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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......

Backlash over letter on backflow device "Some condo owners upset, but city sees a water-safety issue... Ron Jackson and the other owners of his four-unit Pacific Beach condominium got an expensive letter in the mail this month. The letter, from the city's Water Department, said the building needed to install a backflow plumbing device by Feb. 1. The cost: at least $2,000, according to a bid from the list of city-approved installers. The city estimates that up to 150 San Diego multifamily buildings may get the same letter over the next six months. It's the tail end of a Water Department effort that dates to a 1996 state order. The state told the city it wasn't doing enough to safeguard the drinking-water supply and gave it until June 2007 to address the problem.  Backflow prevention assemblies are supposed to prevent dirty water at industrial, commercial and big residential buildings from seeping backward into the city's clean-water lines. The size of larger buildings sometimes creates back pressure, which can cause used water to reverse into the drinking-water system, department spokesman Kurt Kidman said.  ... Jackson and his neighbors said it was a big outlay of cash on little notice for the four-family homeowners association. It just paid $7,000 to have the 17-year-old building painted. (The Water Department's letter) just came out of the blue, is what it is, Jackson said. It seemed like a lot of money.  He also questioned whether the backflow plumbing device was really needed for safety. It seems very strange to us that we've never heard of any case where water backflow from a condo has jeopardized the health of San Diego water. The city's answer: There have been no cases of ill health, but this process puts more safeguards on the city's water supply. Graham Roberts, another condo owner, said: I certainly don't think we ought to shoulder the necessity of having to retrofit a property like this one. One would have thought it was grandfathered in. The homeowners also are disgruntled about being asked to pay a fee to the approved installers just to get a bid. It's a license for the plumbing community to print money, Roberts said. The Water Department says this process has been going on for years. San Diego was ordered to examine 57,000 water meters around the city to determine how many need backflow devices. About 5,000 are still left to be surveyed, and most of those are small multifamily buildings, such as duplexes and triplexes. ...Kidman said those who get letters should call his department, and that it's possible to avoid the need for the device. We'll try to help you come up with remedies, he said. You might be able to meet the state law by doing some sort of other modification. If property owners don't meet the deadline mentioned in the letters, the Water Department will be lenient. We're not going to shut off people's water, Kidman said. We're not going to fine them. Still, the Pacific Beach condo owners don't feel cheery. It's a lovely Christmas present from the water authority, Roberts said.", Dec. 24, 2006
Big fine proposed for sewer company "The cross-connection of pipes that wound up patching a human waste line to a subdivision's drinking water supply has resulted in a proposed $100,000 fine against Foley-based Baldwin County Sewer Service LLC. The Alabama Department of Environmental Management made the action public Wednesday, along with a 14-page consent order. The order details a host of errors in the heavily reported incident that for more than two months created the possibility of serious illness for residents of Dogwood Dells, a subdivision near Fish River. ...Earlier this year, residents of the Dogwood Dells subdivision sued the company and the city of Fairhope in Baldwin County Circuit Court. The lawsuit, which remains active, claims that as a result of the sewer line mix-up, the plaintiffs "cooked with raw sewage, drank raw sewage, bathed in raw sewage, brushed their teeth with raw sewage, cleaned their homes and personal property with raw sewage and served raw sewage to their families and friends over a period of several months." The state's environmental regulatory agency did not find that anyone became ill as a result of the cross-connection but concluded that the error created "the potential for exposure to pathogens, which could possibly cause serious illness." According to a narrative of events in the ADEM order, the first error was made by city of Fairhope crew. Henry "Rusty" Coker, who owns a lot in the subdivision, had requested sewer service for a travel trailer he used on the weekends and occasionally during the week. Before this could be done, Fairhope had to locate its water lines on the property by marking them for the sewer crew to see. The city crew, however, made a marking across the street from its water line. The sewer company crew -- "in reliance upon Fairhope's indication of the water line" -- then excavated an area where they expected to find one of their sewer lines, but where there actually was a water line. The company's sewer pipes are blue, and the city's water lines are white. The line dug up by the company workers was white, which according to ADEM, should have alerted them that they'd dug up a water line. The company said its workers said the line "emitted a foul odor," so they assumed it was the sewer line. They then "inadvertently connected the sewer" line from the Coker lot to the Fairhope water line that fed the subdivision, according to the order. On Sept. 19, 2005, the company installed a pump to begin service, thus "creating, for the first time, the deposition of human waste from the Coker travel trailer into Fairhope's drinking water supply whenever the travel trailer was occupied," the order states. ...Fairhope officials told the paper they ...found problems, traced the water line and found the connection to Baldwin County Sewer Service's line. The company was alerted and offered temporary alternative housing to residents, which ADEM cited as a mitigating factor in the company's favor. Despite finding that the two lines had been cross-connected, the agency concluded that it was "difficult to determine whether any wastewater was actually introduced into the Fairhope water line." "However, even if no wastewater was actually transmitted into the Fairhope water line, an unacceptable risk of contamination was created by the cross-connection," ADEM concluded." Press-Register, Dec. 22, 2006
Where the Siphon and Siphonage Make Sanitary Plumbing Fixtures Insanitary & How Cross-Connections Can Be Avoided "Perhaps the most difficult task in the matter of cross connections is teaching the skeptical and indifferent the how and why of siphons and siphonage. The siphon in its various forms, and siphonage, has more uses and functions in plumbing practice than any other apparatus. As a force or energy, it is employed in many types of fixtures, apparatus and construction. In order to study the subject of plumbing fixtures, acting as cross connections, we must have a clear understanding on the subject of siphons and siphonage, recognize them where they are built into a plumbing fixture, or made up in the connection of a plumbing fixture to a water supply distributing system. The sanitary engineer, architect, hospital superintendent, plumber and manufacturer of plumbing materials must be able to recognize a siphon... ...The point where safe water ends and sewage begins is sometimes very finely drawn. Plumbing fixtures are the terminals of the water supply distributing system, the source of sewage and the beginning of the sewerage system. Excrement, urine, body and domestic wastes from plumbing fixtures is not safe for human consumption. No person would knowingly drink waste water from a water closet, urinal, bed pan sterilizer, instrument sterilizer, lavatory or bath tub. There is no question, however, that many of us have and will continue to do so until this evil has been eliminated." From the ASSE Archives, a 1930 Annual Meeting Presentation, reprinted in Plumbing Standards, April-June 2001
How Potable Water Rises to the Top of Skyscrapers "High-rise buildings decorate the landscape of our major cities across our great nation. Not only are they a challenge to build architecturally, but there are also many other challenging factors that go into each ones design, such as pumping water. Few people ever think about how the water gets to the top floors of these buildings for everyday living purposes such as drinking, bathing and mechanical uses such as cooling towers and supplying HVAC equipment. As you read, you will understand that each high-rise buildings plumbing design is just as important as any other aspect of construction. No matter how big and beautiful the building, it is not habitable without water." ASSE Plumbing Standards, Oct.-Dec., 2005
City to conduct water protection surveys "Do you have a backflow prevention device? How about an irrigation system or, for businesses, a soda fountain? Do you know what this device is for? It is logical to assume that because water is always under pressure, it can only flow in one direction. However, it's possible for the flow to be reversed. Water will always flow to the lowest point. If a main water line in the system should break, or if a fire occurred and the fire department opened several hydrants, the pressure in the water mains could drop dramatically, causing a reversal of flow. The potential for this reversal of flow is why the city is concerned about the possibility of contaminants back flowing into our water system. Backflow prevention devices prevent the water from flowing back into the water system and polluting the drinking water. The Colony's drinking water is among the safest in the world. Federal and State regulations require water suppliers (such as the City of The Colony) to protect their water systems from contamination or pollution. To do this The Colony building inspections department will conduct surveys throughout the city. Through these surveys, the city's water protection specialist will determine the extent of backflow protection that is required. In January 2007, the City of the Colony will have a water protection specialist perform annual testing on all residential and commercial backflow devices throughout the city. The cost of testing each device will be added to your monthly water bill for residential, $3.33/month and for commercial $7.08/month. For example, if residential property has an irrigation system, the backflow assembly will be tested once a year by the city and you will be charged $3.33 per month on your water bill." Star Community Newspapers, Dec. 13, 2006
Next life, one should be a plumber "Regarding the news brief Wednesday titled "State rule means inspection, water fee": I felt at first that this fee was sort of like double dipping, but then, the term "double ripping" (as in rip-off) hit me as a better description. The item states that "many" Sarasota County water-utility customers will start seeing a $2, "or so," surcharge on their water bills to cover the cost of annual inspections of their backflow preventers. Just Saturday I received a letter from Sarasota County from an individual with the impressive title of "Cross-Connection Control Coordinator," telling me that residential customers must comply with the county ordinance by having annual testing and certification of backflow-prevention assemblies. Such inspections must be done by a licensed plumbing contractor or fire-protection systems contractor. There is no doubt in my mind, based upon the content of the letter, that customers would, somehow, pay for such an inspection. ...The county has not been enforcing the ruling and, according to the coordinator, the state is after Sarasota to do so. He said a ballpark figure for the inspection is $35 to $65. As for a deadline, he said the county isn't pushing too hard because it wants to give homeowners associations time to make arrangements with plumbing contractors for reduced rates. The county is also looking at negotiating fees and coordinating inspections if households pay the two bucks "or so" a month, as your newspaper said. I told the Cross-Connection Control Coordinator that, in my afterlife, I wanted to return as a plumber in Sarasota County, as I could be assured of never being out of work." Herald Tribune, Dec. 14, 2006
Thieves posing as Tempe employees (scroll down page for story) "Police are warning residents and businesses to beware of city "water department" impostors. People are reportedly impersonating city employees and shutting off the water at businesses during the day and then stealing backflow preventers that contain copper, which the thieves sell for a high price, police said. The impostors usually wear orange vests and drive small white trucks, similar to the city trucks, but without a city logo, police said. Employees of Tempe Water Services do not enter residences or businesses to turn off water, check pipes or water pressure or perform other tests without informing the owner first, police said. Police say to ask for a city identification card with a photo and if unsure, call the City of Tempe Water Department..." The Arizona Republic, Dec. 12, 2006
Dennett officials say water safe for children "Problems with the Dennett Elementary well water system may result in fines by the state. But when parents recently learned that the water system failed to meet state requirements, they were more worried about the health of their children. ...Theresa Barao , a spokeswoman for the Department of Environmental Protection, says the system will remain in violation until administrators provide proof that all safeguards required for a public drinking water supply are in place. According to letters from the state, lack of back-up documentation called into question whether backflow prevention valves, used to avoid pollution, had been installed in the school addition when it was built in 2001. While the devices were included in the construction plans, no one checked once the school was built to make sure the valves were in place. ...The lack of required documentation was discovered last May during a routine survey. ...Schools Superintendent Dana Parker said the delay in addressing DEP's list of shortcomings was the result of a misunderstanding. "We expected the water operator to do it, and he expected us to do it," Parker said." The Boston Globe, Dec. 10, 2006
Recognizing Waterborne Disease and The Health Effects of Water Pollution "Contamination of water reserves by either chemical agents or infectious pathogens may affect the health of millions of residents in the United States. Water consumers are frequently unaware of the potential health risks associated with exposure to waterborne contaminants and often consult practicing physicians who are unfamiliar with water pollution issues and their subsequent impact on human health. Misdiagnosis and underdiagnosis of waterborne disease by the medical community may result in significant morbidity and mortality, particularly in vulnerable populations at increased risk of disease as a result of exposure to waterborne pathogens and chemical contaminants.  In addition, the events of September 11th emphasize the need for practicing healthcare providers to recognize unusual disease trends and early warning signs that may result from potential biological or chemical terrorism. Although the risk is extremely low, these covert attacks may include an assault on water safety. Primary care practitioners throughout the United States must be especially vigilant in light of the fact that they are likely to be the first to observe unusual illness patterns and must therefore understand their critical role in protecting water resources and their community's health. ... Any future strategic plan to maintain and protect water quality and safety in the United States must include physicians as stakeholders and active participants in this ongoing public health challenge. Unfortunately, the majority of practicing physicians in the United States have received no formalized training in the recognition and evaluation of waterborne disease...", 2006
Does water STILL flow on Mars? "Dramatic new photographs of Mars have revealed the possible existence of water on its surface. The images - released for the first time on Wednesday by the US space agency NASA - were taken earlier this year in an attempt to unlock the secrets of the Red Planet. Experts have long believed water was to be found on Mars, which is subject to extreme weather conditions. This latest discovery may provide vital proof there was life on Mars and that it is possible for man to land on its arid and rocky surface. NASA researchers have documented the formation of new craters on the plant's surface and found bright, light-coloured deposits in gullies that were not present in previous photos. They concluded the deposits - possibly mud, salt or frost - were left there when water recently cascaded through the channels. ...Only last month British cosmologist Professor Stephen Hawking advocated missions to other planets." Daily Mail, Dec. 6, 2006
E.coli Scare Forces L.I. Taco Bells To Close "Number Of Confirmed Cases In N.Y., N.J. Reach 39... Source Of Bacteria Undetermined, Food Sent To Labs... An outbreak of E-coli bacteria has sickened more than a dozen people on Long Island, including several who ate at Taco Bell. Officials have asked eight Taco Bell restaurants be closed. It's not immediately clear if the Long Island E-coli is related to an outbreak in New Jersey, where several people got sick after eating at Taco Bell. At least 15 people became ill in New Jersey, two seriously. Four of the restaurants were closed in Suffolk County. Nassau County officials say Taco Bell agreed to close and decontaminate four there. ...Taco Bell's president, Greg Creed, says the is working with health officials to find the cause. (hmmm, see the following story, could it be the beef?) He says they closed the restaurants on Long Island and in New Jersey as a precaution. He says the company is sanitizing the restaurants and replacing all the food and ingredients before reopening." WCBS-TV New York, Dec. 5, 2006
US Group Angered Over Contaminated-Beef Treatment "When workers at a Nebraska beef packing plant inadvertantly sprayed waste water on 493 carcasses, the company should not have been allowed to clean and treat the meat and allow it to enter the food supply, a non-profit consumer group said Thursday. U.S. Department of Agriculture spokesman Steven Cohen said that the meat would normally be deemed "contaminated," but in this situation company officials at Swift & Company convinced government inspectors they could make the beef "safe and wholesome again" through "approved treatment and microbiological testing." Swift officials were not available for immediate comment. Cohen said the company cut off the external surfaces of the carcasses that came into contact with the waste water and treated the remaining beef before testing it for E. coli, salmonella and other bacterias. ...That, the group said, is because the waste water sprayed on the carcasses contained "filth previously collected in the drains on its kill floor" which likely contained "fecal material." USDA's Cohen said it was indeed waste water sprayed on the carcasses - as a result of a defective "backflow mechanism" - but USDA inspectors oversaw the treatment of meat and the sample testing and were convinced it was safe for people to eat. "We had control from the beginning to the end," Cohen said. But Felicia Nestor, a spokeswoman for Food & Water Watch, said the group was not satisfied. "Even if there were absolute certainty that this product was safe," the group said in the letter dated Nov. 30, "this is a circumstance in which product adulteration is so extensive and offensive that allowing companies to salvage and sell it to unsuspecting consumers is unreasonable."" Cattle Network, Nov. 30, 2006
Waynesboro mulls problems with water "One homeowner purchased a pump to boost water pressure in the house. Another homeowner (then) finds only a trickle when she turns on the tap. And another homeowner on Cherry Avenue stands in the shower without water when someone downstairs flushes. ...For three years, Nancy and LeRoy Wells saw their water go from a gentle stream to, at times, just a trickle. "It's very frustrating," Nancy Wells said. "You go to the kitchen, and it's trickle, trickle, trickle." ..."When you took a shower upstairs and someone flushed downstairs the shower stopped," Bennett said. ...The problem is that the three homes are hooked onto a 1-inch water line in their back alley. Bnnett and Wells complained to the city when they both moved in. Both Craig Bennett and LeRoy Wells stated that the city did not provide a satisfactory response to their problem. Bennett obtained a permit and placed an air pressure tank in his home. "It's better," he said. "But it's still not what I was used to." Once the pump was installed, the water supply at the Wells' house on the street decreased further, dependent on the time of day, to an almost non-existent flow. Sometimes the couple gets backflow. "We have nothing against the neighbors," LeRoy Wells said. "We understand why they did what they did. But the pump exacerbated the low-pressure problem and made us bring it to the city." All three neighbors are frustrated. ..."This is a multifaceted problem," Smith said. "I want to make sure that we are treating our residents equitably. Cherry Avenue is not the only location where this is occurring. This needs to be addressed."" The News Leader, Dec. 2, 2006
