What is a cross-connection?
Any physical connection created between a possible source of contamination and any drinking water system piping.
What is backflow?
It is the flow through a cross-connection from a possible source of contamination back into the drinking water system. It occurs when a cross-connection is created and a pressure reversal, either as backsiphonage or backpressure, occurs in the water supply piping.
Why be concerned?
- ALL cross-connections pose a potential health risk.
- Backflow can be a health hazard for your family or other consumers if contaminated water enters your water supply plumbing system and is used for drinking, cooking, or bathing. Chemical burns, fires, explosions, poisonings, illness and death have all been caused by backflow through cross-connections.
- Backflow occurs more often than you think.
- You are legally responsible for protecting your water supply plumbing from backflow that may contaminate drinking water, either your own or someone else's. This includes complying with the plumbing code and not creating cross-connections.
What can I do?
- Be aware of and eliminate cross-connections.
- Maintain air gaps. Do not submerge hoses or place them where they could become submerged.
- Use hose bib vacuum breakers on fixtures (hose connections in the basement, laundry room and outside).
- Install approved, testable backflow preventers on lawn irrigation systems.
- Do not create a connection between an auxiliary water system (well, cistern, body of water) and the water supply plumbing.