How to Avoid Backflow and Cross-Contamination at Home

June 29, 2018 Published by Leave your thoughts

Do you leave your garden hose in your swimming pool or baby pool when you’re filling it up? Did you know that leaving the hose in the pool can draw back the water and cause your drinking water to be contaminated? So, what can you do to avoid backflows and cross-contamination when using hoses and outdoor faucets? Here are some tips from a plumber in Fremont, NE.

What you need to know about cross-connections and backflows

Found in all plumbing systems, cross-connections are the physical connections between a home’s or building’s drinking water pipe and something that is unsafe to drink water from—like swimming pools, garden hoses and sprinklers. These things are not safe to drink from because of their potential to harbor hazardous materials, such as treated pool water, soapy water, pesticides, herbicides and other dangerous chemicals. If a cross-connection becomes contaminated, then backflow has occurred.

What is backflow? Backflow can happen in the event of a water main break, fire, water pipe repair, storm or anytime there’s a period of high water usage, which can lower the water pressure at the main sewer enough to reverse the flow of water coming from your house. Or, a pipe break inside your home can send water flowing backwards between rooms. Backflow can carry bacteria and other nasty things. When the water is flowing back, it can suck bacteria, chemicals and sewage from other parts of the plumbing right into your drinking water pipes. Worse still, it can also get into your neighbors’ drinking water pipes, creating an even larger problem.

Here’s what you can do to avoid backflow issues:

  • Use a backflow device: It helps to have an approved backflow device at all hose spigots and an air gap between the water and the container being filled. Simply put, don’t leave a hose somewhere where contaminants can be sucked through the hose and back into your drinking water pipes.
  • Install backflow prevention devices: Use backflow prevention devices around your home, like on outdoor garden hose faucets. Pick up these devices at your local hardware or home improvement store.

How to protect your drinking water

You must take steps to protect your home’s cross-connections. Otherwise, your drinking water may be at risk of becoming contaminated. Here are some tips to help keep your drinking water safe:

  • Make sure all the faucet openings on sinks, bathtubs and other fixtures are above flood level, and that the water in a full basin cannot touch the faucets’ endpoints.
  • Install backflow prevention devices to protect faucet extensions. This includes all faucets that can have a hose or another kind of extension attached to them.
  • Don’t use unprotected faucets to fill things like pools and hot tubs.
  • Check drain lines on connections like refrigerator water dispensers, heat exchangers and water softeners. You want to be sure there’s a good enough air gap between the drain line and the floor drain or sewer line that it discharges into.

You must contact a plumber in Fremont, NE to handle backflow issues before the problem gets worse or people get sick. Call Wiese Plumbing & Excavating, Inc. today for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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