The Water Butler

All Ways Plumbing


Better Water
Better Life

Minnesota Plumber Minneapolis MN

Drinking Water Systems and Uncontrolled Cross Connection

What is a Cross Connection? A cross connection is a point in a plumbing system where the potable water supply is connected to a non-potable source. Briefly, a cross connection exists whenever the drinking water system is or could be connected to any nonpotable source (plumbing fixture, equipment used in any plumbing system). Pollutants or contaminants can enter the safe drinking water system through uncontrolled cross connections when backflow occurs.

Drinking Water Systems May Become Polluted or Contaminated Through Uncontrolled Cross Connection

Backflow is the unwanted flow of non-potable substances back into the consumers plumbing system and/or public water system (i.e., drinking water). There are two types of backflow: backsiphonage and backpressure. Backsiphonage is caused by a negative pressure in the supply line to a facility or plumbing fixture. Backsiphonage may occur during waterline breaks, when repairs are made to the waterlines, when shutting off the water supply, etc. Backpressure can occur when the potable water supply is connected to another system operated at a higher pressure or has the ability to create pressure, etc. Principal causes are booster pumps, pressure vessels, elevated plumbing, etc. A backflow preventer is a mechanical device designed to prevent backflow through cross connections. However, for backflow preventers to protect as designed, they must meet stringent installation requirements.

Cross Connections Can Create Health Hazards

Why Be Concerned? Most water systems in the United States have good sources of water and/or sophisticated treatment plants to convert impure water to meet drinking water standards. Millions of dollars are spent to make the water potable before it enters the distribution system so most water purveyors think that their supplies are not in jeopardy from this point on. Studies have proven this to be wrong. Drinking water systems may become polluted or contaminated in the distribution system through uncontrolled cross connections. Cross connections are installed each day in the United States because people are unaware of the problems they can create. Death, illness, contaminated food products, industrial and chemical products rendered useless are some of the consequences of such connections. As a result, many hours and dollars are lost due to cross connections.

Backflow Testing and Repairs

What is a backflow? Why do you have to pay to have your plumbing system tested for backflow or cross contamination? A backflow preventer is high hazard prevention device. More simply put, it prevents toxins from one part of a water system from flowing into the fresh water supply line and endangering public health. As an example: chlorine or ecoli bacteria from a pool getting into the water supply and contaminating drinking water. The reason water lines need to be tested is because each state (and some municipalities) has certain plumbing codes and standards they uphold to keep the local fresh water supply safe from contamination. Most have strict codes to make sure each backflow preventer device is working properly. If you have a backflow device at your home or business, you will receive a letter stating that your device needs to be tested periodically. Plumbing Contractors are licensed to test your backflow preventer devices and ensure they are preventing cross contamination and your potable water supply is safe. Just call a licensed Minnesota plumber to come out and test for backflow. If there is a problem, they can fix it right away and they will provide you with a written cost estimate for any repairs that need to be made. If everything is working properly, they will forward your test results to the appropriate city officials to let them know you have complied with backflow inspection requirements and your system is safe. Read an informative article on the risks of backflow cross contamination. Prevalence of Cross-Connections in Household Plumbing Systems Download this Study