Test Kit Valves "When most people think of backflow test kits they think of differential pressure gauges. Is it analog (dial type) or digital? What is the accuracy? Backflow test kits, however, are assemblies. One of he main components of those assemblies are valves. This article only describes in general the valves used on backflow test kits. Backflow test kits come in two-valve, three-valve and fivevalve varieties. Some of these test kits have valves plumbed in clear view; some have valves hidden by brackets, while others use manifolds. Test kit valves have two jobs; one, is to bleed air from the test kit; two, is to control the flow of water pressure to allow the testing of backflow preventers. The valve type has dramatic effects on how easy it is to perform these tests. ...What is the bottom line? Know the differences in the valve types and select the test kit or valves that will best suit your needs.", Jan.-March, 2006 Plumbing Standards Magazine
Bainbridge Island Water System Tests Clean (subscription [free] may be needed) "A boil-water advisory has been lifted for the 1,200 customers of Island Utility Water System, according to Denise Lahmann of the Washington State Department of Health. ...The boil-water advisory was issued Sunday after routine tests found evidence of contamination in a water line serving Port Blakely Elementary School and Islandwood environmental learning center. ...Jerry Deeter of Kitsap County Health District said health inspectors suspect that the contamination was introduced into an air-pressure-relief valve in an underground vault. It appeared that muddy water got into the vault and could have covered the valve during recent heavy rains. The water system operator intends to improve drainage in and around the vault to prevent a recurrence, Deeter said. A couple of other concerns were found at Port Blakely Elementary School, although there no evidence of contamination was uncovered, Deeter said. For example, a hose was attached to a faucet and directed into an empty bucket. If there were water in the bucket, it would be a classic "cross-connection" with the potential for dirty water to flow back into the water line under particular conditions, he said. The operator will work with school officials to eliminate such potential, he added.", Nov. 22, 206 
Design of plumbing systems for industrial and temporary applications "Backflow prevention in industrial, commercial and institutional water systems --- Any water piping installation where there is a possibility that a harmful substance may gain access to a drinking-water supply must have a backflow protection device installed. Various types of backflow protection are described in this chapter. This topic is addressed in considerable detail in the Crossconnection control manual (EPA 2003). ...A plumbing hazard that is particularly difficult to control is a temporary installation for a particular purpose. Backflow and backsiphonage devices should be installed as described in sections 14.5 and 15.3. Because these temporary installations are not part of a plumbing system or connected to conventional fixtures, they are not subject to the requirement of plans submission, but they should be subject to other controls. Such temporary installations can be more dangerous than permanent systems, especially when they are not subject to the plumbing code of practice construction and use requirements." WHO, Health Asspects of Plumbing, 2006
Cross-Connections Can Create Health Hazards (Another very nice up-to-date example of a customer education brochure) "Every water system has cross connections. Plumbing codes and State drinking water regulations require cross connections to be controlled by approved methods (physical air gap) or approved mechanical backflow prevention devices or assemblies. The various types of mechanical backflow preventers include: reduced pressure backflow assembly (RPBA), reduced pressure detector assembly (RPDA), double check valve assembly (DCDA), double check detector check valve assembly (DCDA), double check detector (PVBA), spill resistant vacuum breaker assembly (SVBA) and atmospheric vacuum breaker (AVB). For a backflow preventer to provide proper protection, it must be approved for backflow protection, designed for the degree of hazard and backflow it is controlling, installed correctly, tested annually by a State certified tester, and repaired as necessary." PNWS-AWWA
CBPA Photo Gallery "Here is the new Photo gallery, as requested by members in the CBPA. The biggest need perceived was to show good and bad backflow prevention installations. Many of our water purveyor members get asked frequently as to what constitutes a good or bad installation, and hopefully these pictures demonstrate both types. ...Most of the images shown here were submitted to the CBPA for photo contests and are excellent examples of both good and bad backflow prevention installations." Colorado Backflow Prevention Association, 2006 
Routine Sanitary Surveys (1.5mb pdf doc) "Mission...  To protect the health of the people of Washington State by assuring safe and reliable drinking water. ...Importance of Sanitary Surveys... Identify areas that are currently, or may in the future, prevent the water system's capacity to provide safe drinking water. ...Common Problems Found ...Old piping and tanks not eliminated (not just valved off). ...Potential high health cross-connection hazards." (includes pictures) Washington State Department of Health, Nov. 19, 2006
THREE ST. LOUIS STREET INSPECTORS & ONE PLUMBING INSPECTOR INDICTED ON MAIL FRAUD AND BRIBERY CHARGES "Three St. Louis street inspectors and one plumbing inspector have been indicted on charges involving accepting bribes... ...Plumbing inspector AUGUST "BILL" BECKEMEYER, 33, of St. Louis, was indicted by a federal grand jury for bribery involving federal programs. St. Louis City property owners pay extra taxes for the sole purpose of funding repairs to sewer lines. The inspectors are supposed to make sure the money is well spent, not line their own pockets, said Hanaway. Mayor Slay stated: "This sends a clear message that corruption in Government will not be tolerated in the City of St. Louis." ...As to plumbing inspector Beckemeyer, the indictment alleges that between March 2004 and June 2005, Beckemeyer took in excess of $5,000 from plumbing contractors and drain layers in exchange for favorable approval of plumbing and drain laying projects. If convicted, the mail fraud charges each carry a maximum penalty of twenty years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000; the bribery charges carries a maximum penalty of ten years and/or $250,000. Hanaway commended the work performed on the case by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Labor-Office of Inspector General and Executive Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey Jensen, who is handling the case for the U.S. Attorneys Office. The charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations, and each defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty." FBI & Department of Justice, Aug. 3, 2006 
Plumbing equipment taken: (scroll down page to Plantation) "Someone stole four backflow assemblies from a grassy area in the 4600 block of Northwest Ninth Court between 11 p.m. Nov. 1 and 10 a.m. Nov. 2. The units prevented unwanted water from flowing back into the plumbing of five homes. The loss was estimated at $1,650."
One-Third of World: Bad Toilets "The humble flush toilet, taken for granted in most rich countries, could be a cheap but powerful tool to slash childhood deaths and boost global development, a U.N. report said Thursday. The annual report of the U.N. Development Program said that lack of access to clean water and basic sanitation in a third of the world killed nearly 2 million children each year. This amounted to nearly 5,000 deaths per day, most of them preventable, and made diarrhea the second biggest childhood killer. "No access to sanitation is a polite way of saying that people draw water for drinking, cooking and washing from rivers, lakes, ditches and drains fouled with human and animal excrement," said Kevin Watkins, the main author. "The toilet may seem an unlikely catalyst for human development, but the report provides abundant and powerful evidence to show how it benefits people's well being," he said. ..."Dripping taps in rich countries lose more water than is available each day to more than 1 billion people," it said. It said that 2.4 billion people have no access to sanitation and 1 billion people have no access to clean water. Many of those without adequate water used about a gallon per day, compared to about 50 gallons in Europe and about 100 gallons in the United States. ...The report called for a global campaign -- similar to the Global Fund against AIDS, TB and malaria to try to coordinate all the fragmented efforts of different agencies working with water. ...But the report also criticized developing countries for spending too little on water and sanitation.", Nov. 9, 2006
Waterloo takes big step to protect water from backflow contamination "Waterloo city council has endorsed a plan to protect the municipal water supply   from contaminated backflow out of industrial, commercial, institutional and multi-residential buildings. The backflow prevention program was approved in-principle by council at Monday night's meeting. It will target a variety of companies and institutions, ranging from car washes to hospitals. "Often they will have systems that are semi-connected to their internal water  system in order to treat their water. We don't want whatever they've done to their water to come back into our system," said Bill Garibaldi, the city's director of utilities, in an interview. ...Backflow prevention has always been an issue with municipalities, Garibaldi said, adding it is generally highlighted after a backflow incident takes place. The report cited the backflow incident in Guelph in 1997, when chemicals from a petroleum plant entered the city's water supply. In that case, the backflow prevention device installed on the system had failed. This incident led many municipalities to establish a backflow prevention program and create a backflow prevention officer position. "You will often see people become more proactive once an incident occurs that really shows the vulnerability of their system." The Ministry of the Environment is pushing municipalities to be more than just reactive though. ...Although the program has been approved in-principle, "nothing is set in stone,"Garibaldi said. ...The program is expected to cost $160,000 per year, the report said." Waterloo Chronicle, Nov. 8, 2006
National Cost Estimate for Cross Connection Control in Small Water Systems "Cross connection control and backflow prevention are not a new concern. All states have some type of law or regulation for the control of cross connections and/or backflow prevention. ...The purpose of this study is to develop a national cost estimate for the implementation of a cross connection control program for small water systems and small communities. This study is sponsored by the National Rural Water Association (NRWA), its state affiliates, and the more than 23,000 small water systems it represents across the United States. The cost of cross connection control programs for small systems and small communities is especially important because the US Environmental Protection Agencys (USEPAs) has a current interest in the regulation of drinking water distribution systems. ...Cross contamination from private plumbing systems can contain biological hazards (such as bacteria or viruses) or toxic substances that can contaminate and sicken an entire population in the event of backflow. The majority of historical incidences of backflow have been accidental, but growing concern that contaminants could be intentionally backfed into a system is prompting increased awareness for private homes, businesses, industries, and areas most vulnerable security-related risks." NRWA White Paper, Aug. 28, 2004
Is It Time for a Single National Standard on a Backflow Prevention Device? "End users of backflow devices demand products which exhibit superior flow characteristics, are easy to install and maintain and are as small and lightweight as possible. For backflow prevention device manufacturers to stay competitive, new and innovative designs must be continually brought into the market. The key points of design that drive the industry are well known. New high tech materials and manufacturing methods are sought to allow the highest quality products to be offered at the most competitive prices. Unceasingly improving current product offerings while introducing new ones is certainly challenging on its own, but todays backflow manufacturers face another obstacle- an overbearing approval and certification process. ...From the beginning, those in the backflow industry have recognized the importance of maintaining the quality of the devices they manufacture. The public health is safeguarded by a cross connection control program that is only as safe and reliable as the devices used." Plumbing Standards, Summer 2006
Online Backflow Instructor's Guide "This Instructor's Guide has been compiled to aid ASSE approved instructors in conducting Tester Certification and Recertification classes in accordance with the ASSE Series 5000 Professional Qualifications Standard. Because of the ever changing nature of the building and construction industry, together with the continuing development of new technology and equipment in the backflow prevention industry, the need to continually update and improve our certification program is clear. The objective of this guide is to provide instructors with the resources that along with both the ASSE/ANSI 5000 standard and the ASSE Guide to Cross Connection Protection Devices and Assemblies - Application and Selection Book, will enable them to provide a quality educational experience for their students. ...During its April 1987 meeting, the ASSE Board of Directors recognized a plumbing industry need and voted to develop professional qualification standards for individuals involved with backflow prevention. Like the ASSE product standards, these professional qualifications standards established minimum industry requirements for backflow prevention assembly testers, backflow prevention assembly repairers and cross connection control surveyors. This voluntary consensus series of standards was the first in the plumbing and water supply fields to set minimum requirements for a qualified professional. Backflow prevention assemblies and devices, along with their proper installation, testing and repairing, have been an important part of protecting public health since the 1890's. During the past one hundred years, the industry grew in many directions and philosophies. To prepare this standard, representatives from different regions and industry segments dedicated themselves to achieve a true consensus and thereby advancing the backflow prevention community.", Oct.24, 2006
Winterizing Your Home "It seems the below-freezing temperatures overnight, caught some homeowners in the valley by surprise. They woke up to their backflow valves leaking, some even gushing gallons of water.  Experts say if you haven't taken steps to winterize your home yet, it's not too late.  "I've never had this happen before," said Garden City homeowner, Nadine Miller. The water cascading out of the backflow valve in Miller's front lawn is nothing compared to what it looked like Wednesday morning. "We saw a geyser up here four to five feet in the air," she said. Miller planned on having her sprinklers blown out Thursday, an appointment she made a month ago. But with temperatures dipping down into the low 20's and teens in some valley areas Tuesday night, the water inside those pipes froze and when it returned back to the liquid state, it blew the top right off the exposed backflow prevention device.  ...To prevent that from happening to you, Palmer recommends covering the backflow valve with a blanket to keep it warm, until a lawn care company can winterize your sprinkler system. Once you have your sprinklers blown out, and the water that leads to the sprinkler system turned off, you should turn the handles on the valve and screws on the side of the test ports into a half open, half close position, so you can drain out the excess water. If you don't, water could get trapped inside the valve, when it freezes, it expands and could cause a crack in the valve. By taking these preventative measures now, you should hopefully avoid paying for some costly repairs.  Miller says she's learned her lesson, and plans on winterizing her home, a little bit earlier next year." Fox 12 News, Nov. 1, 2006
ORANGE COUNTY UTILITIES CROSS CONNECTION CONTROL MANUAL  REVISION 1 (106 page pdf document) "This Manual is published to provide our customers and contractors with an understanding of cross connections, backflow prevention assemblies, and the reasons for installing them. It also serves as a standard policy and a coordinated effort with local plumbing codes to ensure that our drinking water is protected from actual and potential contamination hazards. Orange County Utilities is protecting public health through the enforcement of requirements and standards for design, construction, operation and maintenance of public potable water supply systems and reclaimed water systems." Orange County Utilities Water Division and Orange County Building Division, Sept. 2002
CROSS-CONNECTION CONTROL AT ARMY INSTALLATIONS (see page 31) "The purpose of this Public Works Technical Bulletin (PWTB) is to provide an overview of cross-connection control and backflow prevention at Army installations with particular emphasis on regulatory aspects, technical guidelines and major elements of (a) cross connection control program. ...This PWTB applies to all U.S. Army Directorate Public Works activities responsible for providing drinking water to consumers in accordance with requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and its amendments, and applicable state and local regulations. ...Under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), a water supplier is responsible for preventing polluted or contaminated water, gas, or other substances from entering a public drinking water system. US Army regulations mandate that potable water at all Army installations meets the SDWA and State and local regulations. In addition, Army regulations require particular methods and procedures be followed in the design, operation, and maintenance of potable water systems, and mandate compliance with specific technical guidelines. The development of an organized program that identifies, controls, and/or eliminates the interconnections (cross-connections) between drinking water systems (potable) and other water systems of questionable quality (nonpotable) is also required. To comply with these requirements, a Cross-Connection Control Program must be developed, implemented, and maintained." U.S Army Corps of Engineers, PUBLIC WORKS TECHNICAL BULLETIN 420-49-16
Kettering Tower fire puts plans on hold "Fire investigators are continuing to hunt for the cause of Thursday's electrical fire at the Kettering Tower, the city's tallest building at 30 stories. The fire at the building, 40 N. Main St., caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in soot and water damage. Dayton Fire Marshal Sean Englert said the fire may have started from flooding from the 30th floor, caused by a leak in a backflow prevention system that leaked to the vault room on the 23rd floor. The alarm came in at 1:28 a.m., he said. ...The glow of emergency lights, the smell of burnt wiring and water puddles from the sprinkler system were "a little eerie," said Lacie Sims, member relations director for the Racquet Club on the 29th floor. ...Trucks from Korrect Plumbing and Apex Restoration arrived shortly before noon with repair/restoration crews. Daniel McNeil, president of Apex Restoration, said about seven floors were heavily damaged with water or soot. "We plan to clean and restore the whole building," McNeil said. He estimated the cost, covered by insurance, "somewhere in the $300,000 to $500,000 range." ...only 25 percent of the building has sprinklers, though work to retrofit the rest has been ongoing." Dayton Daily News, Oct. 27, 2006
Students, faculty show interest in possible water contamination story "The Student Environmental Health Association, Student Society of Professional Journalists and the Student American Industrial Hygiene Association brought Matt Hanley, a reporter with the Aurora Beacon News, to campus last night to discuss his investigation on illnesses which occurred at the Nicor gas company. "This is something that deals with toxicology and how it affects everyday people. This is something that hit more to home I think because some people are from Aurora and we got the reporter to come in," Elayne Storc, a senior environmental health major and president of the Student Environmental Health Association, said. ...Nicor is being accused of having contaminated a water supply in which over 20 workers have come forward saying they suffered illnesses. "A number of Nicor workers got really sick and it has been speculated that the drinking water has been contaminated with some boiler feed chemicals," Jin said. There have been no charges for the company yet and evidence is still being collected to determine if Nicor knew about the contamination or if a Nicor pipe contaminated the water. "In this case, they are talking about potential backflow contamination, so at the point of service from the public water supply the contaminate may backflow into the distribution system and cause contamination of the drinking water supply," Jin said. ..."They think one of the methylene chloride pipes crossed with their drinking water so they have been exposed to this for years," Storc said." Daily Vidette Online, Oct. 26, 2006
(The Safe Drinking Water Trust) "Just For Fun...  Here are some interesting and fun water towers from around the country. To view the towers, select the tower from the dropdown below.  If you have a photo of an interesting or fun water tower, please send us a photo via email with details on the city and state where its located."
