PROTECTING YOUR HOME AGAINST CROSS-CONNECTIONS Without proper protection devices, something as useful as your garden hose has the potential to poison your home’s water supply. In fact, over half of the nation’s cross-connections involve unprotected garden hoses. What is a "cross-connection"? A cross-connection is a permanent or temporary piping arrangement which can allow your drinking water to be contaminated if a backflow condition occurs.
A potentially hazardous cross-connection occurs every time someone uses a garden hose sprayer to apply insecticides or herbicides to their lawn. Another cross-connection occurs when someone uses their garden hose to clear a stoppage in their sewer line. Without a backflow prevention assembly between your hose and hose bibb (spigot or outside faucet), the contents of the hose and anything it is connected to can backflow into the piping system and contaminate your drinking water. This hazardous situation can affect more than a single home. In 1977, an entire town in North Dakota had to be rationed drinking water from National Guard water trucks while the town’s water distribution system was flushed and disinfected following contamination by DDT. Investigation determined that two residents spraying DDT had made direct cross-connections to their homes. A backflow condition had occurred, sucking the DDT through the home piping systems and out into the town’s water distribution system. Backflows due to cross-connections are serious plumbing problems. They can cause sickness and even death. However, they can be avoided by the use of proper backflow prevention assemblies. Each spigot at your home should have a hose-bibb vacuum breaker installed. This is a simple, inexpensive assembly which can be purchased at any plumbing or hardware store. Installation is as easy as attaching your garden hose to a spigot. Are you unknowingly exposing your family to potentially harmful bacteria and viruses? All too often people who use a blue dye toilet tank freshener complain about “blue water” appearing at their kitchen sink. Where did this “blue water” come from? That’s Right – The Toilet Tank And, did you know that you may be exposing yourself and your family to bacteria and viruses just by flushing your toilet? Experts say that each time you flush your toilet, a little bit of sewer gas seeps into your toilet tank. To prevent the seepage of sewer gas and the germs associated with it from getting back into your drinking water, it is essential that the toilet flush valve in your toilet tank be properly air-gapped from the water contained in your toilet tank. An air gap is essential to prevent a cross-connection between your drinking water and the sewer. Air gaps eliminate cross-connections between your drinking water and the contaminated water in your toilet tank. Unfortunately, not all toilet flush valves provide this essential air gap. If a cross-connection exists, the slightest change in water pressure could allow contaminated water to backflow into your house, including your kitchen sink. To prevent this type of backflow, be sure to install a “plumbing-code approved” toilet flush valve. The air inlet on the flush valve MUST be located above the water level maintained in the tank by the float and the overflow pipe. It is important that the refill tube be attached to the over-flow pipe and properly air gapped above. Incorrect installations create cross-connections. For more information on cross-connection control and backflow prevention for your home or business, please contact the Water Field Operations Division- City of Cocoa Utilities Department 433-8890. ATTENTION PROPERTY OWNERS Effective: OCTOBER 1, 2008 The City of Cocoa Utilities Department will have a Contractor test your backflow prevention assembly each year. The cost for this will be on your monthly utility bill. Do not hire a Plumber or Contractor to test your backflow assembly. City of Cocoa Utilities Department 351 Shearer Boulevard Cocoa Florida 32922