Page III, Archived News & Articles.....

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The BACKFLOW PREVENTION TECHZONE is a regularly updated compendium of backflow prevention / drinking water related resource materials & information links collected from around the world.  Recent to archived news stories' excerpts, and web site reviews are this collection's focus, for anyone involved or interested in the safety of potable water distribution systems, and backflow prevention or cross connection control programs.  Backflow prevention or cross-connection control education and training, for waterworks personnel, public health and municipal officials, architects, engineers, contractors, plumbers, backflow preventer testers, and students of all ages, are the central point of a series of references and links to basic through advanced technical information about the appropriate use and correct installation of drinking water system backflow preventer devices.  Why they are essential to drinking water plumbing safety and our health  will be explored extensively.  Historical to current web page links,  information, ideas, and techniques from around the world, related to backflow prevention and cross connection control between potable water plumbing, and drainage or non-potable systems, as well as other safe drinking water supply issues encompass the aim of the Backflow Prevention TechZone......




Risks and rules can surprise homeowners with sprinklers "Most people probably think of a sprinkler system as a benign thing, an easy way to keep the lawn and garden watered -- and a mostly one-time expense that will pay dividends. But the city's water department sees it as a potentially high-level hazard, requiring a permit and annual inspections that can be a big surprise, especially to homeowners who are inheriting an irrigation system along with a new house. As gardeners get their systems turned back on for spring, here are some things they need to know about staying within the law and maintaining a healthy water supply to their homes -- and their neighbors'. ...What does the city government require for operation of a sprinkler system? A permit must be obtained for the system when it is installed. At that point, the city has a record of the sprinkler system. Then, every year, the backflow preventer on the system must be checked by a registered inspector who reports the inspection to the city. Every five years, along with the inspection, the backflow valve must be rebuilt, because its parts start to deteriorate. ...If a backflow preventer is not installed or isn't working properly and there is a loss of water pressure, anything that is in the pipes and anything that is pooled around a sprinkler head -- including bacteria-infested soil and pesticides -- can be sucked backward into the water supply. It's similar to drinking out of a straw: As long as you're sucking on the straw (applying pressure), the liquid goes into your mouth. When you let up on the pressure -- stop sucking -- the liquid goes backward into the cup. The contaminants can travel farther than the house that has the sprinkler system -- they can affect neighboring houses as well. Among common causes of a loss in water pressure are waterline breaks and fire. ...How many people comply with the backflow inspections? About 60 percent. The city usually is not able to contact all of those who do not comply each year. It concentrates on one ZIP code at a time." The Wichita Eagle, March 28, 2006
Reuse Water - the Other Side of the Water Saving Story " It is obviously essential that potable water supplies be conserved, and reusing treated effluent, grey water and stormwater will reduce reliance on unreliable rainfall. However, this promotion means policies and guidelines must be developed quickly and community awareness raised on both the benefits and responsibilities of reuse systems. Concerns have been raised that, as developments occur, the community and the building industry may not have adequate knowledge of the dangers associated with reuse systems, given that incidents permitting the contamination of potable supplies through cross connections have occurred both here and overseas. It needs to be ensured that those responsible have specified appropriate backflow protection and design and inspection guidelines that will provide the safest systems available. these examples show, there is still a lack of awareness as to the health risks these systems pose and any plumbing regulations applicable. ...Many cross-connections are not reported, and those involving recycled water are more likely to be so because of the similar physical and chemical appearance to potable water - unlike chemical processes that can be immediately noticeable. ...2002 Potable water line to building directly connected to reuse water irrigation line. Building occupied for three days before discovery. No illnesses reported. CAUSE: Inadequate mapping, pipe identification, facility oversight. Compliance Order issued. ...2001 New residence dual plumbed for front/backyard irrigation, had service lines switched during construction. Homeowner reported illness - outcome unknown. CAUSE: Miscommunication by various field personnel; reuse water system supplied with potable water during two month period of occupancy before discovery; contractor failed to correctly mark lines." Ecolibrium, July 2003

State failing to ensure suppliers test your water "Regulators overwhelmed by 7,000 systems; violators face little threat... Kristi Killian, mother of a 5-year-old girl and pregnant with a baby boy, keeps a strict rule in her Alexander County mobile home: No one drinks tap water.  ...Supplied by a tiny and troubled utility, water in their Cedar Woods neighborhood is laced with arsenic at levels the state deemed unacceptable beginning in 2002. Repeatedly, state regulators have ordered the owner, pharmacist Alden King, to develop plans to clean it up. They have threatened him with fines. King missed state deadlines but never paid a cent. The water he pumps to close to 40 households remains contaminated. "It's poison," said Marley, who has lived for 19 years in Cedar Woods, a mix of new and old manufactured homes in a rural stretch near Hickory, about 170 miles west of Raleigh. "I would have expected someone to step in and fix this." Most people don't give water a second thought. They bathe in it, cook with it, give it to their children to drink. They trust their government to make sure their water is safe. ...A News & Observer investigation shows that the state agency responsible for making sure drinking water is safe isn't getting the job done. The Public Water Supply Section, with 98 employees, has been overwhelmed trying to monitor safety tests required of nearly 7,000 public water systems. Those tests include checks for contaminants such as arsenic at Cedar Woods. Systems must also test for bacteria that can sicken or kill, but thousands of small systems don't obey laws requiring them to test their water and clean up contamination. The state has been unable to force compliance." The News & Observer, March 27, 2006

'Backflow' water-line attack feared "ACROSS THE COUNTRY, water utility officials are taking steps to prevent terrorists from reversing the flow of water into a home or business - which can be accomplished with a vacuum cleaner or bicycle pump - and using the resulting "backflow" to push poisons into a local water-distribution system. Such an attack would use utility pipes for the opposite of their intended purpose: Instead of carrying water out of a tap, the pipes would spread toxins to nearby homes or businesses. ..."There's no question that the distribution system is the most vulnerable spot we have," says John Sullivan, chief engineer for the Boston Water & Sewer Commission and president of the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies. "Our reservoirs are really well protected. Our water-treatment plants can be surrounded by cops and guards. But if there's an intentional attempt to create a backflow, there's no way to totally prevent it."" (We just found this 2001 Wall Street Journal article archived online, w/ some commentary [by others] following) Wall Street Journal, Dec. 28, 2001  
Public Health Significance of Cross-Connections "Public health officials have long been aware of the impact that cross-connections play as a threat to the public health. Because plumbing defects are so frequent and the opportunity for contaminants to invade the public drinking water through cross-connections are so general, enteric illnesses cause by drinking water may occur at most any location and at any time." (In the 03-06-06 DRAFT revisions to South Nevada Health District's Public Accomodations Regulations, adopted from the EPA Cross-Connection Control Manual Appendix A)
SUMMARY OF BACKFLOW INCIDENTS (210 from 1923 to 1995 + 64 CARBONATOR BACKFLOW INCIDENTS) "Thousands of backflow incidences occur daily... All it takes for a backflow condition to occur is a drop in line pressure such as fire fighting, main line breaking, high usage or back pressure. Many incidences have been recorded with some fatalities and also sicknesses caused from these incidences. There are many backflow incidents which occur that are not reported. This is usually because they are of short duration and are not detected, the customer is not aware they should be reported, or it may not be known to whom they should be reported. Some backflow incidents are detected too late to conclusively determine the cause. Many backflow incident reports are not made public. Understandingly then, the incidents reported in this publication are only a very small number of the incidents that have occurred. ...The backflow incidents reported in this manual are provided to give the reader an appreciation of the potential for contamination of a potable water system. It was not the intent of this manual to provide an in-depth account of each incident. Each incident is a summary of information obtained from one or more sources. Source information was accepted as accurately reflecting the backflow incident."Pacific Northwest Section, American Water Works Association ...See the FULL descriptions of these incidents here 

Examples of Backflow Incidents "There are numerous and well documented cases where cross-connections have been responsible for contaminating drinking water resulting in the spread of disease. ...Even in or near our own city (Lincoln), the right circumstances occurred resulting in cross-connections as evidenced by the following incidents. The first documented incident occurred in Huskerville, Nebraska, in 1952.  ...The area, originally built as a military base hospital, was converted in 1946 to a housing area for married students attending the University of Nebraska. The area was approximately three blocks wide and five blocks long. A detailed study conducted by two research doctors within the Lincoln area revealed a very close spatial relationship between the distribution of polio cases and the location of flush valve water closets not provided with vacuum breakers. There was also a relationship between the outbreak and the occurrence of extreme fluctuations of pressure within the water mains in the area. A full report was published in the American Medical Association Journal regarding this tragedy, which left two dead and 18 persons permanently paralyzed with polio. Also within the past several years, we have experienced back siphonage conditions resulting in milk in our distribution mains near a local creamery and hot boiler water in our distribution system near a public high school. Both of these backflows were initiated by broken water mains." Lincoln Water System