CROSS-CONNECTION CONTROL MANUAL (Florida Rural Water Association) "...Backflow protection assemblies are installed on the basis of an existing or a potential introduction of contaminants or pollutants into the water supply system. The specific requirement for a backflow assembly is made on the basis of the existing or potential health hazard. The best means of preventing backflow is an air gap, which either eliminates a crossconnection or provides a barrier to backflow. However, air gaps are many time not feasible and mechanical backflow prevention assemblies are used. The basic mechanism for preventing backflow and backsiponage is the reduced-pressure principle assembly. Other assemblies and devices such as a pressure vacuum breaker or an atmospheric breaker may be appropriate when no backpressure condition exists and only backsiphonage is a concern. Where only backpressure and low hazard is a concern a double check valve assembly is appropriate. A secondary type of mechanical backflow preventer is the residential dual check valve that is approved for very limited applications..." FRWA, June 26, 2006
CROSS-CONNECTIONS AND BACKFLOW PREVENTION MANUAL (West Virginia) "The goal of a good public water supply system is to provide clean and safe drinking water to its customers. However, it is not enough to merely treat the water and meet regulatory standards. The water must also be protected in the distribution system so that it remains free of contamination. Cross-connections and backflow pose dangers to drinking water and public health once the water enters the distribution system. In order to address this problem, West Virginias Cross-Connections and Backflow Prevention Regulations were adopted in April 1976. The Regulations require each public water supplier to develop and maintain a cross-connection control program in order to provide some control over water in the distribution system. This manual is provided by the Bureau for Public Health to be used as a reference document and training manual for public water supply personnel, health officials, plumbers and others involved in water supply distribution systems. As a supplement to the Regulations, this manual presents the basics of backflow theory, as well as, practical applications for cross-connection control." West Virginia Bureau for Public Health  Office of Environmental Health Services  Environmental Engineering Division, March 2002
Firm hoping sewage mix dilutes radioactive water "A company in Eastern Ontario is hoping to find that the solution to pollution is dilution. The company, SRB Technologies Canada Inc. of Pembroke, Ont., has contaminated the groundwater around its factory with radioactive tritium, raising the ire of nuclear regulators. So it is proposing to clean up the problem by dumping some of the pollutant into the city's sewers. From there, the radioactivity would be mixed with sewage flushed by the city's 13,000 residents and ultimately poured into the nearby Ottawa River. In the plan, filed with regulators at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the company says its proposal is safe for people and the environment because the radioactivity would be diluted with all the city's sewage and then have a further "immediate and substantial dilution upon discharge to the environment [the Ottawa River]." ...Some residents object to the proposal, saying it doesn't make sense to take contaminants from the factory site and place them in the river, which is a drinking water source for downstream communities, including Ottawa.", Oct. 20, 2006
Backflow Prevention & Cross-Connection Control Manual For the Education of Backflow Prevention Certified Testers (101 page MS .doc file)"This backflow prevention course is intended to prepare you to test the various backflow prevention devices that are used to protect the public water supply. ...This manual will be used as an instructional aid for the classroom portion of the course. ...Backflow can be defined as the unintentional reversal of the normal direction of flow within a piping system. When there are cross-connections in the consumers water distribution system, either actual or potential cross-connections, a substance can be introduced into the piping. Substances that may backflow into a potable water distribution system can be prevented from entering the system through the proper application of an approved air-gap separation or any number of other approved backflow prevention devices that are commercially available. This manual is intended to make you aware of the hazard associated with a backflow condition and the available methods and/or devices that may be used to properly protect the water distribution system." The Ohio Department of Commerce, Construction Compliance, 2001
Tips For Winterizing Your Sprinkler System "The grass is always greener when it gets plenty of water. And to make sure your lawn is ready to go-and grow-in the spring, it's essential to make sure that your sprinkler system survives the winter. Homeowners may not realize that in-ground irrigation systems are susceptible to harsh winter weather. Fortunately, there are just a few simple steps to get your sprinklers ready to weather Jack Frost's deep freeze. First and foremost, does your sprinkler system run on an automatic timer? If so, be sure to shut down the controller before the cold winds blow through. ... Next, shut off the water supply. And while you're at it, be sure to protect the main shutoff valve by wrapping it with insulation (foam insulation tape and a plastic bag). ... If the cold weather is on its way, it's crucial to remove water from the pipes and sprinklers so that the water doesn't freeze and cause pipes to burst. Manual drain valves, automatic drain valve and the compressed-air blowout method are the three most common ways to drain pipes. An irrigation specialist can help you get the job done while protecting your lawn and your property against the potential hazards. Backflow preventers and valves also need insulation if they are aboveground. The insulation tape used for the main shutoff valve can be used on this equipment as well, but be sure not to block air vents or drain outlets.", Oct. 16, 2006
Guidelines for Designing Backflow Prevention Assembly Installations "The purpose of these guidelines is to augment and/or clarify those guidelines outlined in the January 1981 Cross Connection Control manual. These guidelines reflect accepted design considerations based on experience in implementing cross connection control programs and policies set forth by the American Water Works Association, Environmental Protection Agency, USC Foundation for Cross Connection Control and Hydraulic Research and state and local health departments. Pending revisions to the manual, these guidelines should clearly outline what an acceptable design and installation constitutes. They are to be reasonably interpreted and will be updated as new design solutions and technologies are offered." Also see... New York State Department of Health - Bureau of Public Water Supply Protection, 2001
IAPMO, PHCC Release Backflow Prevention Reference Manual  "The International Assn. of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) released its Backflow Prevention Reference Manual at last months ISH North America tradeshow in Chicago. IAPMO, in conjunction with its Drinking Water and Backflow Prevention (DW&BP) division, developed the publication jointly with the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors-National Assn. (PHCC). This collaborative effort resulted in the first-of-its-kind manual for the industry, which contains concepts and lessons that boast international relevance. The 300-page publication contains full-color illustrations in real-world field settings and is said to be a truly comprehensive book on the subject of backflow prevention. The manual contains sections relating to installation, testing, cross-connection control, repair and inspections, and can also be used as a textbook for these areas. Additionally, it can be used by regulatory agencies as a guide to determine what type of valve can be used in a particular case. With information on the history of backflow prevention, as well as chapters written from the regulatory perspective, Backflow Prevention Reference Manual is a resource for system designers, urban planners and utility companies--professionals on both sides of the water meter. Consulting-Specifying Engineer, Oct. 12, 2006
EPA Review of TCR and Distribution System Issues (MS Power Point file) "M/DBP FACA Agreement Evaluates Available Data and Research on Aspects of Distribution Systems that may Create Risks to Public Health Work with Stakeholders to: Initiate a process for addressing cross connection control and backflow prevention requirements Consider additional distribution system requirements related to significant health risks...Cross Connections Can Lead to Backflow of Chemical or Microbial Contaminants....  Where Uncorrected, Cross Connections Can Result in Long-Term Exposures.  Estimated 90% of backflow events unreported... 26 Cross connection related outbreaks from 1981-1998 reported to CDC ...EPA Draft Cross Connection White Paper (October, 1999) 448 Backflow Events 1970-1999 124 Events Reported Illness - Estimated 11,854 Cases and 13 Deaths Common Contaminants.... Blue/green water - 34 incidents... Ethylene glycol/antifreeze - 18 incidents... Chromium species - 18 incidents... Chlordane - 11incidents... Giardia - 10 incidents" US EPA Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water, ASDWA Annual Conference, October 25, 2001
Water Supply Distribution Systems: Assessing and Reducing Risks -- First Report "The distribution systems of public drinking water supplies include the pipes and other conveyances that connect treatment plants to consumers taps. They span almost 1 billion miles in the United States... ...Distribution systems constitute a significant management challenge from both an operational and public health standpoint.   ...The issues from the nine EPA white papers have been prioritized using categories of highest, medium, and lower priority. Also, several significant issues that were overlooked in previous reports have been identified by the committee and added. The highest priority issues are those that have a recognized health risk based on clear epidemiological and surveillance data.  Cross connections and backflow. Cross connections and backflow events are ranked as the highest priority because of the long history of recognized health risks posed by cross connections, the clear epidemiological and surveillance data implicating these events with outbreaks or sporadic cases of waterborne disease, and the availability of proven technologies to prevent cross connections." The National Academies Press, 2005
A Lawn Care Truck and a Garden Hose (short but timely power point presentation) "Potentially a bad combination... All the elements are in place... *No backflow prevention device on building or on the hose bibb... *At 7:pm Louisville Water Company crew turns water main off for scheduled maintenance work... *Garden hose is submerged in the tank on back of the lawn care truck..." 2002
Chemical contaminates office complex's water "Office workers at 1110 Montlimar Place, one of west Mobile's largest office complexes, were warned Thursday not to drink the water or wash their hands as water officials tried to identify the source of a pink-colored chemical contaminating the building's water supply.  Malcolm Steeves, executive director of the Mobile Area Water and Sewer Service, said the problem appears to be restricted to the plumbing in the 10-story office building, which houses a wide variety of services, including the federal General Services Administration, Coast Guard investigative services, the Internal Revenue Service, and several prominent psychiatric, real estate, banking, insurance, telephone and legal offices. "We sent a crew over to make sure that no other water system customers were affected," Steeves said. "As far as we can tell it never got back through the meter to our system."Steeves said there are indications the contamination was fluid from the air conditioning cooling system. Jason Scott, who works with the building's leasing agent, John Toomey and Company Inc., described the problem as "just a little discoloration in the water" in a brief conversation earlier Thursday afternoon, and said he didn't think it was worthy of the public's attention. ...Steeves said his workers told him that the discoloration was "so pink it was purple." Some office workers apparently noticed the problem when they turned on the taps Thursday morning. ...Steeves said it appears that some type of air conditioning fluid worked its way into the drinking water system. Steeves said his workers discovered problems with the check valve that prevents the water in the cooling system from backing up into the drinking water. Steeves said it's "not unusual" to have backflow problems, "but apparently the degree of this one was unusual." No one contacted Thursday knew what type of chemicals may have been used in the cooling system at Montlimar Place, though there's been increasing attention on the potential pollution and health problems associated with some anti-corrosion chemicals, such as hexavalent chromium, commonly used in such systems." Press-Register, Oct. 8, 2006
Backflow Prevention Process Manual (137 pages, 2.3 mb pdf document) "This Procedural Manual outlines the North Shore City Councils commitment to the protection of the quality of the potable water supply through a comprehensive backflow prevention programme. Backflow is the flow of a liquid or a contaminant back into the potable public water supply. This can happen either by back-siphonage or back-pressure and applies to both hot and cold water systems. Backflow prevention devices or registered air gaps are used to prevent hazardous material from being The enforcement and monitoring of backflow prevention is an essential activity for North Shore City Council for ensuring the protection of public health. ...The overall strategy of North Shore City Council in this Procedural Manual is to: *Identify potential risks  *Ensure potential risks have appropriate backflow protection  *Ensure a register is kept of all backflow prevention devices *Ensure the devices are tested annually  *Educate consumers of the risks associated with backflow"  Dec. 2005
Program works on indoor plumbing problem "Most Americans take flushing toilets and hot showers for granted, but some families in Southside, including Henry County, live without basic plumbing facilities in their homes, officials said. Maxine Coleman, assistant program administrator with Southside Outreach Group in South Boston, is working to change that. Through the Indoor Plumbing Rehabilitation (IPR) program, Coleman is trying to help eligible residents of Henry County either install or repair plumbing in their homes. The IPR program, organized by the state Department of Housing and Community Development, provides zero-interest, forgivable loans for eligible homeowners who do not have functioning plumbing, its Web site states. Although it might be hard to believe, lack of plumbing still is a problem in Virginia... ...To have complete facilities, a home must have hot and cold piped water, a flush toilet and a bathtub or shower, according to the U.S. Census Web site. Homes without one or more of those facilities are categorized as homes without complete plumbing."  Martinsville Bulletin, Oct. 5, 2006   Also see... (Indoor Plumbing Rehabilitation Program).
