. Visually inspect all water source fixtures for signs of leakage, cracks, or anything that doesn’t look right. It’s also best to pay close attention to areas where pipes are and any signs of rust or corrosion around them.
Cross-connections are generally unintentional. It can occur by incorrect installation, damage during general maintenance, or the aging of system components. You can effectively reduce its risks by taking proper precautions and implementing preventive cross-connection protection.