World's Water Wells Are Drying Up! "Around the world, groundwater from deep wells is the main source of drinking water for over three billion people. In addition, a large proportion of the food supply in many poor countries is based on irrigation from wells. However, almost all of the world's wells have falling water levels, and declining yield, and already, many have run dry. These deep water wells cannot be replenished from rainfall. The source of the groundwater that supports these three billion people lies in the interior of the Earth. There is a continuing release of water from the interior towards the surface of the Earth, and we see that in the steam of volcanoes, and the water gushing from deep ocean vents. ...From early times, men dug wells by hand, and lifted water in buckets for their needs. Many civilizations were established where groundwater was available at oases or in shallow wells. The ancient Romans built aqueducts to bring springs of groundwater to their many cities around the shores of the Mediterranean." Executive Intelligence Review, March 10, 2006
Contractor admits role in scheme "A building (plumbing) contractor pleaded guilty yesterday to shelling out more than $200,000 in bribes to win business at the Springfield Housing Authority, giving prosecutors a key witness in the upcoming trial of former authority director Raymond B. Asselin and his family. At his arraignment in U.S. District Court, Nicholas M. Katsounakis of Southwick, owner of Manny's Plumbing and Heating Inc., admitted helping one of Asselin's sons buy an insurance agency in South Hadley and installing a $5,000 water heater at former state Rep. Christopher P. Asselin's backyard pool in Springfield. To secure his spot in the authority's contracting scheme, Katsounakis also was forced to write a $77,200 check for Raymond Asselin and his former top aide, Arthur G. Sotirion, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney William M. Welch II. "In essence, it was a pay-to-play system," said Welch, adding that contractors often referred to bribes for Asselin as the "A Factor" and for Sotirion as the "S Factor." Katsounakis, who received more than $6.4 million in business during the past decade, pleaded guilty to three bribery counts. Under federal sentencing guidelines, he could face between 46 and 57 months in prison. ...The housing authority case is part of a larger federal anti-corruption campaign that has targeted more than a dozen taxpayer-financed agencies in Springfield, from the city's Office of Community Development to the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority. So far, 11 people, including former Police Commission Chairman Gerald A. Phillips, have been convicted; more than a dozen others, including former City Council President Francis G. Keough III and ex-Mayor Michael J. Albano's chief of staff, Anthony M. Ardolino, are awaiting trial.", March 2, 2006
MH may enforce backflow ordinance "An amendment putting more teeth into a current ordinance to prevent the backflow of pollutants into the city's water system, along with three annexation requests, are on the agenda for the Mountain Home City Council, which is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. Thursday in Council Chambers of the Municipal Building. All commercial businesses and some residents who have lawn sprinkler systems are required to have backflow preventors on their systems. If there is a break in the main water line, it could create a vacuum in the system, according to officials. Backflow preventors, if not working properly, could draw water with pesticides and fertilizers from the lawn back into the main line. During a meeting in February, Water Superintendent Johnny Moore said work was being done on an amendment to the backflow prevention ordinance. Both city and state regulations require backflow preventors to be checked annually, with the Water and Sewer Department sending out letters annually reminding customers who have backflow preventors to have them checked. According to the amendment, if the customer fails to comply within the 30-day period, the city would have the backflow preventors inspected and charge the customer $50. Any customer found in violation of the ordinance could be subject to a fine of $50 to $100 per day." The Baxter Bulletin, March 15, 2006
Belly Up to the Sink "It's Homer Simpson's dream come true. The phrase "beer on tap" took on a literal meaning for a Norwegian woman who turned on her kitchen faucet this weekend to find the alcoholic drink pouring out instead of plain old H2O. ..."I turned on the kitchen faucet and beer came out." Meanwhile, patrons and employees at the Big Tower Bar in Kristiandsund in western Norway were having their own mix-up two floors down, with water gushing out of the beer taps. All had a botched plumbing job to thank for the miracle. You see, someone at the bar accidentally connected the beer hoses to the water pipes for Gundersen's apartment." ...Per Egil Myrvang, of the local beer distributor, said he helped bartenders reconnect the pipes by telephone. "The water and beer pipes do touch each other, but you have to be really creative to connect them together," he told local newspapers. Gundersen joked about having the pub send up free beer for her next party.", March 13, 2006
Wasteful Mexico City Hosts Water Summit "Mexico City is plagued by an almost diabolical combination of floods and water shortages, rising sewage and sinking water tables. What better place for world leaders to come together to discuss how to better manage water? Many of the 20 million people of this metropolis get by on as little as one hour of running water per week, while almost all the copious rainfall is flushed unused down the sewers, creating a gargantuan flow of wastewater that the city's few treatment plants can't handle. As with New Orleans, Mexico City is on life support, but on a much larger scale. ...Mexico City's system serves no one very well. Almost everyone buys bottled water or expensive home water systems. But it serves the poor worst. For many, bad water or none at all is just another fact of life.  ...The city water system isn't bad because it's cheap. Because it's bad, it's terribly expensive. City water pipes are leaky, low-pressure and often dry, so every home must have an underground storage tank, as well as a system to pump the water up to a rooftop storage tank from which to flow down. ...Officials occasionally launch halfhearted campaigns to get people to drink tap water, but while they swear it's safe when it leaves treatment plants, they say it's often contaminated in aging, ill-maintained home tanks and plumbing.", March 12, 2006
Utility to get $21.7 million for pollution "Six years after one of South Carolina's worst industrial pollution incidents forced a Lexington County utility to shut down, a chemical company has been forced to pay more than $20 million in damages. A jury awarded the Lexington County Joint Municipal Water and Sewer Commission about $1.7 million in actual damages Wednesday, according to Melinda Powers, law clerk for Circuit Court Judge Larry Patterson. The actual damages against Tin Products Inc. include about $640,000 to replace the treatment plant. The jury also recommended the utility receive a total of $20 million in punitive damages, an amount Patterson then approved. That amount breaks down to $10 million levied against Tin Products itself and $10 million levied against former Tin Products President Charles Sanford, Powers said. Tin Products made chemicals used in vinyl siding and plastic plumbing and jars. From 1999 to 2000, those chemicals contaminated a 12-mile stretch of the Red Bank Creek and the Congaree River, killing fish and shutting down Cayce's water treatment plant. Water-use restrictions were imposed on 55,000 residents, and federal officials spent $2.1 million to clean up the 45-acre manufacturing plant.", March 10, 2006
Tech Brief - Cross Connection and Backflow Prevention "When drinking water is transported to a consumer, it is possible for contaminants to be introduced in the distribution system. This situation may occur due to connections between potable water lines and non-potable water sources or by a water flow reversal, resulting in contaminated water. This Tech Brief, discusses cross connections and backflow, and explores ways to prevent these situations. ...Numerous, well-documented cases about illnesses and other hazards posed by cross connections have been documented. More information about the health risks cross connections may present and methods to prevent them is needed. Water utility personnel (managers, operators, local officials), plumbers, public health officials, and consumers need to be aware of the risks and understand prevention methods." National Drinking Water Clearinghouse
Landscape Sprinkler Design Tutorial - Backflow Preventers "You must have a backflow preventer on your irrigation system. In most places this is the law, everywhere else its just the smart thing to do. Almost everywhere the local authorities will dictate that certain types of backflow preventers may not be used with irrigation systems because they do not provide adequate protection. In some cases, the authorities will dictate the exact type of backflow preventer you MUST use. ...Your landscape has all kinds of nasty things in it that will make you sick or worse if you drink them. Thus irrigation water is considered a contaminant (creates a health hazard) rather than just a pollutant (is objectionable in color or odor). What's in irrigation water? How about toxic chemicals (fertilizers, pesticides, etc.) and animal waste? (Not that I want to gross you out, but every day millions of dogs lift their legs in a fond salute to their favorite sprinkler head!) These things can and WILL come back up your irrigation pipes and into your drinking water if you don't stop them. If you have a well they can go down your well and into everyone else's drinking water. If you are on a community water system you will be poisoning your neighbors."
DEP cites city for second violation "WALTHAM -- City officials Friday made public a second citation by the Department of Environmental Protection, which faulted city efforts over the past two years to inspect systems that keep industrial contaminants out of the water supply. In spring 2004, the water and sewer department stopped outsourcing inspections of cross connections, the devices that prevent industrial or commercial equipment from backing up into the water supply, contaminating it with chemicals or waste. Since August 2005, inspections have been handled by Water and Sewer’s cross-connection inspector, Jason Devane. But Devane has only tested existing devices, not surveyed businesses to ensure the devices are in place wherever they are needed, the DEP said. "They failed to adequately perform the proper inspections," DEP spokesman Joe Ferson said Friday. ...Cross-connection inspection is important to ensure that machines fed from the water supply -- in dentist’s offices and factories, for example -- do not back up into the system. This could happen, Ferson said, if a break occurs in a water main, reducing pressure flowing into such machines. A cross connection allows water to flow in, but will not let it escape out. ...However, he conceded the testing program might not be adequate to catch owners of smaller business who aren’t aware they need cross connections. ...The Department of Environmental Protection citation requires a cross-connection survey program be in place by April 13. Pittorino said bids for the project will be due from outside contractors by March 21. He estimated the survey will cost about $80,000." Daily News Tribune, March 6, 2006
City officials: Cross connection could prevent widespread illness "The proposed Cañon City ordinance regulating the use of cross connection devices for the city’s water supply may, according to city officials, help prevent contamination of the potable water supply, which could lead to widespread illness. Such a danger and risk to the system is why Water Distribution Supervisor Anthony Bosco said every service tap connected to Cañon City’s water lines must have a containment device designed to prevent backflow on it. ...Bosco said residents especially could be familiar with backpressure. When a backflow device is connected to a water heater, water sometimes is blown from it that would have otherwise  flowed back into the city’s water. “When water expands inside a hot water heater, it pushes that water, which can hold bacteria or other con-taminants, into the system,” Bosco said. “When customers put the device on, we’ve had calls saying that the water is going on to the floor now because the device is doing it’s job and not allowing the water out.” Garden and sink hoses also allow a great deal of backflow, and irrigation systems have backsiphonage associated with them." Canon City Daily Record, March 3, 2006
Roof catches fire at mall construction site in Estero "A small fire broke out on the roof of the Dillard's department store at the Coconut Point mall construction site late Monday morning while a plumber was working on the building's sprinkler system, said a spokesman for Estero Fire Rescue. The plumber was using an acetylene torch to cut a hole in the building's metal roof when he ignited a debris pile, said Jim Clarke, spokesman for Estero Fire. "From where he was working, in the ceiling of the second floor, it appears he was working on the sprinkler system," Clarke said. ...Larry Nisbet, a battalion chief with Estero Fire, called the district at 11:32 a.m. when he saw smoke as he was driving by the site on the east side of U.S. 41 north of Coconut Road, Clarke said. Workers on the site were battling the blaze with fire extinguishers and had not called 911 by the time firefighters arrived, he said. ...Estero Fire Rescue shut down any "hot work" on the Dillard's project, such as welding, after officials realized the fire hydrant near Dillard's was not accessible to fire trucks, Clarke also said. Once the hydrant is relocated, probably within a day or so, work will resume as usual, he said." Bonita, Feb. 28, 2006
Hot tubs full of germs "A teaspoon of typical tap water has about 138 bacteria. A teaspoon of typical hot tub water has about 2.17 million. That's only one of the unsettling findings by a team of Texas A&M researchers. Of the 43 public and private tubs tested, a scary 95 percent showed the presence of (squeamish reader alert) fecal bacteria; 81 percent had fungi; 34 percent contained staphylococcus, which can cause deadly infections. The researchers said the lining of whirlpool pipes was where the nastiest stuff grew; when the jets are turned on, it's blown into the tub. Typical cleaning provided little protection.", Feb. 28, 2006
Backflow Prevention - Handbook and Policy "The Backflow Prevention Policy (PDF - 7.96MB) is a key component of the Backflow Prevention program. It outlines Sydney Water's requirements, for both new and existing commercial and industrial properties, where there is a risk of contaminating the water supply. ...Sydney Water is licensed to operate water, sewerage and some stormwater drainage systems in the Sydney, Illawarra and Blue Mountains areas. The Operating Licence is granted under the Sydney Water Act 1994. The Act requires Sydney Water to observe three equally important principal objectives: to protect public health,  to protect the environment, to be a successful business.  Sydney Water’s Backflow Prevention Containment Policy is aligned with these objectives. It is aimed at improving the safety of Sydney’s water supply by reducing the risk of contamination by backflow from connections to the water supply system (from the customer’s premises or standpipes). Backflow occurs when a contaminated source enters the drinking water supply. The Backflow Prevention Containment Policy outlines requirements for new and existing properties, identified as a high or medium hazard and standpipes. The policy requires all properties, identified as high or medium hazard to install a backflow prevention device at the outlet of the meter."
Anthrax Spores May Survive Water Treatment "Anthrax spores may survive traditional drinking water disinfection methods and can attach themselves to the inside surface of water pipes, suggesting water treatment facilities should be prepared to employ alternate disinfection methods in the unlikely event of the release of anthrax in the water supply. Researchers report their findings today at the 2006 ASM Biodefense Research Meeting. "The purpose of this study was to determine the fate of anthrax spores in a drinking water system that uses chlorine as a disinfectant. Though researchers have some knowledge of how other waterborne pathogens may survive or die in drinking water systems, little is understood about the fate of anthrax spores in chlorinated water systems," says Jon Calomiris of the Air Force Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Edgewood, Maryland, who conducted the study. ..."The data seem to suggest that anthrax spores can tolerate water treatment, can attach to pipes or biofilms within the pipes, and could pass through pipe systems to reach the consumer tap," says Calomiris. In the unlikely event of the release of anthrax spores into the water supply, alternate decontamination protocols (such as exposure to higher concentrations of chlorine or an alternate disinfectant for an extended period of time) may be needed as regular treatment methods may not be effective..." Science Daily, Feb. 26, 2006
Metal thefts a steal as material is easily taken, easily sold "CRIME: Recyclers are working with police to solve what's become a worldwide problem. The soaring cost of scrap metals is fueling dozens of thefts throughout Inland communities, causing not only headaches, but major dangers as well, officials said. Bandits are stripping aluminum, copper, iron and brass from wherever they can, fetching top dollar at recycling yards.  "It happens every day everywhere," Riverside County sheriff's spokesman Cpl. Dennis Gutierrez said. "It's a huge problem." The thefts are part of a crime wave hitting the planet, authorities said. Manhole covers, sewer plates, aluminum light poles, parking meters and freeway signs are disappearing - sometimes in broad daylight - in cities from Chicago to Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur.  ...This modern-day gold rush is being flamed by China's massive building boom and the high demand for materials in the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast, police and builders say. ...The United States traded more than $2 billion worth of scrap metal to China in 2004. More than two thirds of all U.S. copper exports and half of all aluminum exports go there, according to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. Southern California is one of the hardest hit because of the ongoing construction and development, according to the region's Construction Industry Crime Prevention Program. Other states under siege include Texas and Florida. ...Three people pleaded guilty in the last month to taking about 300 backflow devices from Inland businesses. The U-shaped pipes that stick out of the ground keep waste from flowing back into the main water supply. Riverside County sheriff's Sgt. Earl Quinata said the trio were paid more than $17,000 in the past year selling the copper piping to local recycling centers. Authorities say there is little they can do to prevent thefts except investigate calls that come in from the public.", Feb. 27, 2006 

Public Health Risk Management Plan Guide – Distribution System – Backflow Prevention "Backflow-prevention devices are used to stop substances that may cause sickness being drawn back into the drinking-water supply. Backflows into the main create a public health risk to the quality of water through the entire water supply. Their prevention is the responsibility of the drinking-water supplier. Backflows within a building create a risk to the health of the occupants and, under the Building Act 1991, are the responsibility of the building owner. This Guide is concerned with the prevention of backflow into the main. ...There may be risks to the health of staff who install backflow prevention devices. These are acknowledged but are not discussed further, as such risks are the subject of health and safety in employment legislation. ...Reliable information about water quality is essential for the proper management of a water supply. Knowledgeable and skilled staff are also essential for minimising the public health risks associated with water supplies." Ministry of Health, Wellington, New Zealand, June 2001

City water under boil advisory "Everybody served by the Williamsport Municipal Water Authority is strongly advised to boil all drinking water until further notice, and it is likely the advisory won’t be lifted until Friday at the earliest. The authority issued the “boil water advisory” early Wednesday afternoon after a contractor working at the authority’s wellfield south of West Third Street at Lycoming Creek ran a piece of heavy equipment over a 20-inch water main buried about a foot underground, breaking the pipe and causing a drop in water  pressure.       According to the authority, the pressure drop turned clear water to a dirty rust color in some sections of the city close to the wellfield and a systemwide increase in the “risk of microbial contamination.” According to the announcement, “a drop in water pressure” from any break “creates conditions that could allow contamination to enter the distribution system through backflow by backpressure and backsiphonage. That increases the chance “water may be contaminated by disease-causing organisms.” “Do not drink the water without boiling it first,” the alert said." Williamsport Sun-Gazette, Feb. 24, 2006
Down the Drain "On Monday morning, Joe O'Malley will leave the North Wildwood cottage he's called home since his wife left him a year ago. He'll drive about 50 miles to a small South Jersey town called Fairton, where, at around 2 p.m., he'll surrender his freedom. A convicted racketeer, O'Malley will call a federal correctional facility home until Feb. 27, 2008. ...That's the mantra of any convict, from the Joey Merlinos right on down to the nickel-and-dime smack salesmen of the world. None of them is guilty. Each of them was railroaded. ...Born and raised at 28th and Snyder streets, O'Malley became a plumber, and then an L&I plumbing inspector. As per his job description, he'd travel the city checking out plumbing jobs and, if they were up to snuff, signing off on them. As per standard industry practice dating back to the early 20th century, most plumbers would slip a $5, $10 or $20 bill into his hand upon arrival. "When I was a plumber, I tipped," says O'Malley on the shore-house couch, his attention diverted every few minutes by the ring of his cordless phone, which sits atop a stack of court transcripts. "It's tradition. It was done out of respect." ...But about a year and a half before a bug was found in Mayor Street's office, the U.S. Attorney's Office said it amounted to much more. So they videotaped 13 of the city's 14 inspectors covertly pocketing the tips and, in March 2002, charged them with racketeering and extortion. It was the first salvo in the latest wave of municipal corruption indictments, so the stakes were high for U.S. Attorney Patrick Meehan, who declared the tips were "payoffs … to do their jobs." About six months later, prosecutors started trotting plumbers through the federal courthouse to testify that they'd tipped the inspectors, who earned $40,000 a year. Several were embarrassed to be there; they said the cash had no impact on whether their work was approved. (They declared there was no quid pro quo.) Still, prosecutors maintained, they were municipal employees, not diner waitresses. Tradition or not, being on the take—regardless of how small—violated the public trust. That October, eight inspectors who didn't cut pleas went down on charges generally reserved for La Cosa Nostra: They were now an interstate "criminal enterprise."", Feb. 23, 2006 
Ordinance calls for use of backflow prevention devices "An ordinance creating formal oversight of Cañon City’s existing cross connection control program was passed Monday night in a split decision by Cañon City Council members. The ordinance will regulate installation and use of backflow prevention devices connected to the city’s water supply. Colorado Revised Statutes Article 12 requires backflow prevention devices be installed on any cross con-nections to prevent dangerous chemicals and other hazardous materials from making their way into public waters. The statute also compels businesses and some residences to have devices installed, maintained and inspected yearly at the customer’s expense. Most residential customers only will need a lower-costing double check valve, which does not require yearly inspections. Although every cross connection in the city will be required to have a backflow prevention device, the focus will be on businesses with products or services that pose a greater risk to the water supply. ...Several members of the public and business owners addressed the council with concerns about the ordinance. The cost of adding devices to existing businesses was estimated by one business owner, Dale Boody, as capable of reaching millions of dollars for Cañon City businesses as a whole. He estimates there are about 1,000 business that will be affected and the cost of having a device installed is between $500 and $1,000." Canon City Daily Record, Feb. 21, 2006