Legionella surveillance: political and social implications--a little knowledge is a dangerous thing "Fear of adverse publicity and litigation are obstacles to a rational scientific approach to Legionnaires disease prevention. Surveillance should be complemented by education of the public and lay media. The public must be informed that Legionella are common colonizers (as are Pseudomonas species) of man-made water distribution systems that are rarely pathogenic for immunocompetent hosts and that Legionnaires disease is not a contagious disease. Ignorance leads to panic and panic leads to irrational actions. We have observed the implementation of emergency measures that are expensive, logistically tedious, and have little impact on the risk of acquiring Legionnaires disease., March 30, 2006
Managing the Risk of Waterborne Pathogens in Building Water Systems (can be viewed through Internet Explorer only) "Waterborne pathogens are a major source of hospital infections. ...Potential sources of contamination *Plumbing systems * Specific outlets * Cooling towers *Humidifiers * Whirlpool spas and batrhs * Decorative fountains * Misters * Dialysis water * Industrial equipment  ...Recommendations * Identify high risk areas * Educate on control, testing... * Implement preventive measures" American Industrial Hygiene Association, May 23, 2005
Busy Meeting in Rockingham County "...The Rockingham County Board of Supervisor's is looking at adopting an ordinance requiring you to have a device on your outside faucets, preventing back flow contamination in the public water supply. County officials say existing plumbing codes require the devices at new construction sites, but if the board adopts the ordinance, the county would be able to inspect homes as well as industrial and commercial sites to make sure the devices are in place. If you look on your outside spigot, the device is a brass cylinder that actually says it's a vacuum breaker. "You don't want to remove those because they are a safety device that's protecting not only the public water supply, but it's protecting your family as well," says Director or Public Works Warren Heidt. Heidt says if you use a sprayer on your trees, this device would prevent insecticides from back flowing into your water supply. The board will have a public hearing before adopting the ordinance." WHSV-TV/DT, Sept. 28, 2006
When 'mixing it up' is especially dangerous "A recent article published in the monthly magazine of the American Society of Home Inspectors reminded me of one of the most important but least understood aspects of a home plumbing system. This is the issue of cross-connections. What is a cross-connection? Simply stated, a cross-connection occurs when the water in the drain side of the plumbing system finds its way into the drinkable (potable) side of the plumbing system. Due to bacteria or chemicals like paints, pesticides, or antifreeze that may be found in the drain side of the system, a cross-connection can be a serious health concern. ...Where can cross-connections occur? In residential plumbing systems there are several areas where cross-connections are common:  1) Hose faucets or bibs: Perhaps the most obvious and common causes of a residential cross-connection are hose faucets. If a hose connected to a faucet is left lying in a mud puddle and a back-pressure event occurs, the bacteria in the puddle may be drawn into the potable-water system.  2) Laundry tubs/utility sinks: The faucets on many laundry tubs are equipped with a threaded end to allow the attachment of a hose for washing a dog or supplying water to a washing machine. If these hoses are allowed to lie in the bottom of the sink, a cross-connection could occur during a back-pressure event.  3) Shower hand sprayers: If a shower hand sprayer is allowed to lie in the bottom of the shower or bathtub, especially if the tub is still partially or completely full of water, the potential for a cross-connection occurs.  4) Faucets below fixture floor rims: In some older tubs and sinks, the faucet is located below the flood rim of the fixture. When the fixture is filled, this will allow the water to contact the faucet, creating the potential for a cross- connection.  5) Sprinkler systems: Professionally installed sprinkler systems should be protected from cross-connection by a back-flow-prevention device. However, if the system was installed by a homeowner, this important detail may have been left out. It is easy to understand how a back-pressure event could draw bacteria or chemicals into the potable water system from the soil.  6) Other sources of cross-connection: Some older toilet flush valves have their cutoff below the water line. Bidets installed without back-flow preventers can allow cross- connections. Although rare in our region of the country, cross-connections can occur from hot water or steam heat boilers." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Aug. 31, 2006
How Much Is an Environmental Permit Worth? "The Missouri Department of Natural Resources recently set out to determine just exactly how much an environmental permit is worth. While the agency can't answer that question in dollars and cents, it does know its permits are a very small cost in comparison to the economic benefit provided. And, the permits are an absolute bargain compared with the remedial work and health care that might be needed without these pollution prevention tools. "Most Missouri residents have no idea what a permit from the Department of Natural Resources accomplishes," said Department Director Doyle Childers. "Many people think permits are government busy work, fundraising for bureaucrats or just plain harassment of communities or businesses." Actually, permits are a necessary part of the environmental control business because they help assure environmental protection and compliance. In Missouri, a permit is required for most types of activity that can have an impact on the environment or the health of the state's citizens. These permits help ensure that environmental standards are met so Missourians can continue to enjoy healthy air, safe drinking water, clean streams and usable soil. ...In addition to allowing a company to operate safely and legally, a permit can protect a facility from being sued if it is following the conditions in its permit. Each permit issued by the Department of Natural Resources is a legal document. In applying for and accepting a permit, a facility agrees to abide by its terms and conditions. State and federal environmental laws provide severe penalties for violating the requirements of the law or permit conditions, and for failing to obtain a permit when one is required. ...The department also oversees a number of licenses, registrations and certifications, including ...backflow prevention in drinking water." Kansas City infoZine, Sept. 27, 2006
Improvements to water security "A two-year project to improve the security of water supply to Makaraka and McDonald Road industrial area is also aimed at protecting the citys water supply from accidental contamination. Some $70,000 is being spent laying new water pipes at Makaraka at the moment, and early next year another $800,000 dollars will be spent laying a new water main to the western industrial area. Water utilities engineer Leighton Evans says while residents and industry will benefit from having constant pressure all year round, a major benefit will be to prevent backflow contamination of the city water supply. At the moment Makaraka and the western industrial  area are supplied by low pressure pipes which are provided from the water supply line upstream of the Makaraka booster pumps. The current project is replacing the existing pipes with new lines that connect to the main supply below the booster pumps, so that a constant pressure is maintained throughout the whole system. This new rider main has a pressure- reducing valve system which will keep the water flowing in the right direction, despite any variation in pressure caused by high demand. ...The  need to protect the main city water supply from backflow contamination, and the need to give security to the western industrial zone was identified some five years ago, but it is only now that the funding has been made available through the ongoing works programme." The Gibson Herald, Sept. 26, 2006
Gestapo letters (scroll down page for this story) "In another item with no action resulting, council voted to review the wording of a residential sprinkler ordinance requiring city residents to have their backflow preventers checked annually. The devices, when working properly, prevent yard contaminants such as fertilizer from flowing back into the public water supply. Councilman Bob Pees said the ordinance, which results in Gestapo letters from the city threatening $1,000 a day fines if not complied with, is a blanket enforcement of a health regulation designed to target hazardous yards. In my opinion, were being overly aggressive in our interpretation of this regulation, Pees said. Inspections can range from $35 to more than $100, Pees said. City officials proposed wording that would limit backflow checks in nonhazardous yards, as defined by the regulation, to bi-annual inspections. Council will consider the revised ordinance at a future meeting. In the meantime, Mayor Betty Ann Matthies said residents should hold off on inspections." Gazette-Enterprise, Sept. 20, 2006
Hobart amends water code : Move intended to protect city water from contamination "Property owners with wells on their property and access to city water now will have to install backflow prevention devices to ensure the safety of the municipal water supply. "The possibility of contamination of the city's water supply is very present," City Engineer Steve Truchan said. The City Council unanimously approved an amendment to the municipal code Wednesday night requiring the move. Councilman Tom Ehrhardt, R-1st, made the motion for adoption of the ordinance by asking the council to suspend the normal rules requiring two readings of an ordinance before adoption and declaring the situation a state of emergency. ...Initially, the council considered prohibiting property owners from having both a well and city water connection. The ordinance approved Wednesday night allows for both if the property owner acquires a permit and installs a backflow prevention valve on the connection to the city water line. The device prevents potentially contaminated water from being sucked into the public water supply when the water supplier loses pressure. When a water supplier loses water pressure, a vacuum is created when anyone turns on the water. That vacuum sucks water from any source it can find, including water pipes, sprinkler systems, pools, hot tubs and hot water heaters. If the water is less than 140 degrees, bacteria (i.e. Legionella) can be drawn into the drinking water supply, causing a potential public health hazard. Hobart officials know all too well of the fears and headaches that can be created with a loss of water pressure. In the summer of 2005, the town's water supplier, Indiana American Water, lost pressure due to a power failure at its Ogden Dunes plant, causing lengthy boil orders...", Sept. 21, 2006
Valley towns look to root out backflow problems "For the last decade, local towns have worked to protect their water supply, but gaps in regulation and enforcement still leave unprotected holes inside buildings. A system that inspected interior connections could have caught bad plumbing at the Nicor facility in Aurora, where more than a dozen seriously ill current and former employees believe their health was ravaged by cross-connected pipes that city documents and an OSHA report show could allow dangerous chemicals into the water. ...Now, Geneva, Batavia and St. Charles are among the cities looking to put programs in place that will do more extensive searches of all backflow protection devices within a building. Every year, hundreds of other people nationwide face serious and acute illness brought on by drinking water tainted by contaminants sucked back into their pipes, according to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. "To keep a viable program, (inspectors) have to continually monitor and continually solicit information," said Dave McMillan, field operations manager in the division of public water supply for Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. "That water's only as good as the test you make at that time. That's only a snapshot in time." ...For the last 10 years, the Illinois EPA has been pushing cities to adopt ordinances that would require annual inspections of backflow devices. ...Indeed, by 2001, all local cities had backflow ordinances in place that met or exceeded EPA regulations. But within that basic framework there's wide variety in how the rules are enforced. Most towns require all commercial buildings to have a backflow protection device that restricts water from inside the building getting back into the city's pipes, through one-way valves. Commercial buildings have typically been the priority for cities, but with more people putting in underground sprinklers, homes are also on the radar. Submerged sprinkler systems are particularly susceptible. Without backflow protection, any large drop in pressure  children opening a fire hydrant, a break in the water main  creates the potential that anything from fertilizer to animal droppings on the lawn will be sucked back into the water pipes. Local public works directors say it took a while for some homeowners to understand the importance of installing and registering their backflow devices, but companies got the message quickly. "There wasn't an uproar from businesses," said Charlie Foulkes, operator for the village of Elburn, which has had a backflow ordinance for almost 15 years. "Right now, it'd be cheaper to put in a device than to later pay for something that gets into the water." Batavia Sun, Sept. 20, 2006
Brandon voters take up water system repairs "Fire District No. 1 voters will decide today whether to bond for up to $2.3 million to pay for water system repairs and improvements that the district's Prudential Committee has called "items of absolute necessity." A single-family home would pay about $100 a year more by the district's calculations. ...Committee member Thomas Whittaker said Monday, "It certainly is an urgent need. It's a chance to make capital improvements to our infrastructure that are long overdue, in connection with other town projects, and to spread the debt over a long period of time to make it more affordable to the ratepayers." Any registered voter will be able to vote, whether or not they are served by the district's water system... ...The bond would finance several types of needed improvements: Better fire protection. About 20 fire hydrants in the system are either in poor condition or do not work at all. Water pressure needs to increase along North Street (Route 73)...  If fire flow capacity does not increase, the state will order the removal of some hydrants along the line. New water meters that can be checked using radio signals. Not only do the meters in place take weeks to tally, they are so often faulty that the district cannot account for 40 percent of the water that gets pumped into the system. At the same time the new meters are put in place, each line will get a backflow prevention device  required by the state  to protect against contamination getting siphoned into the system, which has caused periodic problems. Youngstrom said West Rutland installed a similar system two years ago..." Rutland Herald, Sept. 19, 2006
Water protection "All area communities require devices to guard against accidental contamination. It's a good bet no more than a handful of Aurora's 168,000 residents can name a single employee from the city's Water Department. Of course, that's just the way they like it. Anonymity is the badge of success for public utility employees. As long as everything's working  the lights turn on, the sewers don't back up  their names don't end up in the newspaper. By and large, when it flows out of the Aurora water treatment plant on Route 25, the city's water is in good shape. But that's only half the battle. In Aurora, there are almost 47,000 businesses and residences that connect to the city water supply. That also means there are nearly 47,000 places where something could potentially contaminate the water with "backflow," a plumbing breakdown that allows chemically treated or tainted water to reverse direction and mix with drinking water. For the last decade, local towns have worked to protect their water supply from such a hazard. And yet, gaps in regulation and enforcement still leave unprotected holes inside buildings. "This issue is overlooked throughout the country," said Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner. "Here in Aurora, we are making it a top priority to bring all businesses into compliance." A system that inspected interior connections could have caught bad plumbing at the Nicor facility in Aurora. More than a dozen seriously ill current and former employees believe their health was ravaged by cross-connected pipes that city documents and an OSHA report show could allow dangerous chemicals into the water. "People underestimate plumbing," said Bruce Brummel, a sick employee who is trying to bring a lawsuit against Nicor. "They think, oh, the butt-crack plumber. But it is the difference between life and death." 2001, all local cities had backflow ordinances in place that met or exceeded EPA regulations. But within that basic framework there's wide variety in how the rules are enforced. Most towns require all residential and commercial buildings to have a backflow protection device that restricts water from inside the building getting back into the city's pipes, through one-way valves. Commercial buildings have typically been the priority for cities, but with more people putting in underground sprinklers, homes are also on the radar. Submerged sprinkler systems are particularly susceptible. Without backflow protection, any large drop in pressure  children opening a fire hydrant, a break in the water main  creates the potential that anything from fertilizer to animal droppings on the lawn will be sucked back into the water pipes. ...Cities have built huge computer databases, which they use to send thousands of annual reminders that a certified plumber must inspect each backflow device. For a majority of local towns, enforcement begins with those reminders. Then, the business or homeowner typically has 30 days to provide a certified plumbing report that verifies the backflow protection device is functional. Typically, if two reminders do not get the user's attention, court action or service disconnection is threatened. No local towns could recall ever taking the last drastic step. ...In Aurora, a new aggressive enforcement plan is one of the few municipal programs that would search out violations like those that allegedly occurred at Nicor. "It's not exactly a pilot, but we're on the leading edge here," said Daryl Devick, the city's interim director of public works. Started in January of 2005, the city first registered all the backflow protection control devices in the city, a step several other local communities have taken. But Aurora climbed the next rung with an initiative to also look inside buildings for possible sources of cross connections. In 19 months, the city has already inspected and certified all the schools, park district and city buildings, built a database of 3,574 backflow systems. With those buildings secure, the city has now checked for missing backflow protection devices in 35 percent of all buildings in Aurora, according to the city's latest report. During those examinations, the city found more than 129 locations where new backflow protection devices needed to be installed. ...However, once inside a building, there (has been) ...little regulation to ensure drinking water and dangerous water stay separated. More than a dozen seriously ill former and current Nicor workers believe improper plumbing connections that circulated bad water inside the Nicor plant at 408 S. River St. led to their health issues. Although the company has issued repeated denials, documents from the city of Aurora and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration show Aurora workers were drinking from pipes that could siphon chemicals out of the building's boiler." The Beacon News, Sept. 18, 2006
Bad water "Sick Nicor workers believe their chronic illnesses were caused by faulty plumbing. Ruben Luna's doctor was stumped. The Aurora resident's teeth were falling out, he had no control over his bowels and the sharp jabs in his gut left him hunched over daily. "You can't be this sick," the doctor told Luna. "You have the body of an 80-year-old and you're 30." ...At the Nicor facility in Aurora where Luna worked for 12 years, plenty of others were in pain. According to a legal document filed in 2004, dozens of people who worked at the Nicor building at 408 S. River St. developed liver failure, suffered persistent diarrhea and threw up every day. ...They all believe their suffering could have been caused by faulty plumbing that city records show could have allowed chemicals to leak into the drinking water. It's a problem health officials believe could be responsible for hundreds of illnesses across the country every year, sickening people who drink from the water fountains in their office or use contaminated water to wash their food. Bruce Brummel, a former Nicor employee, has been working for years to get the company to acknowledge what city of Aurora documents already show: Bad plumbing in the building's break room meant employees could have been sipping water tainted with three times the legal levels of methylene chloride. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, methylene chloride can do damage to the nervous and blood systems during short exposures. Over years, experts believe it causes liver damage, cancer and destroys the digestive system. ...In a typical plumbing system, water comes in from the city's main pipes, then splits into drinking water and non-potable water used for things like fire prevention sprinklers or, in the case of Nicor, to run the boiler. In those non-potable areas, the water mixes with various chemicals. In a safe system, any place chemicals mix with the water, safety devices called "backflow preventers" must be installed to ensure the tainted water can't move back into the drinking supply. Health officials believe every year hundreds of people across the nation are sickened by drinking water contaminated in plumbing that lacks backflow protection. Unlike the Nicor employees, most victims suffer short-term but severe symptoms, which they attribute to the 24-hour flu or "something they ate." Health experts and plumbers contend holes in the state plumbing code or incomplete testing are just as likely culprit. ...According to city documents, pipes at Nicor that were supposed to be one-way could allow water to mix with toxic chemicals from the boiler during low water pressure. Brummel felt he might have discovered an explanation for the bad coffee  and a few other odd occurrences at the office. The most obvious was the daily lines at the men's rooms. Every morning, shortly after drinking coffee, the workers would rush to the bathroom. Men in their 20s and 30s describe lining up three-deep for a stall or running up two floors to make it to an upstairs bathroom before their diarrhea hit. But no one talked about it. ...the company also received a warning letter from the city. The Oct. 21 letter, written by city of Aurora plumbing inspector Robert Thompson to Nicor's building supervisor, said the company was in violation of the Illinois State Plumbing Code. After inspecting the boiler room, Thompson wrote that he found the drinking water was directly connected to a chemically-fed tank. "This type of connection poses a threat to the quality of potable water for both the employees in the building and the city's water main," Thompson's letter said. Thompson advised Nicor to immediately have a licensed plumber install backflow protection to stop the drinkable and dangerous water from mixing, or permanently disconnect the pipe, city records show. ...Yet, for more than three years, even as workers protested outside their headquarters, the company has steadfastly denied any problems with the water. ...Chicago law firm Cascino Vaughan Law Offices Ltd., filed for discovery on behalf of Brummel and 32 other current or former Nicor employees. ..."It's tough when the little guy takes on the big corporation but we're going to do this," Daniels said. "I feel confident with our case. We're full steam ahead. Daniels said he is not intimidated by the cost or complexity of a suit. His only worry was that all of the plaintiffs would see the end of their effort. "It's going to be a huge case, one of the biggest in Illinois history," Daniels predicted. "It's an absolute tragedy what happened."" The Beacon News, Sept. 17, 2006 (Meanwhile, the company continues to deny any problem, see the following)
Nicor denies contamination issue again "In a letter sent Friday morning to The Beacon News, Nicor once again stressed that no employees were put at risk by plumbing within the company's facility at 408 S. River St. here. More than a dozen former and current employees believe they were sickened by drinking water that was contaminated by methylene chloride, which was leaking from a boiler into the drinking water in the building. In two past responses to The Beacon News, on Oct. 21, 2005, and again on March 1, 2006, Nicor asserted there was never a potentially dangerous plumbing system. In Friday's response, Nicor also challenged a letter the city of Aurora sent after a site inspection of the Nicor building in October of 2003. "There is no backflow protection on this potable water feed," the city's letter said. After viewing the pipes around the boiler, the city plumbing inspector wrote he found the drinking water was directly connected to a chemically fed tank and that "this type of connection poses a threat to the quality of potable water for both the employees in the building and the city's water main." Although this letter was quoted in previous Beacon News inquiries to Nicor, on Friday the company asserted for the first time that the inspector's letter was wrong. ...City representatives could not be reached for comment Friday. The company also for the first time asserts that it had "check valves(NOTE: i.e., not an approved & tested RPBP as would be required) on the boiler, which it claims would have protected employees. Check valves are simple, spring-loaded devices that can be used to make pipes flow one way. Nicor points out  and permits verify  that after the letter from the city, the company did install reduced pressure zone "RPZ" valves, which use a double-check system and are usually installed near potentially hazardous chemicals. However, Nicor says this installation was done as a show of good faith, rather than an admission of a problem. ...Nicor also pointed out that the 408 S. River St. facility was built in the 1900s, renovated in the 1960s, and operated within the state plumbing codes of that time." The Beacon News, Sept. 17, 2006
Public Health Fact Sheet: E. coli "Escherichia coli (E. coli) are bacteria that normally live in the intestines of humans and animals. Although most strains are harmless, several are known to produce toxins that can cause diarrhea. One particular E. coli strain called O157:H7 can cause severe diarrhea and kidney damage. ...E. coli O157:H7 can be acquired by eating contaminated food. ...Contaminated drinking water and swimming in contaminated shallow lakes may also cause infection. ...What can I do to prevent infection? Do not eat undercooked hamburger or other ground beef products. Cook roasts to at least 1300 F and other ground beef to 1570 F. Venison should be cooked to 1650...Drink municipal water that has been treated with chlorine or other effective disinfectants. Protect all water sources from contamination and use backflow prevention devices where appropriate.", Sept. 14, 2006
Updating Regulatory Protection of Water Supply Against Contamination by Backflow "It has long been realised that available guidance upon the appropriate backflow protection required for protecting the water supply from a downstream risk covers only a fraction of the installations and processes in use within the UK. DEFRA have commissioned this report to expand the available guidance to include installations specified in America, Australia, Europe and the Water Industry agreed fluid risks for installations since the introduction of the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999. The main source of information being from the Water Industry Committees... ... The method of categorising the contamination risk in Australia and America is different than that in the UK as they categorise the contaminant risk as High, Medium and Low and specify the exact type of backflow preventer that is to be used to protect the water supply from that specific risk." Nov. 2005, Foundation for Water Research
U.S. Water Pipes Need Repair "Much of the nation's water distribution system will need to be replaced in the next three decades, according to a report by the National Research Council. Many of the 1 million miles of pipes that carry drinking water to Americans throughout the nation are nearing the end of their expected life span, the report said, and an increasing proportion of waterborne disease outbreaks are linked to contamination of distribution systems. "The water industry is entering an era where it will have to make substantial investments in pipe assessment, repair and replacement," the report said. The type and age of the pipes that make up the nation's water distribution system range from cast iron pipes installed during the late 19th century to ductile iron pipe and to plastic pipes installed in the 1970s and beyond. The report finds that most water systems and distribution pipes will be reaching the end of their expected lives within the next 30 years. The study calls on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to work with states to establish consistent "cross-connection" control programs and to improve and unify plumbing codes. It also calls on the federal agency to conduct or fund epidemiology studies that specifically target the distribution system component of waterborne disease. "Current regulatory programs have not removed the potential for outbreaks attributable to distribution system-related factors," the report said..." Environment News Service, Sept. 11, 2006
Health regulations close popular watering hole "For years the fountain on Mount Woodside has been offering spring water to residents throughout Agassiz and Harrison. But, this source that has become a favoured local landmark and object of pride for residents will soon dry up. A small metal sign declares the site can no longer offer spring water due to new Health Canada regulations. The Drinking Water Protection Act in B.C. stipulates that any surface water needs to be treated in order to be considered safe to drink. The water that comes from the fountain is actually a surface water supply as it is a spring that comes up through the ground and therefore subject to above ground contamination, says Lisa Thibault, the spokesperson for Fraser Health. ...Leading Brands has owned the Mt. Woodside Spring Site since the early 1990s. They constructed the current fountain. Prior to this fountain there was a pipe coming from the side of the mountain and a trough where people could gather their water. The fountain that Joe Dec had constructed in the 1950s has long since fallen - perhaps from vandalism or with time, no one recalls for certain. Joe Dec was a long time resident who owned the property with the spring. Joe built the fountain in the 1950s so that his neighbours could enjoy access to pure spring water. ...The Drinking Water Protection Act in B.C. was first presented in 2001. The regulations to enforce the act came in place in 2003 and were amended in 2005. The act was to ensure that any surface water needs to be treated before it can be considered safe to drink. The site was not closed because ..anything (was) found wrong with the water." Hope Standard, Sept. 7, 2006
Water customers may lose service "Some residents might have their city water service shut off after avoiding a mandatory inspection of a valve in their lawn sprinkling systems. The reduced pressure zone valve prevents backflow into the city's water system. When a resident shuts off a sprinkler, some water is trapped in the hose. The water could grow stagnant after a while. The valve prevents stagnant water from re-entering and contaminating the water system. Valves must be inspected each year. It is usually located where the sprinkling system exits the residence, said James Antole, interim city administrator. The city on Tuesday sent out shutoff warnings for eight customers who have avoided the inspection after three notices this summer. Those customers will lose water service if they don't have the inspection done within 45 days. ...The inspection is required for more than 400 customers  mostly residential and some commercial  who have sprinkler systems registered with the city. Initial notices were sent out in June. Second notices were sent out to customers who didn't respond. Out of that group, 45 customers received a third notice within the last four weeks for failure to obtain an inspection. The eight residents are the remaining stragglers who didn't respond after the third notice." The Herald News, Sept. 8, 2006
Franklin may spend thousands to upgrade housing projects marked for demolition "Stricter city water regulations are forcing Franklin public housing officials to spend almost half their $478,710 capital budget to add water backflow prevention devices to the citys public-assisted housing facilities. That equipment, which prevents water from flowing back into public water lines, could cost between $220,000 and $250,000 to install, according to Larry Fratesi, a Franklin Housing Authority consultant. ...Were just going to have to do it, said Fratesi about the backflow expenses. How much work we get done in 2007 (on Reddick) could be affected by that item.", Sept. 5, 2006
Grey Water Revisited "At the time of the pioneering work on grey water systems in the mid 1980s, grey water was considered an innovation reserved for ecologists with special environmental concerns, and for those rare instances where it could be economically justified in truly water short areas....Today, the ecological movement has become the mainstream of design, and "green" architecture and engineering is all the vogue. Water has become a scarce and costly commodity everywhere, with water costs often exceeding electricity charges in major cities worldwide."