Water Contamination Events: Lessons Learned from Katrina (see the webstream of this event, RealPlayer required) "The massive water contamination event resulting from Hurricane Katrina highlighted the critical need for every community to incorporate disaster preparedness for water supply disruption and contamination in their natural disaster response and terrorism preparedness emergency plans. Dr. Meinhardt, author of Recognizing Waterborne Disease and the Health Effects of Water Contamination will review the numerous challenges created when water systems are damaged by natural disasters, man-made accidents, or terrorist activity. A series of disaster preparedness strategies specific to water contamination and which are essential elements for ALL local and state emergency response planning in order to protect the public's health will be discussed." Center for Public Health Preparedness, Feb. 9, 2006

Bismarck to enforce back flow rules "Certain Bismarck businesses will be receiving letters in the near future concerning testing of back flow devices. The board of aldermen voted during its meeting on Thursday to start enforcing an ordinance that requires certain businesses to have backflow prevention capability. Businesses that are required to have the capability include those that have a special use of water like the Bismarck School District." Daily Journal, Feb. 17, 2006


MH City Council OKs annexation (scroll down)"...Moore also told the council about an amendment to the backflow ordinance he would propose at another meeting. The city and state require backflow preventors to be checked annually, and the Water and Sewer Department sends out letters reminding residents who have backflow preventors to have them checked. Currently the department sends letters to residents with backflow preventors and does not get a response from some, so more letters are sent and, in some cases, certified letters. Moore wants the ordinance amended so that a letter with a 30-day notice be sent along with a copy of the ordinance. After 30 days, city employees would be allowed to inspect the backflow preventors if the resident did not have it done by an approved person, and the city would bill residents for the work. The department is having trouble getting people to comply, Norell said. Moore said the city would charge $50, while other plumbers charge from $35-$50 and more. Moore explained that while all commercial businesses are required to have backflow preventors, some residents who have lawn sprinkler systems also are required to have them. The problem: If there is a break in a main line, it could create a vacuum in the system. "If the backflow preventor is not there, if there is water in the yard or any contaminants in the yard, they could flow back into the main lines with pesticides and fertilizers," Moore said. "It could poison the people in that household and down along the line."" The Baxter Bulletin, Feb. 17, 2006


3rd case of Legionnaires' disease "With a third case of Legionnaires' disease confirmed in Volusia County, a Daytona Beach Shores hotel will remain closed until the hotel management completes a thorough cleaning and disinfection of the beachfront lodging. Dr. Tom Coleman, director of the Volusia County Health Department, said Thursday that the remediation work at the Seagarden Inn is voluntary and is not being done under an order from the health department. Although Coleman emphasized there is no definitive proof linking the hotel with the pneumonia-like disease, he did say: "The only known connection with these confirmed cases is that they stayed at the Seagarden Inn last month." ...The city has also checked that "backflow preventers," mechanisms to prevent water from the hotel from re-entering the water system, are working." Orlando Sentinel


Cross Connection Control Program "A cross-connection is an unprotected actual or potential connection between a potable water system and a source of contamination (such as waste water, industrial fluids, or pesticides), where backflow can occur from the source of contamination into the potable water system. Cross connection hazards are most widespread and potentially catastrophic in large metropolitan cities such as San Francisco where the water distribution system is very complex. ...The cross connection problem in San Francisco is further complicated by non-potable auxiliary water sources available to the San Francisco Fire Department such as the Auxiliary Water Supply System (AWSS). Temporary cross-connections are created when fire hoses from the fire pumper trucks connect the AWSS to the potable water distribution system and through Siamese connections found on fire sprinkler systems. In emergencies, the ocean, bay, and a network of cisterns throughout the City (all of which are highly contaminated water sources), may also be connected to fire sprinkler systems were installed without adequate (approved) back flow protection. In addition, recent inspections of these sprinkler systems revealed many if not most of them are directly connected to the sanitary sewer system at the Inspectors Test Drain." City and County of San Francisco Department of Public Health Environmental Health Section  


Crook may use trustees in city "Dennis Berg from the Colorado Department of Corrections told the Crook town council that trustees from the prison could do much of the work on the water and sewer lines for the new Crook Fire Station. The town has annexed the parcel of land on which the fire station/community building will be constructed, and is responsible for providing utilities to the site.  ...Council members again discussed the cross connection requirements for sprinkler systems connected to the town's water lines, but are not sure exactly how to proceed. They again delayed sending a letter of commitment to the Crook Fire Protection District for the new water and sewer lines. So far, they have received only one bid for the project, but would like to have at least two." Journal Advocate, Feb. 12, 2006


Water bug is yet to clear "A NOTICE to boil waterremains for Myrtleford as North East Water continues to probe the source of E Coli in the towns water. The message has been in place since the start of the month when sampling revealed the bacteria at several sites at the town. Operations manager Fiona Smith said North East Water had flushed the system to rid it of contaminated water but it was yet to pinpoint the cause of the E coli. “Until we know where its coming from it will stay in the system, so people need to keep following the instructions of the boil water notice,” Ms Smith said. ...Ms Smith said Myrtlefords UV disinfection plant provided no residual disinfection in the water supply system, meaning bacteria could form in the pipes. She said customers should heed advice on the need to prevent backflow into the system. Backflow is the unintended flow of potentially polluted water into a treated supply, which occurs as a result of an actual or potential cross connection between the supply system and an untreated source such as a water tank, bore or river pump. “If you believe you might have some sort of cross connection, please let our plumbing department know..." The Border Mail, Feb. 13, 2006Bird Bay wants city refund "City staff has "continuously harassed" the owners of Bird Bay Plaza to install backflow prevention valves, and they're asking the city to reimburse the U.S. 41 Bypass shopping center more than $35,000. Venice Utilities Department's response: Sorry about your luck, but it's the law. Commodore Realty, based in Key Biscayne, Fla., owns the shopping center and claims utilities staff demands have lowered property values and created injury risks for customers. These valves are installed on drinking water lines to prevent water from backing up into the city's system. Venice's interpretation of these rules, however, has led to these large plumbing pipes jutting out all over the plaza's sidewalks and parking lot, according to co-owner David Puyanic. He said they tried to work with the city, but the utilities staff was inflexible. "Now, the result is, the backflows are installed all through the front of the property creating trip hazards and are ugly and lowered the value," Puyanic said. "It's just this big, obnoxious thing in front of the sidewalk. We've already had someone hurt on it ...and (the city) wouldn't budge with where we could put it." Backflow prevention devices not only protect the city's drinking water supply, but the water of fellow tenants at Bird Bay Plaza, according to the city. That is why the shopping center needed 28 backflow valves, one for each of the stores there. City staff contend that each valve must be at the point of entry next to the water meter in order to be in compliance with state law and federal Clean Water Act rules.  Dual Check -- The complaints by Bird Bay Plaza are unrelated to the ones from the owners of single-family homes a year ago. Venice put its program to force homeowners to install these valves on hold after state officials couldn't agree on what's required. The state still doesn't know, though Sharek believes the state Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Health should iron out their differences by the end of the month. Neither department can agree on which homes need a backflow valve and how durable -- read "expensive" -- these valves must be. DOH officials are asking for the highest-rated backflow device for all homes, while DEP has approved dual-check valves that can be installed underground and out of view.  ...Homeowners are also protesting the cost and ugliness of copper plumbing pipes sticking out of their front lawns. Sharek said the city is pushing for approval of dual-check valves at homes considered to be "low risk," which are ones without a swimming pool, a well or reclaimed water. "They've had some discussion at the state level saying the dual-check (for single-family homes) might be OK," Sharek said. "At this point, we're not sure if they're going to approve that or not." No option  No matter what state officials decide, owners of commercial businesses and multi-family buildings like condominiums must continue installing the most expensive types of backflow devices. The alternatives are stiff fines or the city cutting off water service. Bird Bay Plaza's owners own seven other shopping centers in Florida, and no other city has required them to retrofit water lines with backflow valves. ..."They should either reimburse us if they're going to let other people off the hook, or pay for us to relocate them behind the shopping center," Puyanic said. "They're in a location that is a problem to this day. ... The way it was handled, there was no leniency. Not only do you have to put them in, you have to put them in here."" Venice Gondolier, Feb. 10, 2006


New Plumbing Guidelines - Dental Consoles "The Victorian Plumbing Industry Commission (PIC) recently updated the Technical Guidelines for plumbers regarding Water Supply for Dental Consoles. This update follows a seminar program convened by the ADAVB in May this year, at which a range of industry, Water Authority and regulatory representatives recognised that zone protection for a dental console in Australia is classified as low hazard (AS/NZS 3500 Part 1 Water Services Appendix F). This means that the recommended device is a non-testable backflow prevention device, the recommended version of which is a Dual Check Valve with Atmospheric Port (DCAP). This is a welcome development as it will mean most practices can avoid the considerable cost of fitting a testable device, and the ongoing cost of annual test visits by specially licensed plumbers. The PIC note however that backflow containment protection for dental surgeries is at the discretion of the local Water Authority." ADA Victoria, Dec. 16, 2005 

Thieves hit construction sites in north Peoria "Thieves are targeting construction sites in north Peoria. Police say that so far, 60 thefts involving brass water meters, copper pipe and backflow devices have been stolen. The thefts resulted in losses of over 40-thousand dollars to the developers and the City of Peoria. Peoria P-D says the crimes occur after the job site closes for the day and the early morning hours. ...Police have no suspect information." 4, Feb. 9, 2006


Legionaires' disease cases verified "Two cases of Legionnaires' disease were confirmed in Volusia County last month, a county health official said Saturday. One of the people died, but investigators haven't determined that the bacterial illness caused the death. An investigation was under way to determine whether there was a common source for the illness, said Dr. Thomas Coleman, director of the Volusia County Health Department. He said he wouldn't speculate on the cause of death. ...Legionnaires' disease, named after a 1976 outbreak of the disease at an American Legion convention in Philadelphia, is caused by bacteria called legionella. People can become infected by breathing in mist or vapor contaminated with the bacteria. It cannot spread from person to person, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The bacteria thrive in warm water, such as in hot tubs, cooling towers, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems, or parts of the air conditioning systems of large buildings." Miami Herald, Feb. 5, 2006


Health Risks From Microbial Growth and Biofilms in Drinking Water Distribution Systems (convoluted to link to, but go to Google and click on the first listing on...  for the full EPA pdf document, 2/8/06) "This document is one of a series of papers intended to review what is known about the health risks associated with several distribution system issues, and where relevant, identify areas in  which additional research may be warranted. ...(pg.19) Cross-connections have a significant potential to introduce microbial contamination to the  distribution system when the cross-connections are not protected by properly operating backflow preventers, and when a pressure change is experienced by the distribution system, particularly when the pressure drops to subatmospheric (emphasis added). Microbes introduced to the distribution system as a result of cross-connections and backflow can become part of the biofilm matrix, and may be released at a later time. Entry of contamination through cross-connections is a major contributor to waterborne disease outbreaks. Of 57 waterborne disease outbreaks related to backflow events identified in CDC outbreak data from 1971-1994, 20 were associated with microbial contamination. It has been estimated that, at most, 10% of cross-connection incident reports nationwide are submitted to the University of Southern California’s Foundation for Cross-Connection Control and Hydraulic Research (USEPA, 1995) in part due to systems’ concerns about potential liabilities arising from distribution system contamination. It is likely many more go unrecognized given the transient nature of many pressure fluctuations, understaffing of local cross-connection personnel, and the lack of recognition of actual cross-connections due to their transient nature."


Backflow Prevention: The Forefront of Responsible Irrigation "As the demand for potable water exceeds supply, the responsibility of the irrigation contractor grows. The contractor must protect public water supplies from contamination. Backflow prevention is a subject about which every irrigation contractor should be completely informed. Whether you do business in a state or locality that permits you to install certain types of backflow devices, or are required by law to have a licensed plumber install them, you should be able to recognize errors in installation, operation or maintenance. ...Irrigation systems might begin with potable water, but they are subject to contamination from submerged sprinklers, auxiliary water supplies, ponds, reservoirs, swimming pools and other sources of nonpotable water. Because irrigation systems may be equipped with pumps, injectors or pressurized tanks, many jurisdictions declare them high-hazard cross connections, but in others they are classified low-hazard. For any irrigation system, an approved backflow preventer must be installed at the cross-connection point to avert backflow. The backflow prevention apparatus must match the specific hydraulic conditions at the site and be capable of protecting against the degree of hazard present. Check with your local agency or municipality for codified construction requirements. This may include the state or local health department, the plumbing inspection or building permit department or the city planning department. All backflow preventers should be inspected after installation and retested annually to ensure their proper operation." Irrigation & Green Industry Network


Backflow is bad news "WHEN WE TURN ON A WATER TAP, WE EXPECT CLEAR, SAFE WATER. Backflow can introduce everything from sewage to pesticides into drinking water. It is defined as unwanted substances or water flowing back into the potable water distribution system. More municipalities are cracking down on the proper use and installation of backflow devices, and with good justification. Hundreds of people could be sickened, or even killed, because of backflow. Lawsuits are common and courts have ruled that the contractor is not immune from liability. Codes regarding the proper use and correct installation of backflow prevention devices are becoming more stringent. ...Because of the health risks that backflow can pose, it is crucial to be diligent about using the correct backflow device, and periodically maintaining and testing it. For any project, make sure you call the local authority for guidelines, and ensure that the protection is enough for the threat. Your liability may be at stake, and your city’s drinking water may depend on it." Irrigation & Green Industry Network 


Backflow Prevention Assemblies Protect Against Contamination "Backflow preventers are installed in the irrigation system to protect our drinking water, save lives and prevent illness. If you are involved in the design, installation or maintenance of irrigation systems, you need to become familiar with backflow preventers and the role they play in keeping our drinking water safe. They are more than just fittings on a system of piping to deliver water. Backflow preventers are installed in the irrigation system to protect our drinking water, save lives and prevent illness. If you understand what they do and why they are needed, you will be able to ensure that the projects you are involved with comply with local codes. A good understanding of backflow preventers will also help to reduce the risk of litigation against you from creating a cross connection and putting public health at risk. You may think that our water supply is not threatened by water used in irrigation systems. But, as reported in the October 31, 1997, issue of the Los Angeles Times, backflow incidents involving irrigation systems do happen. This article reported, "Drinking water in the system serving two schools and as many as 1,600 homes in Calabasas hillside neighborhoods was contaminated with treated sewage water intended for irrigation after a plumber working on a landscaping job mistakenly crossed two pipes." Several people became ill due to this cross connection and residents were warned not to drink from their faucets or from local water vending machines until the fresh water lines were flushed and tested. The plumber involved was exposed to potential litigation including the cost of the clean-up. This article will provide you with an introduction to cross connection and backflow prevention to help keep you within the law and outside the courtroom." Irrigation & Green Industry Network 


The Flood From Within "Each day throughout the country, water companies, known as water purveyors, send out hundreds of letters informing building owners that they must adhere to new cross-connection control standards. While not happy about the expense, building owners scramble to meet this requirement rather than face loss of water service or civil penalties. Section 1431 of the Safe Drinking Water Act (1974) places the burden of enforcement on the state, stating that “If a state fails to correct a threat of contamination, the EPA can issue an order to correct the problem, along with a penalty of $15,000 a day.” Unfortunately, building owners attempting to comply with these regulations may unwittingly put themselves at a new risk—namely flooding caused by the very backflow-prevention devices they are now required to install. There are two types of backflow-prevention devices that can discharge water if they fail: The pressure vacuum breaker (not usually used on domestic water lines) and the reduced pressure principle backflow preventer. Water purveyors require many facilities to install these devices, as they are useful in protection against both high and low hazard substances. Both have outlets to relieve pressure, and therefore can cause flooding. Given the simple fact that internal flooding can be cataclysmic for a facility, causing damage and loss of property, data, and even physical harm, it is imperative that engineers, installers, and end-users understand and address the risks." HPAC Engineering, July 2004


Guilty pleas in thefts of water district property "A Lake Elsinore man pleaded guilty Thursday for his involvement with two other people in a series of thefts of Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District property valued by authorities at more than $100,000. The thefts were of backflow devices outside businesses throughout Riverside and San Bernardino counties, Riverside County sheriff's Deputy James Rayls said. The trio would remove the devices and then take the copper piping to various recycling centers for cash, authorities said. Rayls said they were paid tens of thousands of dollars by recycling centers. At just one center, Rayls said, deputies found payouts of about $17,000 from last May through last month.  A backflow device regulates water, keeping it from flowing back into the main water supply outside, sheriff's Sgt. Earl Quinata said. About 300 such devices were stolen, each valued at between $300 and $500. The devices are pipes that protrude from the ground in a 'u' shape. Deputies say they would be cut and removed from each property. William David Messemore, 33, admitted at Southwest Justice Center on Thursday to 10 felony counts of grand theft and was sentenced by Judge James Warren to one year and four months in prison, according to Superior Court records.", Feb. 2, 2006


2 jailed in plumbing graft case "A Water Supplies officer and a plumber have been jailed for up to 36 months by Tsuen Wan Magistracy for corruption over plumbing installations. Another plumber received a suspended jail term. Assistant Waterworks Inspector Chau Kam-yun, 50, was jailed 36 months while Chan Kar-leung, 36, received 18 months. Shum Yung-kwai, 57, received an eight-month jail term, suspended for three years.  Chau was today found guilty of five charges of accepting an advantage. He took $9,000 between July 31 and September 18, 2004, from three waterworks contractors as reward for remaining favourably disposed towards the latter, who were involved in plumbing works at Fo Tan, Sheung Shui and Sha Tau Kok." Law & Order, Jan. 25, 2006


It's official: our water's getting better "WANGANUI’S H2O has defied gravity by climbing the water quality ladder. The city’s urban water supply has received an excellent new grading from the Ministry of Health. The new “Ab” grading is a significant step up from a former “Da” grading. The capital letter in the grading relates to the water source and treatment; the lower case letter is the grading of the distribution system (the pipe network that gets the water supply to the boundary of homes). ...The “b” grading for distribution (which includes the condition of the pipe network, management and water quality) means “satisfactory, very low level of risk”. ...“Over the next year it is possible for the Council to seek an “a” grade for the distribution system. “This would require us to ensure that the system’s backflow preventers operate well, which would take minimal effort (backflow preventer testing) and cost.” Backflows are devices in the system that stop water coming back into the pipe network from specific properties." Wanganui Chronicle (New Zealand's oldest newspaper), Feb. 2, 2006


Preventing backflow is good-bad "Some things in life are a good-bad thing. Take my dentist, for instance. She keeps my teeth fixed and cavities filled, but then she sticks a needle into my gums and doesn't let me spit when I have to. It's the price I pay for good teeth. Another good-bad thing is backflow prevention on irrigation systems. It would seem that an irrigation system is plenty easy, just hook some pipes up to your water line and turn them on. However, this set-up creates a cross-connection, which could potentially pollute or contaminate the integrity of potable water. Your potable water supply, which is water fit to drink, is now connected to a source of contamination. Fertilizer and pesticides can collect around a sprinkler, and if backflow should occur these contaminants can be sucked back through the pipes and into the potable water supply. That's not a good-bad thing, it's all bad. ...Here's another example. Say you have one of those really old claw-foot, porcelain bathtubs with the faucet below the rim. You're soaking in the tub, letting the water run, and fall asleep. The water level gets above the faucet at the same time a construction crew breaks the city water main. Now there's a reversal of water flow out the water main, and is siphons all the dirty water out of your bathtub back into the water lines. They stop the leak and patch the pipe. Now when you turn on the sink, you're going to get yummy glass of bathwater. ...In both of these examples, all that's needed to stop the bathwater and pesticides from being sucked into the water supply is air to break the vacuum. But there's another type of backflow called backpressure. This occurs when water is forced back through the pipes. Elevation creates pressure. Every foot of elevation creates about half a pound of water pressure (0.433 PSI to be exact). That's the whole science of water towers - once water is pumped up into the tower, gravity provides free pressure. With backpressure, contaminants will flow back through the pipes until something stops it, whether air is introduced or not. In this case there needs to be a check valve, or what we call a backflow prevention assembly. ...Here's what many people consider the bad. Both of these components need to be installed above ground with copper pipe. The RP is required to be at least 12 inches above ground. The PVB has to be installed 12 inches above the highest sprinkler in the system because it is not equipped to handle backpressure. If the highest sprinkler is 10 feet above a PVB, there will be about 5 pounds of backpressure should backflow occur. Now you have an unsightly copper thing sticking up in your yard. You can hide it with shrubs or cover it with one of those fake rocks, but either way, don't forget to insulate it when freezing temperatures get here or you'll end up with a leak." The Post & Courier, Jan. 29, 2006 

Bad plug cause of fatal blast "A rubber plug in a check valve that got hung up in an empty water line allowed acetylene gas to back up into a shed and most likely ignite on the 1,100-degree core of a space heater, killing three men and seriously injuring a fourth at a city plant last year. ...At a news conference in Newark, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, based in Washington, D.C., issued a bulletin calling for increased safety measures at acetylene plants, such as checklists. ...Selk said several factors led to the blast aside from the design flaw in the valve that allowed the rubber stopper to become misaligned. The drain valve to the water pipe was in the shed instead of outdoors. There were no procedures to make sure recycled water was flowing through that pipe when acetylene gas was being produced, which would have prevented the backflow of gas. ...The process at the plant went as follows: Workers used both city water and the recycled water to fill a generator in which acetylene was produced. Water mixed with calcium carbide makes the gas. The by-product is lime, which was carried with water out to a pit. ...The water was recycled and used at the beginning of the process. On the morning of the blast, however, the plant was pumping city water into the acetylene generator. Workers shut off the city water in anticipation of using the recycled water that morning. The recycled water line was emptied the night before to prevent freezing. The generator, which is under low pressure, sent the acetylene to a compressor, which was used to fill small welding tanks. That pressure also pushed some of that acetylene back through the open and empty water line. ...a worker at the ASCO plant told investigators he was aware of the problem with the valve. It got hung up on at least one other occasion a few years ago. The worker cleaned the valve and put it back in place. Selk did not know whether ASCO management knew of the deficiency. ...One of the violations involved ASCO's failure to analyze the processes workers went through to make acetylene. Robert Kulick, area director of OSHA's Avenel office, in July said: "You're supposed to see every part of the process where hazards could evolve."" Home News Tribune, Jan. 27, 2006 (Article mentions a video, but it's not where they say... The CSB video can be found here...

School's water said safe; new test shows no E. coli "Water is flowing again through fountains and sinks at Linden Elementary School in Doylestown after followup testing yesterday showed no signs of the E. coli bacteria. Routine water tests earlier this week came back positive for E. coli. But the tests also showed a desirable level of residual chlorine, which should have killed off the bacteria. That led borough and county health officials to question the test. ...Officials from the borough and health department "said it was a false alarm and gave us the OK to put the water back on," Bernabei said. ...E. coli, a type of fecal coliform, can cause intestinal distress, headaches, and other generally short-term problems. ...The borough's water is tested by QC Labs of Southampton, Pa. The borough will be working with the company to determine how the error occurred, Davis said." The Philadelphia Inquirer, Jan. 27, 2006 

Fire Hydrant Program for Temporary Service "Every day businesses such as street cleaners, pressure washers, and those working on construction projects need to use water from a fire hydrant. The backflow prevention program issues permits for these customers to obtain water for non-drinking use from a public fire hydrant safely and legally. We offer two types of permits: Specific Hydrant Permit - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities will provide temporary water service by means of a public fire hydrant to customers who qualify for this service at locations within utilities service area. Vehicle Mounted Permit - This permit allows for businesses to use water from public fire hydrants at various locations daily." Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities 

Backflow Prevention "The early weeks of fall are a good time to plant trees and shrubs. Many homeowners water a new planting with a garden hose placed at its base. Water trickles out of the hose and soaks the root ball. However, if a condition called back siphonage (also known as backflow) occurs as the plant is being soaked, water can be drawn back through the hose, contaminating the municipal water supply. The contaminants can range from dirt and silt to fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides. It can happen when a work crew opens a water main to make repairs, or when water is drawn from a fire hydrant to fight a fire. It also can occur when a vehicle knocks over a fire hydrant in an accident. In these situations, a vacuum or partial vacuum is created in a portion of the municipal water system. Water in the system reverses its flow, and it can draw in contaminated water." Popular Mechanics 

Pollution problem prevented at rail station "...RPZ valves (Reduced Pressure Zone ­ back flow preventers) are being used to prevent a pollution problem at Leeds City Station as part of the Leeds ...Development Project. The valves stop non-potable water from flowing back into the mains when water is supplied to the carriages of the high-speed trains that run between Leeds and London... The RPZ valve installation is part of a £150 million regeneration project, run by Railtrack, which provides a brand new platform with improved facilities and station environment, reduced train travel times, and better train performance.  ...RPZ valves have been used in numerous circumstances where back flow prevention is required and it is advantageous to fit a valve instead of a traditional break tank with booster pump. ...Moreover, the RPZ valve negates the need for expensive testing procedures for the existence of legionella, which can be the case with an unprotected break tank system incorporating a type ŒA air gap. Back flow can occur for two main reasons ­ over-pressure and back siphonage. If the pressure in a non-potable water system exceeds the water supply pressure and there is a direct mains connection, the result will be pollution of the water main, for example, a pressurised fire sprinkler system, where a pressure vessel is fitted to give a boost to the fire fighting supply as soon as a fire is detected. During periods of high usage of the water main, the high flow rate conditions cause the pressure in the main to fall below that of the pressure vessel. In this situation, if measures are not taken, contaminated water from the sprinkler system could flow back into the mains supply. In a back siphonage situation, a physical rupture of the main or pump failure at a booster station may cause the condition. In either case, if the connection point is on higher ground than the mains fault then water will travel back down the main in the opposite direction ­ back siphonage. Depending on what fluid is connected to the main at the higher point, the result of this could be disastrous for the public water supply."

Methodology for Setting a Cross-Connection Control Program (scroll down to Potable Water #10) "This document is the tenth in a series of best practices related to the delivery of potable water to the public. This document outlines the best practice for setting a cross-connection control program. It is based on a review of existing literature, the responses to questionaires sent to 17 Canadian municipalities and input from water quality and distribution system experts from across Canada.  ...Based on the number of actual and potential cross-connections in a municipal water system, and the resulting health hazards, it is important for the municipality to have an effective cross-connection control program in place. While many Canadian municipalities have a comprehensive program, other municipalities have only a minimal program, or no program at all.", Oct. 2005

BPMA/ABPA Backflow Prevention Scholarship Competition (2004's winning essay) "Thanks to the reliability of local water utilities and federal and state health and building laws, most Americans have come to expect clean water. No one really expects to be drinking bacteria-infected water, and for the most part, water utilities have kept up their end of the bargain. Nonetheless, the possibility of water contamination, particularly through backflow, remains a serious health concern." 