Re-used water meeting all wet "Last Thursday evening, a meeting was held at the Civic Center on Sixth Street in Pompano. This was to be an "informational meeting" to explain the OASIS project to residents of Harbor Village. Re-used water is to be provided at a reduced cost to the residents who wish to hook up to it. There are several advantages to the system, according to the city water people: Saving natural resources, a cost per thousand gallons less than half of drinking water, treatment to be safe for watering lawns, even during drought periods, use of less fertilizer needed on the lawns, and of course, the pride in the fact that Harbor Village is first in South Florida. However, some of the serious negatives were: Cannot get on pets or people, or allowed to get on automobiles, cost of the meter and the check valve, cost of the plumber to install piping from the meter to the sprinkler system, cost of a yearly inspection and permit for the backflow device, total cost to the resident between $1,000 and $2,000 to hook up to the system depending on plumbing costs.The 100 or so residents who went to this meeting were asking many questions that went unanswered by the city, and to say the crowd was hostile is an understatement. ...I doubt that anyone who heard the speakers at this meeting will hook up to the re-use system. It is a shame that the people who held this meeting were so unprepared to answer questions or make any suggestions on how to rectify the cost of hooking up. I estimate that it would take many years to recoup the cost of allowing this system, not to mention the possible dangers in using this water near pets or children." Sun-Sentinel, Aug. 31, 2006 
Councils 'not testing water contamination' "The Master Plumbers Association says councils across Queensland are risking the contamination of local water supplies. It says councils are legally required to maintain a register of backflow prevention devices, which prevent hazardous pollutants from entering the main water supply. Spokesman Adrian Hart says the devices require annual testing and councils from Cairns to Toowoomba are not complying with the legislation. "If that's not maintained on a regular basis, you have a situation where potentially, you're allowing poisons and fertilisers and other impure water to come back into our drinking supply," he said. "Say, for instance, a funeral director - they may be aspirating a body, so you have potential for bodily fluids to be drawn back into the drinking supply and we certainly don't want to be drinking that."" ABC News Online, Aug. 28, 2006
China's inventors need investment and IPR protection "With China suffering its worst drought in 50 years, a Chinese inventor who created a device to cut toilet water usage by 83 percent has found it impossible to sell -- despite winning a government award for his work. Jia Tiexan, 52, sold his home to attract investment and set up a company to put the device into production, only to see his money trickle down the drain. However, a patent on his device to cut the amount of water used in each flush from the standard six liters to just one earned him a 3,000-yuan prize in the first individual invention competition... With a magnetic valve to prevent a backflow of dirty water and a pressure converter to increase the force of the flush, the invention also prevents bacteria spreading. ...Jia's invention has proved successful after more than two years of practical use, but he still has no investment support despite the fact that China is in the grip of the worst drought in half a century, which has left millions of people without sufficient water. ...Liu Shikuan, director of the Intellectual Property Office of northwestern China's Gansu Province, said the main reason for the lack of investment was that many individual inventions failed to meet market demand. The government has made innovation a national strategy, and created an incentive system to encourage innovation and facilitate the industrialization of patents." People's Daily Online, Aug. 25, 2006
Responding to Pressure-Loss Events "What is a pressure-loss event and what causes it? A pressure-loss event occurs when pressure in the water distribution system drops significantly below normal. These events may be planned or unplanned. For example, system operators may plan to reduce pressure when they install, replace or repair water lines. Unplanned pressure loss can be caused by broken water mains, a failed pumping system, power outages, leaking storage reservoirs and excessive demand.   Should I be concerned about pressure loss events in my water system? Yes. Pressure loss can be a serious threat to public health. A reduction or loss of pressure in the distribution system can result in backflow, allowing contaminants to enter drinking water through unprotected cross-connections. Backflow is a reverse of normal water flow due to back pressure or back siphonage that occurs when the pressure of a polluted source exceeds the pressure in the distribution system. Backflow incidents have caused illness, injury and, in some cases, death." Washington DOH, April 2006
E. coli found in Cary water supply "Officials told the approximately 100,000 residents of the Wake County town of Cary to boil their water and they closed restaurants because fecal coliform was found Friday in a sample from one home. ...Restaurants, food stands, school kitchens and lunchrooms, nursing home kitchens, meat markets and the food service area of hotels, motels and other lodging facilities were told to close Friday. "The E. coli was just in one area, but you have to suppose it's in the entire system," said Andre Pierce, environmental health and safety director for Wake County, who was calling the establishments Friday night to deliver the bad news. "We have to err on the side of caution," he said. ...Officials know of no health problems linked to the bacteria. Bajorek believes that sewage pipes could have inadvertently been hooked up to the water supply. Public works officials look at permits Friday issued by the town to find out who was doing plumbing or other work in the area." News14Carolina, Aug. 19, 2006
Town Of Cary: Don't Drink The Water Due To Dangerous Bacteria "Only a few weeks after a giant sewage spill in the Town of Cary that resulted in millions of gallons of raw sewage spilling into creeks and lakes, the town today announced yet another water quality concern. According to the Town of Cary, on Friday afternoon, results of a routine sampling and testing of its water supply revealed the presence of the E.Coli bacteria on Coronado Way in the Coronado Village subdivision in central Cary. As a result, all Cary citizens are being asked not to drink their water or take any water internally.  In addition, all restaurants are closed within the Cary town limits. ...Officials say they believe that this isolated finding is likely the result of an "as yet undetected illegal cross connection or recent system work", which they say could have introduced bacterial contamination into the water system." Raleigh Chronicle, Aug. 18, 2006
The Sweet Smell (and Taste) of Success "From its perch high in the clouds all the way down to our faucets, as water makes its journey down to earth it is sure to come into contact with a variety of substances including gases, minerals, and a whole host of organic materials. With this in mind, you can pretty well bet that it will pick up at least a few impurities along the way. While some of these impurities are completely dissolved, others are not and can often cause objectionable color, taste, and yes, even odor. Since taste and odors can serve as a warning sign that a harmful substance (herbicides, pesticides, sewage, etc.) has made its way into your water supply, system operators and decision makers need to be familiar with how to detect, identify, and control taste and odor problems that effect their final product. Plus, as any water operator who isn't still "wet-behind-the-ears" knows all too well, taste and odor problems are most often the customer's number one complaint. While there are any number of ways to deal with less-than-tasty and odorous contaminants, such as, keeping them out of the water, removing them from the water, or simply destroying them in the water, it's important that systems take every possible step to quickly address odor and taste issues as they arise. Remember: If it looks like tea...smells like corn...and tastes like cucumbers...then the chances are that it shouldn't be coming out of your faucet." The Safe Drinking Water Trust, Aug. 16, 2006
E. coli found in Utica's water "Helen Cook got halfway through her ritual of putting on coffee Monday morning before remembering Utica was under another boil-water notice. "It's little things like that ... like brushing your teeth," Cook said. "You forget you can't use the water." But this notice is more urgent. Police officers went to the trouble of dropping off a warning at Cook's doorstep, and she got a call from one of the town's aldermen, who lives nearby. E. coli bacteria, which can cause diarrhea, nausea and cramps, was found in Utica's water supply on Saturday. It's unclear when the water will be safe to drink, but state Department of Health officials on Monday collected more samples to test, and the cause of the contamination is under investigation. ...What caused the contamination is unknown, but "it could have been any number of things," Allen said, "backflow, leaks, loss of disinfection." Once the cause of the contamination is identified and corrected, two consecutive days of clean samples are required before the boil-water notice can be lifted. ..."There may have been a break in the main, but we're not really sure what to tell people right now," Keith said." The Clarion-Ledger, Aug. 15, 2006
Golf's other water trap "North Jersey golfers may face more than one kind of water hazard when they hit the links. Drinking water, typically provided in plastic coolers at regular intervals near tees, can contain potentially dangerous bacteria, according to an investigation by The Record. Of a dozen water samples drawn this month from coolers at five public courses in Bergen and Passaic counties, five tested positive for coliform bacteria. Though coliform generally is not harmful, its presence in drinking water indicates other disease-causing contaminants may be present. ...Health and water-safety experts said the presence of bacteria in some of the samples almost certainly can be traced to the way the coolers are handled rather than the water itself. The coolers usually are filled with tap water from a public utility or municipal water company, which are required by state law to test for bacteria daily. But bacteria and other contaminants easily attach themselves to the coolers when they are handled, either by thirsty golfers or by golf course employees who keep them filled, according to health experts, who said the coolers should be washed and disinfected daily. "When you take a water cooler out, you're exposing it to a lot of elements to refill it," said Frank Moritz, the director of water supply for the Ridgewood Water Department. "I think most of the time you're going to find a coliform problem. It's not the quality of the water going in, usually." ...Rangers at the course wash the coolers with a steam cleaner every few days, Roca said, and regularly clean and replace the coolers' push-button spigots. "I will make sure that, maybe on a daily basis, we take the containers up and steam clean them," Roca said. "We're doing it twice a week now, but maybe that's what we need to do, especially when the weather's really hot." Passaic County Health Officer Rucki Drakesaid she would consider offering the golf course rangers "a basic course on hand hygiene" that could help keep the water coolers bacteria-free. Several of the public courses administered by the Bergen County Parks Department, including Darlington and Overpeck, are getting new drinking fountains as part of a $15 million overhaul of the county's golf courses, said Brian Hague, the Bergen County spokesman. Once they're installed, the fountains will replace the water coolers, Hague said.", Aug. 13, 2006
Water line causing confusion "A routine set of repairs along 20 blocks of the citys water lines have caused some commotion among Logan residents. Since 1991, crews have gradually been replacing outdated pipes tied into Logans water main with newer ones equipped with a backflow prevention valve that keeps them from sending wastewater and chemicals back into the municipal water supply. But this year, said Logan water and wastewater division manager Lance Houser, several property owners have called his office, questioning an advertisement that began running in The Herald Journal advising people to install pressure regulators on their main water lines and an expansion tank on home hot water heaters. Houser said language in the ad has some confused that the fixes are happening citywide. ...In fact, work is only being done to 378 connections along an estimated 2 miles of piping. Since workers began installing the new pipes, meter readers and others have been stopped by property owners upset that changes were being made without notice, Houser said. Mike Bachman, the plumber who purchased the ad, said he didnt intend to mislead anybody. I dont want to cause any confusion, he said. We stand by the city 100 percent. Bachman said those who do fall within the grid on which crews are working need to install an expansion tank and pressure regulator prior to or immediately after the new pipes are laid down. ...The upgrades being performed by city officials are required under the National Plumbing Code Standards, and mailers are sent out to impacted property owners before work on the pipes gets underway. The letters go out before we make the changes so they are given enough notice, said Public Works Director Mark Nielsen. Those letters ask homeowners to purchase a thermal expansion device to prevent ruptured water heaters and other damages that could occur from water expanding within the new hookups and escaping back into homes. Some of the citys pipes were installed as early as 1873, and getting them all up to code is a tedious process. In the 15 years since work began, less than half of the roughly 10,000 hookups have been replaced. Houser said crews upgrade about 400 a year." The Herald Journal, Aug. 3, 2006
Judge sides with Foster Farms.. Ruling says the city of Livingston can't cut off company's water "A Merced County judge said Tuesday that Livingston city officials cannot cut off Foster Farms' water supply. The ruling stems from a lawsuit Foster Farms filed against Livingston about what type of protection is needed for pipes that connect the plant to the city water supply. Mark Mulkerin, an attorney hired by the city, was disappointed with Tuesday's ruling. "We can't wait for a backflow incident," Mulkerin told Judge Frank Dougherty. "We have to act now." City officials threatened to turn off the company's water July 31 unless it agreed to a certain type of water protection device. Dougherty said cutting off the supply would cause irreparable harm to the company and prevented the city from turning off its supply. ...The city and company agree protection is needed but disagree on what type. Livingston officials are requesting air-gap protection, which is a space between the pipes and prevents water from flowing backward. Mulkerin said the assembly is fool-proof. Carmine Zarlenga, an attorney representing Foster Farms, said the company wants to install reduced pressure devices, which have flappers that prevent water from going backward. They are also industry standard, he said. Foster Farms spokesman Tim Walsh said in June that the city's plan would cost $3 million to install and Foster Farms' plan would cost $200,000. Zarlenga said he was pleased with the decision and felt the weight of Foster Farms' 3,300 employees on his shoulders. The ruling should be a wake-up call to the city, he said. "The court has concluded that we're likely to win," he said. "[The city] should reconsider, in my humble opinion."" Fresno Bee, Aug. 9, 2006
Killing the killer bees at Page Field "Following is a first hand account of the removal of a colony of Africanized bees that attacked a man at Page Field. The narrative was written by entomologist Jim Irvin for NBC2. At the end of the article is a slideshow featuring pictures Irvin took of the massive hive. It was nearly 2 Oclock on a Friday afternoon when my dispatchers voice came in over the radio to inform me that another bee call had just come in. There was nothing unusual about that except that it was rather late in the day for such a call. ...Then, I heard the words "someone was attacked by bees and was rushed to the hospital." Hearing that quickly changed my focus. The job I was in the middle of could wait, because the bees there were not especially aggressive and would not present an immediate hazard to any innocent passersby. However, the call that originated from Scott Sheets, the manager of aviation at Page Field, was decidedly of a different nature. ...The report was that he had been attacked by a colony of bees that boiled out of the ground. It is very uncommon for honeybees to nest in the ground, unless inside a meter box, but it is not uncommon for yellow jackets to do that. To the best of my knowledge, a true Africanized honeybee attack incident had not yet occurred in Ft. Myers, so I was not really expecting to find them here on this day. After surveying the grounds, no culprits of any kind were apparent. However, as I leveled my field of view to a larger area, I picked up some movement at the back of the building right at ground level. This is where plumbing elements exited the structure. ...Experience dictated that the number of bees coming and going from the base of that back wall indicated that there was a very large internal colony somewhere inside the construction elements of that building, probably in a wall. ...With the aide of a good stethoscope, I was able to pinpoint a focal buzzing in the wall. It happened to be directly behind the toilet of the cramped bathroom of that building. ...Although I regretted having to destroy all their work, I knew it was necessary for the well being of my fellow man. I ended up cutting out approximately 15 square feet of wall away. Inside that area, I extracted some 150 pounds of hive material. However, the job was not quite finished. If a good insecticidal dust is not applied to the surfaces that were infested there is a very good chance that a new swarm of bees will detect the odor of the previous infestation and re-colonize the same spot. ...Although this dangerous colony is now only a slide show memory, it is unfortunately predictable to say that the dam appears to have cracked, and I expect there will be similar situations to follow in the near future. My advice as an entomologist would be to regard any wild bee colonies from this point forward as potentially Africanized. If you should happen to come upon a situation like that, exit the area carefully and very rapidly!" NBC2News, Aug. 8, 2006
Backflow and Cross-Connection Issues Update "Over the past few years, there have been quite a few issues related to backflow prevention and the effect it has on todays plumbing contractor. Because many contractors are also licensed to do fire sprinkler work, they have rolled that ability over to include installation of backflow devices at the fire system connection to a property. The inclusion of backflow devices at the fire service connection was strongly opposed by the fire industry as well by many state fire marshals. This battle went on for many years and was usually settled in state capitol hearing rooms. The water purveyors who were responsible for providing safe and clean water won that battle when they informed the property owner that there would be a properly installed and tested backflow device on the fire service to the property. The result of noncompliance was having the water supply to the property turned off and locked shut. This action overruled any fire marshal demands or injunctions due to the fact that the property owner could not operate his or her business or factory without fire sprinkler water. It seems that because the water purveyors have taken this position, the plumbing contractor can now proceed with this type of job without a fire marshal issuing a stop notice at a job site. The issue of testable backflow devices on the potable water supply to beverage carbonators is still up in the air in many states. Even though there are documented cases of people who have been hospitalized due to copper sulfate poisoning, and the majority viewpoint of plumbing contractors is to have these backflow assemblies properly installed and tested, the issue has been put on the back burner. There are a few so-called industry experts who have lobbied long and loudly to prevent this needed measure of protection to be included in todays plumbing codebooks. It seems that a gratuity or gift of some kind from a major corporation or association is enough to sway the years of knowledge and respect one has gained to that of just another snake oil salesman. This serious issue needs to be addressed by the current code-writing associations as a priority issue. There are too many occurrences of sickness in both adults and children when food is blamed for the problem. The true culprit, however, was the contaminated soda that was ingested. It seems silly to expect a nontestable backflow device (installed on a potable water supply for a soda machine carbonator and then forgotten) to protect the public safety. It seems almost criminal to allow this potential health hazard to endanger children. Those who know of the potential problem and do nothing due to political issues should be ashamed. They tarnish the motto of the plumbing industry: The plumber protects the health of the nation." Reeves Journal, Aug. 6, 2003