Cross Connection Survey (scroll down page)"The Washington Town council approved a proposal from Environmental Systems Service for updating and administering a Cross Connection Survey mandated yearly by Virginia's health department. As part of the survey, ESS will inspect outside spigots, wells and "cross connection danger areas" belonging to town residents. ...danger areas would include any business or resident who deals with large volumes of concentrated liquids, such as private darkrooms, undertakers, and rerstaurants." Rappahanock News, Jan. 18, 2006

Legionella- A Lateral View  "Perceiving an unsupported complacency about the dangers of the bacteria, the author outlines suggested testing improvements, less familiar at-risk situations, and the reasons for a more vigilant approach to combating Legionella. ...The objective should be to root out potential system contamination, especially in areas that expose the at-risk and general population to Legionella. ....Let us also not forget lawn sprinklers that have been dormant for some time. Who knows what can grow therein. Look at the age of the population that plays golf. Look at the age of the population that likes to take casual walks in the evenings." search for Legionella- A Lateral View  at

Story about city water's safety was misleading " The recent report on tap water by the Environmental Working Group was very helpful in getting an important issue on the front page of the local newspaper, but the story may have left many people with serious misconceptions. The tap water in Wausau and other area communities is safe and healthy to drink. The water that local utilities produce meets state and federal drinking water standards. It is our opinion that drinking tap water is healthier than drinking soft drinks, sweetened juices, and most other beverages. You may contact your doctor, the Marathon County Health Department, or the Department of Natural Resources to get their input, but we think they will agree. ... Drinking water standards have gotten tougher, and clearly one of the goals of the Environmental Working Group study is to pressure the Environmental Protection Agency to continue this trend. This is a good thing -- provided we keep our perspective. The study cited arsenic as one of the contaminants in Wausau's drinking water. The last sample we tested had less than one part per billion of arsenic and the drinking water standard is 50 parts per billion. Arsenic is a naturally occurring mineral. The Environmental Working Group can make front-page headlines by claiming our water is contaminated with arsenic, but this really is not an accurate representation.", Jan. 12, 2006 

Thief has cost city parks $2,000 "A thief has cost Colorado Springs taxpayers at least $2,000 in recent days, making off with irrigation system valves from city parks. Nobody has been arrested, but officials suspect someone is stealing the parts, known as vacuum breakers, for scrap metal — earning a few dollars for something it costs the city $300 apiece to replace. And they’re stealing a lot of them, eight within the past two weeks. The thief tried and failed to take two others. “Someone is out there on a mission and that’s disturbing,” said L. Kurt Schroeder, the city’s parks maintenance, trails and open space manager. A valve connecting two pipes sticking out of the ground, a vacuum breaker — also known as a backflow preventer — keeps sprinkler water from entering the main water supply. They are required on any lawn irrigation system to prevent chemicals and other runoff from contaminating drinking water. They have disappeared from central Colorado Springs parks at night. The thief or thieves are cutting the copper pipes. “It wouldn’t take long to cut them off. A couple of minutes, and they’d be done,” Schroeder said. The water is shut off in the winter, so no possible contamination occurred, Schroeder said.", Jan. 14, 2006   

Cross Connection Control Backflow Prevention 9/11 & You  (see pages 6 & 7) "In recent months terrorist threats have forced America's utility managers to re-examine vulnerability - particularly of the nation's water systems, however some water professionals have been warning about the potential dangers of cross-connection and backflow for decades. "Sometimes we just weren't taken as seriously as we have been since 9/11," observes Les O'Brien, who teaches Backflow Prevention... O'Brien points out it's not just terrorists that threaten drinking water supplies." The Floridian, Volume One, Issue four

SA girl's electrocution ignites service debate  "Oprah Rapuleng was due to start school on Wednesday, like other six-year-old South Africans, however she was electrocuted after drinking water from a standpipe near her Soweto home, in a case which has caused outrage among her friends and neighbours. They claim that shoddy work by the company which installed pre-paid water meters affected the electrical system, resulting in her death. ... "What happened there is that there was no earthing in the houses in that area. So when the girl went to open the tap water she was electrocuted."  The community alleges that electric shocks have been widespread - including in the local primary school - since Joburg Water embarked on Operation Gcina Manzi, a campaign aimed at saving 7bn litres of water lost in Soweto every month."  BBC News, Jan. 11, 2006 

Biofilm formation and control in dental unit waterlines  "This review details the current literature on relevant aspects of biofilm formation and microbial control in dental practice. To date, there is no published evidence of a serious public health risk from biofilmcontaminated waterlines. However, there remain few effective methods of decontamination of such waterlines.  ...Nevertheless, the waterlines of dental units remain a potential weakness in the control of infection in the dental practice, as they can easily become contaminated...  Previously it was found that backflow of material from dental units to the mains water supply could occur and it may be necessary to install check-valves to prevent this occuring. ...In addition, the water supply of dental units should no longer be connected directly to the public water supply." Biofilms (2005) 2, 9-17 Cambridge University Press

Code Requirements on  Thermal Expansion Control in Domestic Service Water Heating Systems" When dual-check valves and check valves are installed  in water meters, they seal off the household plumbing  system from the potable contaminated household water into the public supply. Because they do their job so well, these backflow devices can contribute to  thermal expansion, which can cause serious problems. ...The first indication of a thermal expansion problem is the phone call from a customer, angry that his water heater relief valve is continually spilling hot water. The possible liability facing the Water Authority, however, is far more serious than the customer angry about wasted water. What the customer, the Water Authority, and even many plumbers don’t realize is that long before the 150 psi  relief valve pops, dangerous pressures are continually  being exerted on the water heater, fittings, fixtures,  appliances, and the piping system on a regular basis...  two or three times a day. ...The safety valve may operate once or twice a day, which is not only wasteful, but is also dangerous.  A T&P valve is designed as an emergency control on ly, not as an operating control, and this continuous operation may cause premature failure of the valve.  What most people don’t realize is that dangerous conditions can exist during thermal expansion long  before the relief valve operates. Internal pressures  repeatedly occurring during recovery periods can collapse the center flue of a gas fired water heater,  creating a hazardous presence of deadly carbon monoxide gas or even a water heater explosion." 

Outsourcing City Hall -- A leaner, more efficient way to push people around "At the beginning of 2005, Sandy Springs was an unincorporated Georgia suburb with a history of grousing that its taxes were subsidizing the rest of Fulton County rather than funding needed services at home. At the beginning of 2006, it is the seventh largest independent city in the state, population circa 85,000, and has mostly succeeded in crawling out from under the Fulton authorities' rule. The wealthy town's new government consists of a mayor, a city council, and a skeleton crew of public employees.Nearly everything else, from public works to urban planning, will be provided by the private sector ... ...At first glance, that might look like a radical libertarian utopia.  ...But there's a fly or two in the ointment, problems not just in Sandy Springs but with the way local officials across the country have come to think about privatization and property rights. Most of Sandy Springs' services are nominally provided by private industry, just as Galambos says. But the consumer is the government of Sandy Springs. For the individual citizen, there will be no competing companies with competing qualities, competing prices, competing anything. Different enterprises will contend for the city's business, but the average resident will still face a municipal monopoly; it's just that the government is negotiating its contracts with companies rather than its own employees. ...The best thing about Sandy Springs might not be the fact that you'd want to live there, but the fact that you don't have to." Reasononline, Jan. 6, 2006

Walkerton residents may get water supply back Friday  "Walkerton residents may have their clean water supply back late Friday after a large main burst almost a week ago, resulting in an order to boil water until further notice. Mayor Charlie Bagnato says the order was imposed because the town, site of an infamous 2000 E. coli outbreak in the water supply that killed seven and made over 2,300 residents ill, naturally treats water problems more seriously than any other municipality. ...The advisory was caused when the bursting main sent water cascading off a remote hillside, a deluge that quickly drained the town's two water tanks. The water pressure then fell to nothing.", Dec. 29, 2006
Biofilm - the enemy of clean"Biofilm is a community of single-celled microorganisms  that forms on surfaces, and is characterized by a slime of extracellular polymeric substances that binds the ... Moisture and minute fractions of organic matter found in even the cleanest treated municipal water are enough to initiate and sustain biofilm. ...The propensity for microorganisms to form biofilm on  virtually any surface presents a formidable challenge to  maintaining sanitary conditions, especially as the film becomes more established. The resistance of biofilm to  sanitizers increases over time as the film matures. " The EPH Regulator, Fall 2005
State fines two El Paso companies for violations   "A landscape irrigation business and a public water supply company in El Paso County are among 70 entities recently penalized by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for environmental violations.  ...David Delgado of El Paso ...received a penalty from the TCEQ for failure to obtain a license to perform irrigation landscaping, and failure to properly connect an irrigation system through an approved backflow prevention method. Records indicate that he did not protest the enforcement action. Under the terms agreed, Delgado will pay only $500 of the original $625 fine assessed for the unlicensed work done in August 2004. Statewide, ...the TCEQ issued $330,815 total in penalties and took enforcement actions in several categories...", Dec. 28, 2005
Vessel Sanitation Program "Ship: Westerdam (newCruise Line: Holland America Line Violation: ATMOSPHERIC VACUUM BREAKERS WERE INSTALLED ON THE POTABLE WATER TAPS IN THE POOL/WHIRLPOOL TECHNICAL ROOMS. IN THE FORWARD AND CENTRAL TECHNICAL ROOMS, A VALVE WAS PRESENT ON THE END OF THE HOSES ATTACHED TO THE TAPS. IN THE FORWARD POOL ROOM, THE HOSE WAS BEING USED AT A LEVEL HIGHER THAN THE VACUUM BREAKER. VALVES WERE REMOVED AND ATTACHED HOSES WERE SHORTENED DURING THE INSPECTION. Recommendation: Ensure that a continuous pressure-type backflow preventer is installed when a valve is located downstream from the backflow preventer." CDC National Center for Environmental Health, Nov. 6, 2005
City shuts off resident’s water in dispute about equipment "The city has shut off the water of a resident who refused to heed its order to install a device to prevent potential contamination in the public water system. The action is part of the city’s efforts to locate the source of bacterial contamination in the system dating back to the spring of 2004. Officials never were able to locate the source of the contamination. One possible explanation they offered was a private water supply being tied to the public system -- known as cross-connections -- without proper backflow protection. This can occur if residents pump lake water into their irrigation system, which already is connected to the public system, as a way to save money watering their yards. Lakewater could flow to the public system if the resident doesn’t have backflow protection. ...Last December, the city mailed a survey to lakefront residents asking if they had alternative water supplies. The response was worrisome. “We were surprised by the amount of people who have alternative water sources they actually use,” Brooks said. City crews physically surveyed more than 400 properties that did use lake water to ensure they didn’t have a cross connections. These connections also can occur from wells or, less commonly, hydraulic boat lifts using lake water. They located several actual cross-connections. In April, the city mailed about 100 letters to lakefront residents who had alternative water supply from a well or for pumping lake water. The letter stated they must either remove the alternate system or put in a backflow prevention device. The city would inspect the property to ensure action was taken. In late October, the city sent 57 letters to residents saying they hadn’t complied and would have their water shut off by Nov. 30. Nine still didn’t comply, and the city sent a third letter giving them a drop-dead deadline of Dec. 14 to come into compliance. They had the option to plead their case before a building official. Two appeared before the building official and received an extension to come into compliance. Their cases are pending. Six others met the city requirement by removing pumps from the lake or installing a backflow prevention device. One received an extension because they installed the wrong device. The lone remaining resident had their water shut off Friday." The Olympian, Dec. 22, 2005
Cross connection control aimed at protecting Town water "Council has given third reading to a new cross connection control bylaw, representing an effort by the Town to bring the management of Golden’s drinking water supply in line with current Interior Health Authority guidelines. Essentially, the proposed bylaw would see that all connections to the Town’s water system are fitted with backflow preventers ?” common in newer homes ?” in order to prevent cross contamination in the event of a change in water pressure. ...The program will be funded entirely by the Town and will constitute “an added cost,” says Radford, who adds that the Town has already begun to outfit its own buildings and facilities and will finish installations by mid-January. Radford says his team will begin to do risk assessments throughout town in 2006, and then prioritize the high risk locations where backflow preventers are most needed ?” industrial and medical facilities, for example." The Golden Star, Dec. 21, 2005
Backflow Prevention Then & Now ""Backflow 101" for the Western Plumber. There is an old saying that, "The more things change, the more they stay the same." This really seems to be true in the plumbing industry. Beginning in the days of the Roman Empire, aqueducts were constructed to allow water to travel many miles from one location to another. Gravity was the only means available to allow this much needed solution to survival. Today, the survival of many cities and states hinges on the ability to get that precious water from one area to another to allow agriculture to thrive and further allow companies to produce the much needed food base products. ...All in all, the water and sewage needs of the human body haven't changed, but the methods used to accomplish those needs seem to change on a monthly basis. ...The backflow prevention industry falls into the same category. A review of documents from the early 1950s shows that the same concerns for backflow and cross connection issues were prevalent then. In fact many of those backflow concerns go back a lot longer, but the real push for inspection and record keeping seemed to start in that time frame. ...The Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors Association promotes the saying that "The plumber protects the health of the nation." This has been the association's motto for more than 100 years, and it has never been more important than today." Reeves Journal, March 13, 2005
Bottled Water Sales Soar as Tap Water Safety Questioned "Americans are drinking more bottled water than milk, coffee or beer nowadays, new research shows. The trend owes partly to fears over tap water and also to marketing success by companies that often peddle little more than refined tap water. Soda still rules the U.S. beverage market, but many people have become accustomed to paying for drinking water. The average American drank 23.8 gallons of bottled water in 2004, up from 22.1 gallons in 2003, according to the International Bottled Water Association. The U.S. bottled water industry takes in revenue of $10 billion annually. ...At least 25 percent of bottled water starts out as tap water, according to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which in the past has cautioned that bottled water "is not necessarily cleaner or safer than most tap water." ...Tap or bottled water that tastes, looks and smells good can still be unsafe, experts say. Most dangerous contaminants in drinking water cannot be seen, smelled or tasted." Live Science, Dec. 20, 2005 
Cross-Connection Hazards Illustrated "This area is for pictures demonstrating connections that could possibly cause a backflow condition to occur." ABPA Discussion Forum, Dec. 15, 2005
Open letter from Bob Glick "Our district can no longer withstand the brazen shenanigans, pseudo-swansongs, petty tactics and the disruptive pathos that have long plagued the operating of our business. ...The welfare of our water delivery system and the health of our families obligate all who step into our positions to heed the seriousness of their responsibilities and the impact of their decisions on generations to come. While we may regret that a number of residential users may have been unduly burdened by installing backflow devices, the fact is the majority of the division’s customers receive agricultural discounts. We cannot risk the inadvertent contamination of our water supply from their operations. Rather than engage in an honest debate to compensate those unreasonably impacted by the mandate, many of those same agricultural operators have sought to overturn this protective measure in its entirely, greedily shirking their responsibilities to protect the water we all depend upon. I do not believe the safety of our water supply should be put at risk, or the rates of our residential customers unjustly increased to subsidize the profits of agricultural businesses. Most of all, we must be honest with ourselves and truthful to our ratepayers. The Rainbow Municipal Water District is no place for pompous power trippers and their personal agendas. It would be more than unfortunate should the many falsehoods and misinformed claims of the campaign become entrenched and institutionalized, polarizing and preventing a rational resolution to the Districts many daunting problems." Village News, Dec. 16, 2005
Chapter 9.13 CROSS-CONNECTION CONTROL "The city of Wenatchee water system hereinafter referred to as the purveyor establishes this chapter and the following policies to protect the purveyor-owned water system from the risk of contamination as the result of cross-connections. For public health and safety this chapter shall apply equally to all new and existing customers. ...The customer is solely responsible for compliance with all applicable regulations, and for prevention of contamination of his plumbing system from sources within his/her premises. ...Customers shall make their premises, including buildings and structures, to which water is supplied accessible to the purveyor’s CCS and/or authorized staff as needed to assess and inspect backflow prevention assemblies. Failure to allow access shall result in the installation of a backflow prevention assembly at a location readily accessible to the purveyor’s personnel at the expense of the customer. ...The customer shall be responsible for all costs associated with the purchase, installation, testing, maintenance and repair of all backflow preventers. ...Prior to the installation of a backflow preventer, the customer shall obtain and complete a permit from the city of Wenatchee public works department."
Panel sends backflow ordinance back to city attorney "The Cañon City Public Works Committee sent an ordinance regulating cross connection backflow devices back to City Attorney John Havens for revisions at its meeting Monday night. The ordinance will bring Cañon City into compliance with state water standards. Under Article 12 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, backflow prevention devices must be installed on any cross connections to prevent dangerous chemicals and other hazardous materials from making their way into the public water supply. According to Robert Stevens, the backflow prevention officer for the Denver Water Department, cities undergo inspections of their water systems every other year and a city’s backflow regulation program is checked. Should a city not meet state standards and be downgraded, it no longer qualifies for state or federal funds. “This probably should have been done many, many years ago,” City Administrator Steve Rabe said. “We are under the gun by the state.”" Cañon City Daily, Dec.14, 2005
Backflow Manual "View the proposed changes to MPW's Cross-Connection Control Policy. These changes are being made to accommodate revisions to SC Department of Health and Environmental Control regulations pertaining to backflow devices. Mount Pleasant Waterworks will be holding a Public Meeting to review the proposed changes on Monday, December 19, 2005 at 6:00 P.M. at the Mount Pleasant Waterworks ,Operations Center, 1619 Rifle Range Road, Mount Pleasant, SC. All customers with backflow devices are urged to attend." Mount Pleasant Waterworks
Cross-contamination potential of saliva ejectors used in dentistry "It has been postulated that evacuation systems used in dentistry could be a source of cross-contamination between patients through backflow of bacteria dislodged from the saliva ejector tubings. ...The potential for backflow was investigated by a study of pressure differentials in evacuation system tubing and by the presence of bacteria in backflow samples. ...flow reversal was detected several times during saliva ejector use though each of these events was brief (less than 0.1 s). Aspiration of saliva, or occlusion of the mouthpiece opening by the oral mucosa, were the major factors leading to backflow episodes. Bacteria associated with backflow were found in almost 25% assays, with counts ranging from 1-300 cfu/occurrence. ...These data suggest, although without direct proof of cross-contamination, the possible existence of an infectious risk associated with oral evacuation systems, as potential pathogens may be shed from tubing biofilms following backflow. Even if the risk of cross-contamination between patients is considered to be low, the necessity for regular disinfection of these systems must be stressed, since biofilms can serve as a reservoir for pathogens or harbor potentially infectious material."
County health department investigates possibility of Legionnaires' bacteria at OHS "Curt McIlquham, a teacher and coach at Onalaska High School since 1993, resigned Monday from his job as the school's girls head basketball coach due to complications related to pneumonia. Al Graewin, La Crosse County health education manager, confirmed that the county health department has investigated the possibility that the bacteria that causes Legionnaires' disease may have been in Onalaska High School's water supply in the past three days. ...Graewin said that in Legionnaires' investigations it is often difficult to determine with complete accuracy the source of the bacteria. According to the Center for Disease Control's Web site, people get Legionnaires' disease when they inhale a mist or vapor that has been contaminated with the bacteria Legionella. "We've taken a look at areas of potential exposure," Graewin said. "We've advised the individual patient what to do in their home and at their work site."Graewin also said that those who have weakened immune systems are at greater risk to get the disease. The CDC Web site says that people who have cancer, diabetes or kidney failure are more likely to get sick from the Legionella bacteria. ...Van Sickle said county health officials checked the school's water temperature and that it was "quite hot". Van Sickle also said that the officials suggested that during off hours the district elevate the water temperature more to further flush the pipes." Onalaska Community Life, Dec. 5, 2005
Code could cost $50K "Preventing another fire likely will cost the Tau Epsilon Phi fraternity thousands of dollars. Danny Sniff, head of University Architects, said installing a sprinkler system, one of the improvements needed to bring the building up to modern fire codes, could cost between $30,000 and $50,000. The fraternity house, like many older buildings, was grandfathered into modern fire codes, so it did not have to have a sprinkler system. ...TEP must install a sprinkler system before it can get a permanent CO from the state insurance and fire safety commissioner. ...Between $7,000 and $10,000 of the sprinkler system’s cost will cover a “backflow preventer device,” which Athens-Clarke County requires, Sniff said. The device, he said, would prevent standing water in the pipes from flowing back into and contaminating the city’s water supply.", Dec. 8, 2005
From the Toilet to Your Tap "The overpowering stench of something rotting often wafts across Interstate 10 between Prince and Ina roads. If it weren't for smells like this that we occasionally encounter, most of us would never think about the constant stream of underground slime, chemicals and human waste slowly oozing its way toward two sewage-treatment plants along the Santa Cruz River. ...Many of us are aware that some of this disgusting material is eventually treated to become reclaimed water, which is piped to parks and golf courses for irrigation, while more of it is discharged into the dry riverbed. What few people know is that in the future, the Tucson City Council will be asking the community an important question: Under what scenario would you be willing to drink this wastewater? ...Dr. Daniel Okun, environmental engineering professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina, thinks that too many cities may be deciding to use effluent in the future. "It's not necessary for most cities to go to 'toilet-to-tap' programs," he insists. "In every case, I would prefer to use poor-quality water for the non-potable uses." Okun strongly encourages policy makers to consider other options. "Why should we use drinking water for toilets?" he asks." Tuscon Weekly, Dec. 8, 2005
Backflow dispute raises questions in Talent "City water users could be paying for the installation and inspection of backflow prevention devices which state and local officials say are unnecessary. Backflow prevention devices, which use a series of valves to prevent water from returning into the city water system after it has been pumped onto private property, are at the center of the dispute between the city's plumbing inspector - Mike Broomfield - and the contractor - Bruce Bateman - hired to evaluate the need for the devices. "So much of this right now is subjective," Broomfield said. "I am very concerned that we are regulating this in a less than judicious manner." Backflow devices vary in cost, but officials say that it would cost a homeowner about $500 to install one. ...When Public Works Director Tim Dedrick sent out a letter this winter informing 280 city water users who also receive water from TID that they must install backflow devices on their property, Broomfield stepped in. He refused to issue permits for the installation of more than 100 devices because he disagrees with Bateman, the owner of Southern Oregon Backflow in Medford who contracts with the city to evaluate the need for the devices and test them after they are installed. The two differ on the interpretation of state law regarding where backflow prevention devices should be installed. Oregon law reads: "Backflow prevention assemblies for protecting community water systems shall be installed at the service connection (water meter) to premises where ... there is an auxiliary water supply which is, or can be, connected to the potable water piping. ... The type of backflow prevention required ... shall be at least commensurate with the degree of hazard which exists ..." Bateman said that the law requires backflow devices anywhere a city water user has access to a second water source. Broomfield, however, contends the devices are only required if there is a "potential hazard" that contaminated water will seep into the city system. ...Broomfield, on the other hand, says that Bateman's blanketing approach is not fair. He said the city should require the backflow devices on a case-by-case basis, as it is done in Ashland. "It's not how the law is written in our point of view. The issue here is getting confused and being construed to mean that all people with two water sources have to have a backflow device," Broomfield said. ...David Leland, section manager for the Oregon Health Department's Clean Water Division in Salem, said that it is up to individual communities to determine where backflow devices should be installed. "The city assesses the hazard," Leland said. "The hazard has to be there for a backflow device to be required by law. Two sources of water on the property does not mean there is a hazard. The local people have to decide if a hazard exists. It's up to whoever is running the local program." Ashland Daily Tidings
Effective Cross-Connection Control Program "All municipalities with public water supply systems should endorse a cross-connection control program.  The protection of a potable water supply distribution system from becoming contaminated because of cross-connections involves local government. Creating or modifying the city’s ordinance for cross-connection control is a major first step in controlling a potential public health crisis or death resulting from drinking water contamination.  Local government should develop a sound program that eliminates health hazards caused by cross-connections.  The ordinance must address eliminating existing and future cross-connections. Often, a simple air gap or backflow prevention device can prevent hazards.  Air gaps are, of course, the best measure to use when there is potential for a cross-connection to an extreme hazard.  At the bottom of this page, you can download an outline for creating an effective cross-connection control program." Kentucky Division of Water, 2005