Tanks for nothing on water savings red tape "A MANS dream to build a water-saving home in Maleny has been stymied by red tape. Gary Stipanov and his wife Lesley have spent the past two years hiring local builders and designers to build their home in Malenys Rangeview Estate. The couple wanted to use energy-efficient products to save electricity and when they learnt the council required them to have a 20,000-litre rainwater tank they decided to go a step further and buy a second tank that would allow them to live off the rainwater alone without using the town supply. They wanted the town supply connected too, but only planned to use the town water if a blackout caused their homes water pump to stop. It was at that point the Stipanovs uncovered what at first appeared to be a legislative can of worms. A plumber told Mr Stipanov that he would not be able to use the rainwater for drinking as long as town water was connected to the property. ...But during a debate at council last week, councillors were happy for Mr Stipanov to drink rain water from his tanks but the council was worried that connecting the town supply may pose a contamination threat if his homes rain water plumbing crossed the town waters plumbing. With the State Government being accused of dragging its feet on the legislative grey area, councillors were told they needed to decide councils policy position. In the end the matter was deferred for a decision to be made at future meeting but Mr Stipanov said he received verbal instructions from council staff later that afternoon. Spending around $10,000 to comply with the instructions, Mr Stipanov must install the necessary backflow devices as well as labelling his rain water plumbing so unsuspecting plumbers will know exactly what the pipes are carrying should they work on the home in the future."Sunshine Coast Daily, Aug. 7, 2006
4 St. Louis inspectors arrested for mail fraud, bribery "Three St. Louis street inspectors and one plumbing inspector were arrested this morning and now face federal mail fraud or bribery charges for allegedly taking payoffs for pulling permits, signing off on jobs and referring work to contractors for more than four years, federal prosecutors said. A grand jury indictment handed down Thursday and unsealed today charges street and traffic inspectors Lester Webster, 50, John Denorvan Stewart, 52, and Leland T. Washington, 54, with mail fraud and plumbing inspector August "Bill" Beckemeyer, 33, with bribery involving federal programs. A mail fraud charge is punishable by up to a year in federal prison or a fine of $250,000, or both. The bribery charge carries up to 10 years in prison or a fine of $250,000, or both. ...Beckemeyer took more than $5,000 from plumbing contractors and drain layers to favorably approve their projects, Hanaway said. ...St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said that city workers will be reviewing the work that the men were involved in to ensure that public safety wont be compromised. The FBI investigated the case along with St. Louis police and the Department of Labor office of inspector general. Roland Corvington, special agent in charge of the FBIs St. Louis office, vowed that public corruption would be investigated, no matter how small the amount involved. Public corruption poses the "greatest single threat to the credibility of government institutions at all levels," he said. "Corruption is a betrayal of the publics trust," he said. Corvington said suspected corruption can be reported at or by calling 314-231-4324. ..."Public corruption will not be tolerated in the city of St. Louis," Slay said." St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Aug. 4, 2006
16 visitors to South Bass Island sickened "The Ottawa County Health Department said yesterday it investigated reports of gastrointestinal illnesses from 16 people who visited South Bass Island and the mainland last month, but failed to turn up a cause. Director Nancy Osborn said the 16 were among three groups that "were in no way connected to each other." Group members called the health department on July 24 and 25, reporting they were suffering nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and chills. None reported drinking from establishments with well water, which was cited as a source of contamination that sickened 1,400 people two summers ago. ...The health department sent a disease investigator and a sanitarian to the island to look for a common link. "We did not find anything that was suspicious in any way," she said. ...The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, which was on the island to inspect progress on the village's efforts to update its water system, checked the water connections at three restaurants to ensure that valves designed to prevent backflow into the fresh water pipes were connected. Spokesman Dina Pierce said the Ottawa County Health Department asked for the agency's assistance. "We didn't find anything, but that doesn't mean it's not the water," she said. In response to the 2004 outbreak, South Bass Island and Ottawa County have expanded Put-in-Bay's water treatment plant as part of a $5.2 million plan to replace well service for businesses and other public facilities outside the village." Toledo Blade, Aug. 2, 2006
Ignore drain traps at your peril "While the recent Quincy house blast proved newsworthy by its rarity and triggered investigative activity by sanitation experts, police, and FBI agents, it was also a startling reminder to many that potential danger lurks along any sewer or septic tank drain. Almost no one likes to think about sewerage and drain traps, but everyone should, especially families with young children. And more people should know that only water-filled traps keep volatile and pathogenic gas away from living and working spaces. ...No one expects sewerage to be clean. Contamination from cesspools, septic tanks, and sewers may come from water contact, especially backflow that fills basements with raw sewage and germs, and from infiltration of noxious, dangerous gases. In 1775, Englishman Alexander Cummings patented the first so-called S trap that used two sliding valves to stop both water and gas from rising through a toilet bowl. Americans patented valve-free but more effective S traps only seven years later. While the traps have vague S shapes, often with the S almost horizontal, the initial indicates their early name, ``stink" traps. In the years before anyone understood the germ theory of disease, most inventors hoped to stop foul-smelling miasmas from making entire buildings almost uninhabitable. Since most toilets emptied straight down to cesspools, few inventors worried about fluid backflow. ...In 1921, only 1 percent of US houses had both electricity and indoor plumbing. The first national plumbing code originated in 1928, after Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover insisted that industry experts do something to avoid an incipient public health disaster. ...In 1874 a handful of smart plumbers gathered together to solve one plumbing problem involving a retrofitted toilet that produced horrible odors. Bit by bit they figured out that the air pressure had to be the same on each side of the water-filled S trap, lest suction now and then empty the trap and allow gas to rise from the drain. They connected vent pipes to drains, and ran the pipes upward through roofs so foul-smelling gases would dissipate. They promulgated their idea in trade journals, and then through the early versions of the organization now known as the Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling Contractors National Association. By 1930 plumbers installed odor-free, backflow-free home drainage systems according to codes rigorously enforced not only by licensed experts but also by plumbing inspectors. Sewer gas can be many separate gases. Hydrogen sulfide smells like rotten eggs and can injure eyes and lungs. Above 300 parts per million, it can kill. While it and ammonia, which harms the eyes and respiratory tract, warn people away through severe, distinctive smell, methane and carbon monoxide are odorless. Both produce flu-like symptoms if breathed for long in any amount, but methane kills instantly, too. It explodes. ...In the Quincy blast, officials suspect that the water in the S trap of a long-disused basement toilet dried out, opening the path for some explosive vapor into the home. Investigators have not yet found the source of the flammable cleaning fluid they suspect vaporized and exploded, nor do they know whether chemicals harmless in themselves met beyond private drains and reacted in a common sewer to make something incredibly dangerous as it wafted up a private drain. Plumbing is not for amateurs, and never has been. In any building, especially old structures with plumbing components used infrequently and connected to a sewer, licensed plumbers provide the only expertise useful in evaluating extremely serious potential danger." Boston Globe, July 16, 2006
Judge keeps Foster Farms' water on "City water will keep flowing to Foster Farms, at least for now. Judge Richard Spann, who was visiting from Los Angeles, delayed a ruling until Tuesday, when a Merced County judge will hear the case. Spann filled in because some local judges are vacationing. "I want to make sure judge unavailability doesn't cause a factory shutdown," Foster Farms attorney Carmine Zarlenga said. Before Friday's hearing, city of Livingston officials said they would turn off Foster Farms' water today unless the poultry company agreed to their water protection requests. Water safety vs. business Foster Farms attorneys requested that a judge force the city to keep water flowing to the property while the lawsuit is settled. The poultry company is suing the city about what type ofwater protection should be installed on pipes to the factory. After the hearing, Zarlenga said the judge recognized the company's water supply as an important issue. "I'm standing here very happy that a poultry processing plant with 3,300 employees is not being shut down," he said.  ...At the core of the lawsuit is what type of protection should be installed on the water supply going to Foster Farms' plant. The protection is for the threat of backflow, which occurs when contaminated water flows the wrong direction in pipes. It's caused by pressure drops or pipe breaks. City officials want air-gap protection, which they say is fail-safe. Foster Farms officials said reduced-pressure devices are the industry standard for the situation. Foster Farms spokesman Tim Walsh said in June that the city's plan would cost $3 million to install and Foster Farms' plan would cost $200,000." Modesto Bee, July 31, 2006
Windward water warning after positive e-coli test "Hundreds of people in windward Oahu may have been exposed to e-coli. Several are ill, and community well-water has tested positive for the bacteria. School has been called off and residents are being told to boil water from the Waiahole system. Several residents say they're sick from contaminated water in the Waiahole state-owned system. The department of Health says that connection is speculative. Chlorine treatment and re-testing are already underway. "Don't drink the water." It's a sign tourists and locals don't usually see in Hawaii, but the community association has put one up on the roadside as a reminder. ...The state learned yesterday of a positive e-coli test from a water sample taken at the school. Residents didn't know until today. Notices to boil water were distributed and Waiahole Elementary's first day tomorrow was called off. But several people were already feeling ill. "It started about Sunday," said valley resident Bernie Panoncial. "I noticed it started with a sore stomach, so I just put it off and thought it was the flu, and then I kept drinking the water, not knowing there might be a bacteria in there until today." ..."We're wondering how did this happen?" Royos said. "Somewhere, somehow somebody weren't doing their job because, how did it get contaminated?" The state agency that owns the wells says a broken chlorinator pump is likely to blame, but they're not ruling out other factors like cross-contamination with irrigation water. "Also illegal taps because it is a rural community, so people might illegally use the water and then have not installed the required backflow preventers." KHON2 News, July 27, 2006
Study: Cardwell's water supply safe; city cancer rate less than anticipated "Residents here heard good news and bad news at a Tuesday public forum. Missouri Department of Natural Resources officials and the state's Department of Health and Senior Services specialists reported their findings regarding soil and groundwater contamination sampling; the state of the public drinking water supply; and a cancer study performed during the last few months to a crowd of approximately 50 people. The good news -- the city's drinking water is safe for consumption and the city's cancer rate fell below state officials' expectations. The bad news -- environmental cleanup is necessary at three sites surveyed by DNR and the city's water supply system is in drastic need of an overhaul. ...DNR's John Hill said environmental specialists discovered petroleum product adjacent to a number of city water lines, and those pipes should be replaced with non-permeable "ductile iron pipe with petroleum resistant gaskets in the known areas" of contamination. ...However, petroleum contamination did not permeate the water lines into homes, although there exists risk significant enough for the department to recommend relocation or replacement of those pipes, Hill said. The agency's public drinking water supply's sanitary survey indicated: * All connections between the current water supply system and an old water system must be eliminated. This includes the piping to wells No. 1 and No. 2, which are no longer in service. ...* The cross-connection control program contained within City of Cardwell ordinances must be implemented. Agriliance must be required to install and maintain the proper backflow prevention device. ... In addition, the agency's report indicated the city "should run its water system as a business." ...Cardwell Mayor David Bishop said the city is exploring avenues to finance overhauling the water supply system. The mayor added that he wasn't surprised by any of the information he heard Tuesday." The Daily Dunklin Democrat, July 28, 2006
Water leak forces closures to portions of City Hall "A water leak caused by the failure of a backflow valve in the air conditioning system for the City of Tacoma Municipal Building has forced the City to close portions of the building for cleanup and repair yesterday. The 14th and 15th floors were closed to the public and employees from those floors were sent home. It is expected that those employees will be able to return to their workplaces to assess the damage on Wednesday. Power was shut off to the 12th through 15th floors for a time and water was shut off for the entire building for most of the morning as well. Water service was restored around noon Monday and power has been restored to the 12th and 13th floors as well. City employees noticed the problem when they arrived for work Monday morning. It is estimated that between 1,000 and 2,000 gallons of water leaked from the cooling tower on top of the Tacoma Municipal Building. Some of the water was carried off the roof by an emergency drainage system, but the amount of water involved was too great for the backup system to handle. Excess water leaked into the building and worked its way along support columns down through the building, doing the most extensive damage is on the 14th and 15th floors. City staff is currently working to remove water from the leak and to further assess the damage." Tacoma Daily Index, July 25, 2006
Public Education? - Why Bother? "Exactly! Why bother with public education? Why bother to tell the customers how to protect the public water supply? Why bother to waste money on pamphlets, brochures, newspaper advertising, and video tapes? Why waste time with public service announcements? If we tell our customers too much about backflow and cross-connections, they might stop drinking the water and buy bottled water. Too late! The customers are already drinking large quantities of bottled water. Many of our customers are afraid to drink water from public water supplies. Why is this? Is it the taste and odor or do our customers hear too many horror stories of contaminated water in other cities such as cryptosporidium in Milwaukee? A boil order issued in Jacksonville makes front page news in the newspapers. Our customers do not hear about the thousands of communities that have safe drinking water. Good news does not sell newspapers. In addition to telling the customer how great the public water supply is, it is also important to supply information about the possibilities of backflow and how to provide protection in their homes and businesses. We need to remind them that it is everyone's responsibility to maintain the quality of the public water supply. Customers who drink bottled water may not be concerned about protecting the community's water supply. If they don't drink the water, their perception is that there are plenty of other customers who also do not drink the public water. Why worry about protecting the quality of the water? They will use the water to wash their cars and irrigate their lawns, but you don't need high quality water for those activities. After all, many purveyors sell reuse water from the wastewater plant for lawn irrigation.", Nov. 5, 2005
BACKFLOW PREVENTER STOPS STRAY CONTAMINANTS "Install a backflow preventer before using hose end sprayers. Hose end sprayers are convenient and easy to use for applying fertilizers, weed killers, etc. However, anytime you are connected to the city water supply or your own private well, there is a risk of sudden pressure loss. If that happen when you are applying fertilizers or other chemicals, the chemicals may siphon backwards through the hose and pipes and contaminate the water supply. This is referred to as backflow. It can be very costly and threaten the health of the residents who use the water. A sudden pressure loss can occur if there is a pump failure, pipe break, etc. Don't risk it. It will cost you only about six or seven dollars to buy a backflow preventer to screw onto the faucet." North Platte Bulletin, July 24, 2006
SA mine drinking water contaminated with uranium "About 100 workers at the Beverley uranium mine in South Australia's far north have potentially been exposed to uranium through contaminated drinking water. The mine's owner, Heathgate Resources, says the water supply was contaminated on Thursday when a technician cleaning a desalination unit mistakenly added a solution containing uranium. The company says the water supply was quickly shut off but workers could have been in contact with the water for about three hours. ...Water tests have shown uranium levels were above the national guidelines. Heathgate Resources says the desalination unit has been disconnected, and will be replaced. The Greens want an independent inquiry into how the water became contaminated. Greens Senator Bob Brown says it highlights the dangers of uranium. "It points out the hazards of the human involvement, it points out the inevitable danger that human beings will fail at some stage in what is a very dangerous industry," he said." ABCNewsOnline, July 22, 2006