County won’t get relief valves "Floyd County water officials said they will not duplicate Rome’s plans to provide pressure-relief valves for customers’ homes. “Thermal expansion is very rare,” said Steve Hulsey, the county’s utilities administrator. “We’ve been installing backflow preventers since 1992, and we’ve only had two cases reported.”  State-mandated backflow preventers are designed to keep water in customers’ pipes from being sucked back into the main line. The preventers, however, could create a closed circuit that leaves no room for expansion when heated water builds up pressure. To head off the potential for burst pipes, the Rome Water and Sewer Department is spending $200,000 for pressure-relief devices to go along with the backflow preventers it is currently installing. But, when Floyd County Commissioner Jerry Jennings asked during a committee meeting Tuesday why the county is not following the same program, Hulsey said the expense was unnecessary.  “I don’t think the city will have the problems they think they will,” he said. Rome’s water and sewer department director, Leigh Ross, said Wednesday the city is just trying to be “safe and thorough” in providing the devices. “On a percentage basis, very few homes would experience a problem,” he said. “The trouble is, we can’t say which ones that would be." Rome News-Tribune, Dec. 1, 2005
Water lines being cleaned following sewage mixup "Fairhope Public Utilities employees distributed bottled water and portable toilets to about 35 households in the Dogwood Dells subdivision on Wednesday, a day after discovering a private company's sewage line had been hooked into water lines, contaminating drinking water. Running water will not be available to these homes in southeast Baldwin County for at least two more days as water lines are disinfected and checked to make sure no other sewer taps have been attached, said Fairhope Water and Sewer Superintendent Dan McCrory. ...It remained unclear Wednesday exactly how long ago raw sewage began making its way into the neighborhood's drinking water through the errant connection. Also uncertain is whether any other sewer connections were made into water lines and just how far the sewage spread through the area's water supply. On Wednesday afternoon, Baldwin County Sewer Service employees dug up other sewer taps to see if they too were feeding into the water lines, and walked the neighborhood leaving letters at each door offering hotel rooms to residents left without water. Clarence Burke, owner of the sewer company, didn't returns calls Wednesday, but the firm sent out a news release saying it was "investigating the circumstances surrounding the cross-connection...", Dec. 1, 2005
Water superintendent provides report to city commission "Reports of foul-tasting, medicinal and “poison” water coming from the city's water lines appear to be isolated incidents with no explainable cause, (backflow??) according to a report presented to the Sault Ste. Marie City Commission on Monday. ...“We want our community to be satisfied with the water,” said Moreau, expressing deep concern regarding the recent complaint. “We do get water complaints, occasionally,” said Moreau after looking at his records. “We investigate each one in turn and the vast majority are seasonal complaints.” By seasonal, Moreau means the water has remained inside the pipe for a period of many months, while the home owner or resident is out of town. In these instances, the returning individual comes back to find the water unpalatable. “It's stale,” he said of these instances. “It's not going to taste as good.” The solution in these cases is rather simple. Once the resident allows the water to run for a period of time, the old stale water is pushed out of the pipe and replaced with the fresher water being pumped through the system.", Nov. 30, 2005
Google Earth – Explore, Search and Discover "Want to know more about a specific location? Dive right in -- Google Earth combines satellite imagery, maps and the power of Google Search to put the world's geographic information at your fingertips. ...Fly from space to your neighborhood. Type in an address and zoom right in. Search for schools, parks, restaurants, and hotels. Get driving directions. Save and share your searches and favorites. Even add your own annotations. (backflow preventers??) Google Earth puts a planet's worth of imagery and other geographic information right on your desktop." Google Earth Home, Oct. 17, 2005
City considers raising water rates "Water and sewer bills for city residents will likely increase an average of $10 per month under a proposed rate change Kerrville officials say is needed to fund improvements to the system. City Council members will be asked to take first action on the proposed rate increase at the Dec. 13 meeting. ...Charlie Hastings, interim public works director, said there are about $3 million in improvements needed during the next two years, including additional employees, a backflow prevention system and security upgrades. He said none of those projects can be funded under the current rate structure. “These are critically needed projects,” Hastings said." Kerrville Daily Times, Nov. 24, 2005
Drinking the sewage of neighbours "Two families living in Sydney's Olympic precinct have been drinking recycled sewer water without their knowledge for up to four years. Sydney Water and Olympic Park authorities yesterday revealed the blunder which has now forced them to check water supplies at another 1500 homes to ensure their safety. Two homes at Newington, the new suburb built beside the Homebush Olympic complex, had their drinking water supplies mistakenly connected to a system which recycles the suburb's sewage and stormwater for uses such as flushing toilets and watering gardens. The problem was detected on Monday after the occupants of one of the houses complained about the taste of their drinking water. However, Sydney Water managing director David Evans said another tenant had complained about "a salty taste" in the water in the same house in 2002. ...Houses in Newington have a dual water supply, with one pipe supplying standard drinking water and a second system supplying water from Sydney Olympic Park's water reclamation and management scheme. The scheme, commissioned in July 2000, collects sewage and stormwater, filters and disinfects it and supplies about 850 million litres of grey water each year to 1500 homes and the commercial and sporting premises at the Olympic complex. The grey water is safe for toilet flushing, washing clothes, cars or pets and watering gardens but is not safe for drinking, showering or swimming." The Daily Yelegraph, Nov. 19, 2005.  Also see Sydney Water's media release... (Recycled water cross-connection at Newington).
High Hazard Facilities and Methods of Correction (see sec. 05) (AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND HIGH POINT CITY CODE BY ENACTING A BACKFLOW PREVENTION PROGRAM) "All high hazard facilities must have an approved reduced pressure principle assembly as a minimum containment device. High hazard facilities include, but are not limited to: any private water system used or designed pump or which may become pressurized for use with a booster for any reason to the extent that back pressure may occur; any private water system which contains water which has been or is being re-circulated; a building with five or more stories above ground level; brewery; car wash with recycling system; bottling plant; chemical plant; dentist's office; dry cleaning plant; fertilizer plant; film laboratory; fire sprinkler or standpipe system with chemical additives; hospital, clinic, medical building; irrigation system with chemical additives; laboratory; commercial laundry (except self-service laundry); metal processing plant; morgue or mortuary; nursing home; pharmaceutical plant; -power plant; swimming pool; sewage treatment plant; tire manufacturer; veterinary hospital or clinic; restaurants; battery manufacturers; exterminators and lawn care companies; dairies; canneries; dye works; recycling facilities." City of High Point, N.C.
Water issue stays on simmer "Nazar Najor says the water he provides to this backcountry community is clean and safe. But the county says its tests show the water is contaminated and has told residents for the past three weeks to boil their water before drinking it. ..."I personally myself have been drinking the water," Najor said yesterday. "My wife has been drinking it. My son has been drinking it and my grandson has been drinking it." However, he said a water expert has told him any contamination was caused by the system's old pipes. He will send residents a notice, urging them to place a backflow device on their pipes to prevent bacteria from getting into the water. Najor said the device is inexpensive, though he didn't know the exact cost. He said he will try to find a supplier that will give residents a discount. On Oct. 28, the county Department of Environmental Health ordered Najor to tell customers to boil their water after lab tests showed the presence of coliform.", Nov. 19, 2005
Two men allegedly posing as Wilmington water department workers arrested "Two men allegedly posing as city water department workers are under arrest today after allegedly stealing from an elderly city couple on the guise they were inspecting the water pipes. ...Wilmington police spokesman Master Sgt. William Wells said the pair went to a home in the 2100 block of Pyle St. about 12:25 p.m. Monday, and one of the men approached the 83-year-old homeowner in his yard. The suspect claimed to be from the water department and told the man he needed to check the water pressure inside the house, Wells said. Once inside, the suspect and the victim went to the basement to “inspect” the water pipes and then came upstairs and “inspected” the pipes under the kitchen sink. ...It wasn’t until the first suspect told the residents he was finished inspecting everything in the kitchen that they noticed the second man standing near the front door. When the two men left, the elderly resident noticed his checkbook lying on the floor in the dining room and called police." The News Journal, Nov. 8, 2005
New ordinances passed by council "The cross-connection and back-flow prevention program was adopted by the Bath Town Council on Monday night. Councilman Tom Hall, who is a water committee member, said the mandated federal and state program will begin in January, and it applies to all water customers of Berkeley Springs Water Works. Hall had said hospitals, funeral homes and restaurants must prevent waste from getting back into the water system. He also said if there is a probable cross-contamination problem such as a residential person with a well in the yard that is not hooked up with a back-flow prevention device, the water department has the authority to turn off the water." The Herald-Mail, Nov. 16, 2005
The Basics of Backflow "Perhaps one of the most important human needs in our society is a supply of clean safe drinking water. And it is also something that is commonly taken for granted by both the general public and also by a large number of both tradesmen and utility officials. The number of backflow prevention devices installed improperly by both the professional plumber and the property owner or their maintenance personnel is reaching a level that is difficult to believe. Backflow prevention devices must be installed in the proper manner so that they both can fulfill their purpose in protecting the water supply and also be tested and repaired in a safe, timely way. ..In this article we will try to cover basic installation requirements while keeping in mind that each installation is different and presents new challenges."
Public Health Significance of Cross Connections "...Public health specialists have long been aware of the threat to public health posed by cross connections. Education is the most important factor in cross connection control. No one would intentionally connect plumbing fixtures, equipmment, etc. to their water supply if they knew it would contaminate their drinking water. But it happens thousands of times a day." Missouri Department of Natural Resources Basics of Backflow Prevention Brouchure
Attorney general blames prison problems on lack of funding and shortages of staff "ST. CROIX - V.I. Attorney General Kerry Drue acknowledged Thursday that conditions at Golden Grove Adult Correctional Facility are a "very large problem," but she said inadequate funding and a shortage of qualified personnel are driving the dire situation. Citing violent, dangerous and unsanitary conditions, the U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday filed a motion asking District Court to find the Virgin Islands in contempt of an 18-year-old consent decree requiring it to clean up the territory's main prison. ...The federal report cited multiple health hazards at the prison, including inadequate equipment, improperly stored food, insect infestations and potential backflow of contaminated water. (emphasis added) Electrical and fire hazards also exist at the facility. "We're looking into that," Drue said...  ...Drue acknowledged that to bring Golden Grove into full compliance would require significant funding, but she said her office has not yet been able to "assess the full cost." She said she was working on a supplemental budget request to be presented to the Legislature." The Virgin Islands Daily News, Nov. 11, 2005
Board OK's well use "The Board of Health has lifted its cease and desist order on D&D Mulch and Landscaping, but the building department's order still stands. Health Agent Mark Oram on Monday sent a letter to D&D rescinding the board's Oct. 28 order to stop using the well at 250 West Union St. Prior to operating the well, D&D must meet several conditions, the letter said. ...The Board of Health said D&D's well should only be used for flushing into the mulch coloring equipment. Also, a backflow unit should be permitted and approved by the plumbing inspector, the letter said. Well water should be tested by Dec. 6 to determine if toluene detected in laboratory reports was an error, in the water source or introduced when the well was drilled, the letter said. D&D planned to use water from the well only for its mulch dying process, and not for drinking, Doherty has said." Metro West Daily News, Nov. 11, 2005
Backflow is bad news "WHEN WE TURN ON A WATER TAP, WE EXPECT CLEAR, SAFE WATER. Backflow can introduce everything from sewage to pesticides into drinking water. ...More municipalities are cracking down on the proper use and installation of backflow devices, and with good justification. Hundreds of people could be sickened, or even killed, because of backflow. Lawsuits are common and courts have ruled that the contractor is not immune from liability. Codes regarding the proper use and correct installation of backflow prevention devices are becoming more stringent. ...An irrigation system is considered to carry a high hazard risk, with the chance for contaminants to infect the drinking water, due to the use of pesticides and fertilizer." Irrigation & Green Industry
BACKFLOW TALES FROM FAR AND NEAR (2 animated gifs depicting backflow included) "(A) was the source of a backflow incident involving sodium hydroxide in October 1986.  Sodium hydroxide was hauled in tankers to the business, and they needed to add water to one of the tankers.   The normal practice was to add water at the top of the tanker, but at this site, water was added through a connection on the bottom of the tanker because it was easier to add water this way.  Adding water to the top would mean they have to climb up on the side of the tanker and drag the hose up to the top which can be pretty heavy when it is full of water. This business was certain that nothing could go wrong because they had a person watching for mistakes. However,  something did go wrong on that day..." Ames City Government
Backflow Protection "To ensure our water supply to the community remains safe and of high quality, the Christchurch City Council is committed to educating the community about backflow prevention devices and their responsibility to protect the public water supply. ...Scary examples: In New Zealand there are many recorded incidents of backflow having occurred and also many more worldwide. The following photos show situations found at commercial premises that have the potential to cause contamination of the water supply..." Christchurch City Council
Saugus chases business tax, fee scofflaws "With the end of the year drawing near, selectmen are reminding businesses to apply for license renewals and also warning them to pay any unpaid taxes or fees. Roughly $111,000 is owed to the town in back taxes, water/sewer bills, backflow connection fees and false alarm charges by two dozen businesses. Payments were due Thursday and Board of Selectmen clerk Wendy Reed said the board will hold a hearing Nov. 29 for businesses that have neglected to pay. Mike's Roast Beef and Home Depot each racked up $300 in false alarm fees that ring in at $50 a pop. Home Depot also has an additional $80 fee tacked on for a backflow connection fee bringing its total to $380." The Daily Item, Nov. 7, 2005
The Essentials of a Cross-Connection Control Program "There are several elements neccessary for a valid cross-connection control program. These elements can be summarized under the following headings. * Authority  *Backflow Preventers  *Certified Testers and Specialists  *Defensible and Detailed Records  *Education and Training" USC Foundation for Cross-Connection Control and Hydraulic Research
Start of moratorium waiting on commissioners "Though the Arizona Corporation Commission voted Thursday to impose a hookup moratorium on seven local water companies, the measure hasn’t yet taken effect. The moratorium order, which gained the support of the Cochise County Board of Supervisors earlier this year, will need to be signed by all five commissioners before it goes into effect, said Heather Murphy, spokeswoman for the commission. Once in place, it will impact all hook-up requests for those who do not have a building permit prior to the date that commissioners sign the order. ...The moratorium will be lifted once the companies come into compliance with ADEQ and state standards. ...During a Sept. 15 open hearing held in Sierra Vista, Edwards testified that ADEQ has issued a matrix of 81 violations that affect all of the systems. In addition to deficiencies of inadequate storage and water pressure, the systems have undersized water lines and do not appear to be constructed to standard, Edwards said. All seven lack microbiological site sampling plans, backflow prevention programs and emergency operating plans." Sierra Vista Herald, Nov. 5, 2005
Rainwater Harvesting and Purification System "...we installed a rainwater catchment system to capture Oregon's abundant rainfall. Portland receives between 3 and 4 feet of rainfall annually. During a gentle rain a typical Oregon downspout sheds several gallons per minute. Our twelve hundred square foot roof captures on average 3600 cubic feet (27,000 gallons) of water per year. (Among the city's requirements were...) A reduced pressure backflow prevention device. This was required by the city to prevent flow of rainwater into the public system. ...This would not be necessary if we used rainwater exclusively. However, Oregon has very dry summers and our cistern is exhausted by July. We currently depend on city water during the summer. ... Backflow prevention device requires annual inspection. Public health authorities recommend periodic testing of water for fecal coliform bacteria, as for any private water system." , revised Oct. 4, 2005  For more extensive information on rainwater (or "roofwater") harvesting see the... (Domestic Roofwater Harvesting Research Programme).
Code of Ethics "The protection of the public health, safety, and welfare is a solemn responsibility of the highest order. The Association advocates commitment to a standard of professional behavior that exemplifies the highest ideals and principals of ethical conduct. The governing concepts embodied in this philosophy are characterized herein below, for the benefit and guidance of those so engaged, and for the enlightenment of the public served." Virginia Cross Connection Control Association
Backflow Awareness Continuing Education Professional Development Course "Review of water distribution related fundamentals. This course will cover the basics of backflow prevention, water quality and hydraulic fundamentals." (121 page pdf file manual) Technical Learning College
Wireless computers give Medford officials detailed information "Building inspectors and other city officials are using a wireless information system developed by the military in order to do their jobs more efficiently. Derek Zwagerman, an inspector with the Medford Building Safety Department, says he relies on the technology — which can beam database information, video surveillance, photos and maps to computers hooked into the network — every day. Zwagerman uses a portable office set up in the passenger seat of his hybrid SUV to check permits on such projects as plumbing systems, swimming pools and irrigation systems.  ...The city’s seven building inspectors began using the system in February, said Chris Reising, building department director. He said it helps inspectors to track projects more efficiently. ...Reising said common misconceptions are that people don’t need a permit for backflow valves on sprinkler systems, conversions of garage and attic space to living space, sheds and fences or removal of a non-bearing wall. Reising said he hears a common refrain. "People say, ‘Gee, I thought if I was the owner I didn’t have to get a permit,’ " he said." Mail Tribune, Oct. 29, 2005
Brookfield city council discuss passage of new ordinance "Last night, the Brookfield City Council, through the passage of a new ordinance, adopted a new approach to planning and paying for a major city works project. The project at issue-the rehabilitation of the Brookfield Water Plant to meet upgraded EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) water purity standards-will require an approach that maximizes plan flexibility and cost efficiency. ...Robo Laundrymat and Car Wash Owner Greg Elson was on hand at last night's meeting of the Brookfield City Council to express his concern about the backflow prevention device the city is requiring him to install. Estimating it would cost about $1,300 to make the alteration to his water lines, Elson was concerned about the amount of time he would be allowed to pay for the backflow prevention device. Currently, about 70 different water lines throughout Brookfield will need to have the backflow prevention device installed in them." Linn County Leader, Oct. 26, 2005
Current Air Gap Rules Keep the Regulators Away "In the late 1930s and early 1940s, a sectional committee on minimum requirements for standardization of plumbing equipment realized the need for protection of the purity of a potable water supply in building pipelines. A technical subcommittee on air gaps and backflow preventers was organized. After a number of reports and revisions, a draft was submitted to over one hundred health supervisory officials, plumbing inspectors, state plumbing associations and others involved in the Industry. Once additional recommendations, changes and refinements were complete, a final draft was adopted. The final draft was forwarded to American Standard and was designated an American Standard in January 1942. At the time, this standard dealt with water closets, fountains, sinks, open tanks, vats and manufacturing. Water conditioning was still in its infancy then, and I doubt anyone knew what was coming in terms of advances in the industry. ...A water treatment system installed with a direct drain connection to a sewer system, a cross connection, has a risk of contamination most anytime. It can happen when a sewer backs up, which is the most common, or when there is a loss of pressure in the system."
Katrina disaster coalition seeks product donations "THE PLUMBING industry's disaster relief coalition, made up of nearly a dozen associations, in late September decided to ask manufacturers and suppliers to register products that can be donated or offered for sale with the National Emergency Resource Registry. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security activated the NERR in order to provide assistance to those affected by Hurricane Katrina. In a nationwide conference call, coalition members also decided to draft a mission statement, investigate formalizing itself, study opportunities to help the needy, make available accurate technical information on backflow prevention and sterilization of contaminated potable water systems...  ...Dr. Lawrence Galowin of the National Institute for Standards and Technology will develop information on how to decontaminate a flooded building's potable water system. IAPMO will handle backflow prevention guidelines."
Backflow Protection for Commercial Facilities "The plumbing codes mandate that every faucet outlet have backflow protection, and here are the applicable standards governing these devices.  ...Some years ago, I was on a business trip to Germany and had a room on the top floor of a hotel. In the early morning, I was amazed to hear a loud sucking sound coming from the bath. There was no water pressure at the fixtures and the sucking sound came from a fitting on the wall over the shower. Each shower was equipped with the usual European hand shower, and rather than have a backflow preventer on each shower hose, the building had vacuum breakers on the top of each riser. It appeared that a drop in water pressure in the area was a regular occurrence and the water pressure returned after about an hour.  While this approach to backflow protection seemed effective, it would not meet U. S. code requirements, which mandate that every outlet fitting have backflow protection. That's right; every fitting outlet must be protected."
Backflow Protection for Private Water Systems "A change in water pressure can cause water to flow backwards in a water distribution system. This is referred to as backflow. For example, if you're running water through an outdoor hose and someone turns water through an outdoor hose and someone turns water on inside the house, it might cause a loss of pressure.  If backflow occurs while a drinking water supply is in direct contact with contaminated water, drinking water can become contaminated." Oregon State University
Legionairre's outbreak traced to home's cooling unit "A deadly outbreak of legionnaire's disease at a Toronto-area nursing home has been traced back to the cooling tower on the roof of the facility, health officials said Friday. Toronto chief public health officer David McKeown said bacteria samples take from the cooling unit on the roof of Seven Oaks Home for the Aged were the same as those taken from ill residents of the facility. “An air intake for the home's ventilation system is located next to the cooling tower, and it's our conclusion that droplets containing the bacteria were spread through the home by the ventilation system,” he told reporters during an afternoon press conference. “The bacteria causing the disease was spread through a very vulnerable population of elderly residents with tragic results.” ...He added there was no evidence that the cooling unit was improperly maintained. Investigators are still looking into how the bacteria came to be in the tower." The Globe and Mail, Oct. 21, 2005 
College of Product Knowledge: Backflow Preventers "The category of products we'll be discussing here is sometimes called cross connection control devices. Cross connection refers to any linking between a potable water supply (one safe for drinking) and any source of non-potable water--or any other fluid--into a common system. Examples of cross connection piping arrangements include bypass hookups, jumper connections, removable sections, and swivel or changeover devices. The need for cross connection control goes beyond the simple prohibiting of improper hookups themselves; it commonly involves specifying and installing of protective devices to prevent the backflow of contaminated or polluted water supplies in the event that cross connections are (sometimes have to be) made. These products are required by code for plumbing installations today, including municipal water systems, food processing plants, medical facilities and many industrial applications."
Water, water everywhere "As trends ripple through society, water is now not only vital but in vogue. However, to tap or not to tap is the question. With bottled water springing up in every form and flavor, consumers may be surprised to discover healthy drinking water starts at the source. Drinking water in the United States is among the best in the world: It’s ranked 12th among 122 countries by the United Nations. Water in the United States is treated and monitored in order to isolate problems as well as take care of any that do arise almost as soon as they are detected. All drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at the very least small amounts of some contaminants. However, the presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that the water poses a health risk, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. ...The sources of drinking water, both tap water and bottled water, include rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs and wells. ..As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally occurring minerals and, in some cases, it can pick up substances resulting from the presence of animal or human activity. " Snowmass Village Sun, Oct. 19, 2005
Water backflow program discussed " A first reading to protect the water system from contamination caused by cross-connection and backflow was unanimously approved by Monday night by the Bath Town Council. Councilman Tom Hall, a member of the water committee, said the backflow prevention program has been around since the 1980s and health departments are now implementing it. ...Hall said the state-mandated program will begin in January, and if there is a probable cause for backflow, it must be tested every 12 months. Hall said hospitals and funeral homes must prevent waste from getting back into the water system." The Herald-Mail, Oct. 18, 2005
Rome to upgrade water meters for all users "The City of Rome has signed a performance contract with Johnson Controls Inc. to replace 14,833 residential and commercial water meters throughout the city...  ...Rome city management lists water meter replacement as one of its key initiatives this year. ...Another advantage of this meter upgrade is backflow protection (TechZone Ed.: thermal expansion issues must be addressed if every meter has a containment device) which will be installed for every resident.  The backflow protection will prevent  contaminants from accidentally back flowing into the public water system. Bennett also notes that water customers can expect minimal disruption throughout the changeove process. The installation of new water meters will begin as early as November, and is scheduled to be complete in 2006." Rome News, Oct. 18, 2005
Cross Connections and Backflow Prevention "Many small ground water systems are more vulnerable to backflow than larger systems because they don't always have continuous positive pressure from elevated storage reservoirs or an emergency power supply. This unit introduces cross-connection concepts, terminology, and prevention techniques and discusses related equipment that you, as an  operator, should be able to use effectively." Montana Water
Backflow and Dental Saliva Ejectors (scroll to bottom of page)"Question: Is backflow possible when using a saliva ejector?  Answer: Backflow, meaning reverse flow, can occur from the low-volume suction line through the saliva ejector tip and into the patient’s mouth. There have been some recent studies which demonstrate possible cross-contamination between dental patients due to backflow from the saliva ejector. Backflow occurs when there is more negative pressure in the patient’s mouth than in the evacuator tubing (this can occur when the patient uses the saliva ejector as a straw). When this happens, there exists the possibility that material from the mouth of a previous patient may remain in the vacuum line of the saliva ejector and be aspirated into the mouth of the next patient being treated. Data also suggest the possible existence of an infection risk during backflow from potential pathogens shed from the biofilm in the tubing in low-volume suction lines." US Air Force
Boil water notice "Customers on the northern part of the Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority's water system are being advised to boil water before drinking it. The "boil water notice" was issued early Thursday morning in response to an unexplained reduction in water pressure in areas served by the Dry Pond and Georgia Highway 124 tanks, said Paul Mims, water superintendent. The pressure reduction was caused because the water level in the two tanks dropped due to high consumption. When water pressure drops below 20 pounds per square inch (psi), it is possible for outside water to infiltrate the system; hence the warning. "We didn't have a broken line and all of our meters have backflow preventers, so there shouldn't be anything (outside water) in there," Mims said. The notice is required by the Environmental Protection Division and will probably stand until Friday morning.", Oct. 12, 2005
Madison residents question waterline project "A roomful of township residents gathered Tuesday evening to discuss the possibility of  waterline installation along state Route 518. Al DeAngelis, Jr., district manager for Buckeye Water District, conducted the meeting, which was held to answer any  resident questions and to determine how many in the township were interested in tapping into a water district water line. ...Residents along state Route 518 currently pump water from wells on their property. If a waterline is installed, the residents will not be required to abandon their wells, however, DeAngelis said that they would need to install an EPA mandated backflow prevention device. The individual could install their own device, but DeAngelis said that BWD representatives would check the installation to be sure that it adheres with EPA guidelines." The Times Leader, Oct. 12, 2005
Tarentum Council reading meter presentations "Council was bombarded with numbers Monday night during presentations about water and electric meters. The borough is considering either replacing or modifying meters. Council has not decided which way to go, but several council members seem to be eager to make a change. ...The digital meter reads water flow every six seconds and can detect leaks, severity of the leaks and backflow. The meters have a 10-year warranty. Meter reading is done by radio frequency either by GPS or tower-mounted antennae.", Oct. 12, 2005
Water Wars Aplenty as Taps Run Dry or Dirty "Living amidst glistening wet paddies, marshes, lagoons and rivers, Vietnamese may be said to be leading an amphibious existence. Yet, access to safe drinking water is a concern for many citizens. Take Nguyen Minh Trung. Every time he turns on a tap, in his Ba Thang Hai Street residence in the city, he wonders whether the water will leave a yellow or a black sediment. To illustrate his point, the 32-year-old worker fills a porcelain bowl with tap water and sets it on a table. A minute later, a sediment-- yellow this time-- had settled at the bottom. ...There is a simple explanation for the sediments says Nguyen Nang Than, director of Phu Hoa Water Supply Branch. ''The water is picking up pollution from the dirty old pipes,'' he told IPS. Several attempts have been made to flush the pipes out and clean them, but last month local newspapers had descriptions of tap water that read: ''still as black as coffee''. ''If water flows at a steady pressure, it would not pick up debris from the pipes... the shortage and sudden pressure creates uneven flows, and so the water picks up sediments,'' said Than. But samples taken by officials of the preventive health service and the department of natural resources and environment (NRE) show that the tap water contains not only sediments but also unacceptably high levels of bacteria. In parts of the city, water pressure is so low that residents use pumps to coax water out of the system, sucking in dirt through the corroded pipes. And on the outskirts, residents who lack running water, bore their own wells and pump out underground water for their daily use." Inter Press Service News Agency, Oct. 11, 2005
The Deadly Garden Hose "You are in the shower. Someone turns on the water in another part of the house. The flow reduces in either the cold or hot water lines and the water is no longer the temperature you set it at. Now it is too cold or too hot, because of the reduction in flow of water through the showerhead. This is normal for water in a pressurized system. Only so much water can flow through the pipes feeding the system. Each use of water reduces the flow of water to other open faucets. The effect can be so small that you don't notice when a neighbor turns water on or off, but it is still there." City of Brunswick, Georgia
WHAT SHOULD THEY HAVE DONE? Part 2 "...A municipal golf course operated by the City Parks Department was supplied by the public water system through two water services. A domestic service supplied the clubhouse. The second service supplied the golf course turf irrigation system. The water purveyor required a reduced pressure backflow assembly (RPBA) for premises isolation on the irrigation service. The City Parks Department employed a cross connection control specialist (CCS) and a backflow assembly tester (BAT). Both were certified by the WA Department of Health. During the annual test, when the BAT shut off the isolating valves to the RPBA it was discovered that a drinking fountain was supplied from the irrigation service and not the potable water service to the golf course. The CCS notified the Parks Department maintenance supervisor of the need to disconnect the drinking fountain from the irrigation system. To reconnect the drinking fountain to the potable water piping on the golf course would require the installation of approximately 500-feet of pipe that would cross the fairway." Spokane Regional Cross Connection Control Chapter
Toronto's mystery illness is legionnaires' disease "Canadian health officials on Thursday identified the "mystery illness" that killed 16 people in a Toronto nursing home as legionnaires' disease. The disease, a type of pneumonia, is contracted by people breathing in small droplets of water contaminated with the bacteria -- often from ventilation systems. It is rare in Ontario, though the bacteria is common in the environment throughout North America. David McKeown, Toronto's medical officer of health, said most cases can be treated with antibiotics but older people with underlying health problems are more at risk of becoming seriously ill and dying. The 16 residents of Seven Oaks Home for the Aged who died were between the ages of 50 and 95 and had existing medical conditions. ...They are treating about 80 people with antibiotics and an environmental investigation is under way at the nursing home. The building's ventilation system has been shut down while tests are carried out and staff and residents are being asked not to drink the tap water. Legionnaires' disease got its name in 1976 when a group of American Legionnaires at a Philadelphia convention suffered an outbreak of the lung infection. The bacteria forms naturally in the environment, usually in water, and grows best in warm water such as hot water tanks, large plumbing systems or air conditioning systems." Reuters, Oct. 6, 2005
City to implement 'cross connection' program "The City of Emmett is in the process of implementing a program to identify and eliminate cross connections as required by the State of Idaho's Department of Environmental Quality. ...It is a logical assumption that because water is always under pressure, it can only flow in one direction. This is a common misconception. If the pressure on the customer's side of the meter becomes greater than the pressure in the water district's main, a reversal of flow could be created. Situations that could cause this change in pressure include a break in our system's main line or the opening of several hydrants by the fire department because of a fire. If, at the time the reversal of flow occurs, there is anything attached to your plumbing that contains solutions other than the drinking water (i.e. water softeners, a jacuzzi, etc.), these substances could be drawn into the drinking water supply. This would be a cross connection. ...As we begin to implement this program, we will need your help. The City is committed to working with everyone in an efficient and effective manner. Implementing a cross connection program can be extremely time-consuming and, consequently, costly. We are asking for your cooperation in making this as easy as possible for everyone involved." Messennger Index, Oct. 6, 2005
When London held its nose "Out of sight, out of mind - that sums up the general attitude toward the sewer system. If you're not a plumber or an urban planner, you probably don't want to contemplate the grotty world of pipes that lurks beyond your average toilet. But as the fallout from Hurricane Katrina has demonstrated all too well, the problem of drainage and waste removal can be a matter of life and death. Without the power of the flush, you might say, a society risks devolving into a mire of disease and anarchy. The urgency of this issue heightens the momentum of "The Great Stink," first-time novelist Clare Clark's stunningly vivid tale of corruption and treachery in Victorian London. Suspenseful and intensely atmospheric, the book weaves together the stories of two men whose lives intersect during the historic renovation of the London sewers in the 1850s - a project Parliament jump-started after a ghastly stench one summer indicated that the Thames was perhaps not meant to be a citywide garbage-disposal system.", Oct. 2, 2005
The Toxicity of Environmentalism "The environmentalist fear mongers are gearing up for a new propaganda blitz, based on an alleged connection between the two recent major hurricanes and alleged global warming. They apparently believe that modern education and cultural reconditioning have been at work long enough for most Americans by now to have adopted the mentality of primitive tribal villagers, who can be frightened into sacrificing their sheep and goats (substitute SUVs and air conditioners) to avoid the wrath of nature. ...Recently a popular imported mineral water was removed from the market because tests showed that samples of it contained thirty-five parts per billion of benzene. Although this was an amount so small that only fifteen years ago it would have been impossible even to detect, it was assumed that considerations of public health required withdrawal of the product. Such a case, of course, is not unusual nowadays. The presence of parts per billion of a toxic substance is routinely extrapolated into being regarded as a cause of human deaths. And whenever the number of projected deaths exceeds one in a million (or less), environmentalists demand that the government remove the offending pesticide, preservative, or other alleged bearer of toxic pollution from the market.  ...While it is not necessary to question the good intentions and sincerity of the overwhelming majority of the members of the environmental or ecology movement, it is vital that the public realize that in this seemingly lofty and noble movement itself can be found more than a little evidence of the most profound toxicity. ...The reason that one after another of the environmentalists' claims turn out to be proven wrong is that they are made without any regard for truth in the first place. In making their claims, the environmentalists reach for whatever is at hand that will serve to frighten people, make them lose confidence in science and technology, and, ultimately, lead them to deliver themselves up to the environmentalists' tender mercies. The claims rest on unsupported conjectures and wild leaps of imagination from scintillas of fact to arbitrary conclusions, by means of evasion and the drawing of invalid inferences. It is out and out evasion and invalid inference to leap from findings about the effects of feeding rats or mice dosages the equivalent of a hundred or more times what any human being would ever ingest, and then draw inferences about the effects on people of consuming normal quantities. Fears of parts per billion of this or that chemical causing single-digit deaths per million do not rest on science, but on imagination. Such claims have nothing to do either with actual experimentation or with the concept of causality." Ludwig von Mises Institute, Oct. 3, 2005



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