Okanagan Falls water under the microscope "Residents in Okanagan Falls will be boiling their water for an indefinite amount of time as health officers look for the source of the contamination. There are about 700 homes in Okanagan Falls that have been boiling their water for nearly two months after the Interior Health Authority detected an E. coli outbreak in the system. ...The first boil water notice was issued in May when a small amount of E. coli was detected in the system. The system was chlorinated and the E. coli bacteria killed. But within a couple of days the amounts returned by nearly 100 times, said Gerry Hughes, chair of the Okanagan Falls Irrigation District Board of trustees. Since then the IHA has been working with the irrigation district to locate the cause of the infection. Theres been a lot of work done, said Hughes. Its vastly improved.  The City of Penticton loaned the irrigation district emergency chlorination equipment to help clean out the system. Because it is a ground water system there is usually no reading for E. coli, said Ken Christian, the director of health protection for IHA. The IHA is testing for a possible cross connection, which could mean that someone, for example, improperly plumbed a connection into the water line. Christian said looking for cross connections, however is a long process. Its difficult to understand the fluid dynamics of the system, he said." Penticton Western News, July 19, 2006  
Thefts hurting parkways "Several months ago, the Cherry Creek News covered the development of a new irrigation system for the 7th Avenue Parkway connecting Cherry Creek to points east, implemented to save the landscaping and trees that were dying off under the drought conditions plaguing Colorado. Now, the system - and others like it metro-wide - are facing a new threat: pipe thieves. With copper prices hitting all-time highs of $3.50 and higher per pound, thieves are targeting city irrigation systems as a source of revenue. Backflow preventers - large copper units essential to the functioning of park watering systems - have been stolen all over town, as well as on 7th Avenue. In March, a backflow preventer was stolen, but replaced only to be hit by a car last week, says Harry Hill, Denver Parks and Recreation Facilities Superintendent. ...Were not the only ones whove suffered from this - almost every municipality is being targeted. In Westminster, metal cages were installed to protect the backflow preventers. The thieves response? Steal the cage too, and sell it along with the preventer inside. The backflow preventers weigh from 20 to 30 pounds, and are made from either copper or brass. Thieves can get anywhere from $20 to $60 for the devices by selling them as scrap - making it a quicker buck than hawking aluminum cans, but an expensive proposition for the city government. Backflow preventers, depending on their size, material, and design, cost anywhere from $200 to $1,800. They are critical to preventing contamination of the water supply." Cherry Creek News, July 17, 2006
Brockton transfer station closed "City officials shut down Champion City Recovery Wednesday after the business violated its conditions of operation. The Water Commission has also slapped the 138 Wilder St. company with a $325 fine for illegally using city water from a hydrant near the business earlier this week after its dust-control system broke. ...The misting system could take a few days to repair. ...The city has issued four one-day permits for Champion City Recovery to hook up to two water hydrants near the business to help control dust. ...City Water Systems Manager Brian Creedon said the Water Commission issued the company two fines earlier this week after learning it had illegally hooked up to a hydrant for water. Creedon said the company was hit with a $300 fine for illegal water usage and a $25 fine for hydrant tampering. The Water Commission is also expected to charge the company for estimated water usage. While granting the four one-day water permits, Creedon said locks will be installed on the hydrants CCR will be using. A water department worker will have to turn the water on and off at the hydrants daily. The hydrants will also be outfitted with water meters and backflow devices. Creedon said city officials were very upset when they learned about the illegal hydrant usage." The Enterprise, July 17, 2006
25% of city eatries fail health inspection "Tullahomas commercial food establishments recorded a 25 percent failing mark during the past six months in the Tennessee Department of Healths regular inspection cycle. The department has just finished its semi-annual inspection, and 17 of the 67 restaurants and schools that serve food that could become potentially hazardous through improper handling, care and actions were cited for critical violations, which are failing marks subject to probationary action and re-inspection. All passed re-inspection and avoided closure. The department inspects all Tullahoma food service establishments once every six months. ...Culprits that plagued several restaurants in this round were improper backflow connections to sinks which can result in germs being spread into food preparation areas, improper chemical storage, a dishwashing machine not properly sanitizing dishes, a used paper towel next to a food preparation table and improper food temperature. The Health Department previously initiated a policy where food service establishments that score in the 60s or below could be subject to multiple additional inspections during a year." Tullahoma News and Guardian, July 16, 2006
Foster Farms, city prepare for court "Foster Farms and the city of Livingston are heading to court in two weeks to see if a judge will prevent the city from shutting off the poultry plant's water supply, an effort to force the company to install a certain water protection (an air-gap and repumped system) device. There are three water connection points on Foster Farms' property that have no protection from contamination and violate state regulation, a city official said. Both Foster Farms and the city agree protection is needed, but they disagree on what is the best way to safeguard the water system, which is at the core of the poultry processor's lawsuit against Livingston. A hearing in Merced County Superior Court is scheduled for July 28, three days before city officials say they will shut off the plant's water. A judge will decide if the city must keep the factory's water flowing while the disagreement is settled. The city wants Foster Farms to install an assembly it says gives the water system fail-safe protection from the chance of contamination, while Foster Farms says the assembly is unnecessary for the situation. Foster Farms spokesman Tim Walsh told the Sun-Star in June the city's plan would cost $3 million to install and Foster Farms' plan would cost $200,000. A company representative said Foster Farms wants to install a protection device that meets regulation (a RPBP) and is widely used throughout the state at processing plants. ...Because the city provides the water, Livingston Public Works Director Paul Creighton said the law allows the city to decide what protections are necessary. However, in court papers, Foster Farms says the assembly the city wants is "unreasonable," "unnecessary" and "unprecedented." "We stand ready and have always stood ready to do the right thing," said Foster Farms General Council Randy Boyce. "It's the wrong thing we are not going to do." ...The poultry processor wants to install state-approved reduced pressure assemblies. Water flows through the assembly and if the pressure falls, a flapper prevents any contaminated water from moving in the opposite direction -- back flow -- and going into other pipes. The city wants the poultry processor to install air gap assemblies, which Creighton said are "fool-proof." ...Boyce said company officials think the city wants air gaps installed because Livingston is having problems with water pressure. "We see broad variations throughout the day in water pressure," Boyce said. "It's the only thing that makes sense." An air gap would force Foster Farms to repressurize water used at the factory. As a result, the city would not have to pump the water through the factory, increasing water pressure throughout the city. ...The courts will decide if the city is being unreasonable in its request for air gap protection, Mulkerin said.", July 13, 2006
Legionairre's Disease is Back and Could Kill You "Legionairre's Disease is back and it is quite troubling indeed. These cases seem to break out every so often and it is hard to trace how. Recently a little hole in the wall Mexican restaurant had an outbreak. The CDC figured it came from the decorative fountain out front. Imagine owning a small restaurant in Rapid City, Iowa and finding out that your customers and employees were getting sick from a rare strain of bacteria which was know to be the infamous Legionaires Disease? ...Legionaires Disease is very elusive, this time it came and went and then disappeared only to show up later. The Legionella Microbe is very tricky and has interesting habits, as it thrives on biofilms and slime. ...It is almost if the Legionella knows that humans heat water with hot water heaters, store warm water and have industrial type cooling towers. It seems to like to hang around such things and when the water changes temps, it goes, but then it comes back again. As we have seen from the warm water and humidity lately, it must be loving it. Pretty scary stuff, better be careful. Think on this."
MWRA assessment is less than expected "The MWRA is charging Natick $264,188 less than the authority had projected in February, town officials said last night. Finance Director Bob Palmer told selectmen through a memo last night that the adopted budget and utility rates for fiscal 2007 were based on preliminary figures from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority five months ago. ...Besides the amount of the assessment, local officials said the town will have to pay an additional $123,300 for a cross-connection control program." MetroWest Daily News, July 11, 2006
City Mulls Transit, Plumbing "...Council also heard the second reading of proposed changes to the plumbing code. The changes will allow the use of plastic water pipes to connect city main lines with homes, said Fortunato. The plastic pipes will need a piece of copper guide wire along the plastic pipe so the line can be found if necessary, said Fortunato. It will save a great deal of money,n said Fortunato. The price of copper is running sky high.n City Health Commissioner Patty Reda previously noted that the state of Ohio adopted a similar residential plumbing code which was put into effect May 27. This ordinance is to bring city code into compliance with the state code. Other changes to the code will include the administration fee for an annual backflow-device test, which will cost $10 for the first device and each additional device costing $1. The code also states that plumbing work cannot be done, except for repairs or leaks, until an application is made to the board of health for a plan review and plumbing permit." The Intelligencer& Wheeling Register, July 10, 2006

Buying or selling a home in Dearborn? "The Dearborn Department of Building and Safety wants you to know that before a property owner sells a house in Dearborn, the home must pass an inspection and be given a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) before closing. This ensures that the house is up to code and is safe to live in. ...City of Dearborn inspectors have discovered that the following areas bring the most violations when they are looking at homes: * Vacuum breakers, or backflow prevention devices, are required on laundry tubs and outdoor water spouts. ...Many helpful tips can be found online under the Residential Sales section of the divisions of Building & Safety Department at the city's website  ( Viewers can view the inspection form used to perform an inspection for the sale of a home."The Arab American News, July 9, 2006
Park's fountain has lost its flow "A beautiful fountain that's a popular feature of a park in the Beach has quit working for the second summer in a row. Ivan Forrest Gardens, at the corner of Queen St. E. and Glen Manor Dr., is an oasis for residents and people who enjoy a summertime stroll in the area. ...The most striking feature of the small park is a decorative fountain, which cascades over rocks that look as though they've been lifted from the Canadian Shield. On a sizzling summer day, it's a magnet for kids and dogs. Both can often been found in the pool below the waterfall. But for a few weeks now, there's been no water bubbling over the rocks, a big disappoinment for local residents, now that the hot weather is here. ...Doug Muir, who's in charge of things like decorative fountains in that area of the city, said it isn't working because a new "backflow preventer," which is part of the system that circulates water over the rocks and into the pool below, needs replacing. The parts are on order and the fountain should be working again before the end of July, he said." Toronto Star, July 6, 2006
The Plumber as a Health Expert "Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the Sanitary Engineering Association, it gives me a great deal of pleasure to be here this afternoon among the engineers and the plumbers, for the reason that I personally feel the plumber was the original health officer and that the foundations of preventative medicine and public health were founded upon the activities of the engineer and the plumber in the very beginning. So that basically the things we take for granted in public health are those things that the engineer and the plumber are responsible for. In speaking of plumbing we are apt to forget its very ancient origin....From somewhat modest beginnings plumbing and sanitary engineering has become a full-fledged science, with a safeguard to health. It has been asked why a plumbing code? ...It is sufficient to say briefly that plumbing regulations are necessary to prevent polluted water... for serious epidemics have been traced to defective plumbing. ...I could relate to you many stories of plumbing work found to have been illegally installed of such a nature as to be dangerous not only to health but also to life and limb fact, a whole chamber of horrors could be filled from the experience of any plumbing inspector of a large city. ...More than in any other trade has the master plumber had his eye upon health, and it was this attitude that naturally moved him to associate with health departments. These latter, also recognizing the importance of the plumber in any scheme to improve the dwellings of the people, have nearly always appointed plumbing inspectors as among the first of such officials, and indeed in many instances in small towns the plumbing inspector was the sole officialof the health boards, and his efficient work in this respect has become a tradition in Public Health history." ASSE 1926 Yearbook
Changes in Water Works... Meter feature to prevent system contamination "You might have found a pamphlet recently from the Columbus Water Works stuck to your front door detailing a new program. Or maybe you saw city employees working near the property line of a neighbor's yard. If you haven't, don't worry. Pamphlet and workers -- and ultimately a new water meter -- will reach you eventually. New water meters aren't anything out of the ordinary, said Vic Burchfield, assistant vice president of information and water quality services for the Columbus Water Works. Residents get one every 10 years. Since 2004, though, Burchfield's office has been replacing about 500 old meters each month with the new, plus a state-mandated extra -- a backflow preventer. "It's a water meter with a backflow preventer in it," Burchfield said. "We provide these at no cost to the customer." The meters cost about $50 -- some $25 more than a meter without a back flow preventer. The additional cost, $150,000 each year, comes from planned percentage increases in water fees. Industries and commercial businesses must pay for their own backflow preventers. ...Backflow preventers take care of possible contamination of the water main, but they can be the cause of another problem. The devices create a closed plumbing circuit inside the home -- and that can lead to leaks. When water is heated, it expands. Without a backflow preventer, pressure can be relieved by water escaping into the city's system. The closed circuit means the water has nowhere to go. "It's unlikely that a problem would occur, but from the safety side we like to let our customers know," Burchfield said. "You might see a few dripping faucets where the water is trying to release." The Water Works is offering a pressure relief valve -- a small device attached to the back of a washing machine with a thin tube that allows water to relieve. The tube is placed in the drain pipe and water drips out whenever the pressure gets too high. The relief valves are available at the Water Works main office, 1421 Veterans Parkway, for $15. Burchfield said the city is selling the devices for the cost it takes to assemble them." Ledger-Enquirer, July 2, 2006
City requiring Rifle water users to turn in survey by July 15 " If you use Rifle city water, dont ignore the questionnaire you receive with your utility bill in July or you could face disconnection of your water service. The paper includes important questions city staffers want to know about your water usage as it pertains to a cross connection device that is now required for every residence that has a sprinkler system, and all commercial businesses.  Its not just a survey, said Charlotte Squires, administrative assistant for the citys planning and public works departments. You need to fill it out, or you could have your water shut off. Put a stamp on it and send it in or drop it off at city hall.  ... Once we get (the questionnaires) back, well review the information and residents will get a follow-up letter and compliance date, said Marco Carani, operations and maintenance supervisor for the public works department. The city hopes to have those who are required to have the cross connection devices in compliance by August. Eventually, all water users will be required to have the devices in place." The Citizen Telegram, June 29, 2006 
Building inspector arrested in bribe case "A city building inspector accused of soliciting bribes from a local business owner was arrested Thursday morning after a several-month FBI investigation, authorities said. FBI agents arrested Hans Williams, 46, at his Dublin home without incident, an FBI spokeswoman said. Williams, a longtime City Hall employee who city officials said Thursday has no history of similar complaints, is accused of soliciting bribes from a business owner while inspecting two properties between December 2005 and June 2006, the FBI said. FBI spokeswoman LaRae Quy said federal investigators get involved any time public trust is violated. "This is a basic public corruption case," she said. "We don't care if it's local, state or federal ... we will go after them."", June 23, 20066
Can Backflow Be A Threat To Your Drinking Water? "Most of the time water flows "forward" from the water supply system into your home. Backflow is the term used to describe the "backward flow" of water into the water supply system. In other words, backflow would occur when water from your home "flows back" into the public water supply. Or backflow can be caused when water from a garden hose "flows back" into your home. ...Once we install a backflow preventer in your home, water will be unable to flow back into the public water pipes. The backflow preventer creates an isolated or closed plumbing system. For some homeowners, thermal expansion could produce leaky faucets or set off the relief valve on hot water heaters, or in some cases, other damage may occur. Thermal expansion occurs when your hot water heater heats the water, causing it to expand. We encourage you to consult a certified plumber if you have any doubts about your plumbing system. A plumber may recommend the installation of a thermal expansion tank on your hot water heater. A pressure-reducing valve may also be required if your water pressure exceeds 70 pounds per square inch (psi). The above illustration shows these devices installed in a typical basement." North Wales Water Authority
Tests show Legionnaires' disease bacteria still in S.A. hospital's pipes, but reduced "On May 1, Thomas DeChant checked into North Central Baptist Hospital for gastrointestinal bleeding. As the days stretched into weeks, he grew sicker, unable to breathe on his own. And when the 78-year-old retired postal worker and community leader finally died earlier this month, it wasn't from bleeding or even a 6-year-old mechanical heart valve that had worried his doctors. Instead, DeChant  a member of the San Antonio Crime Commission and several other civic groups and committees  became the fourth person in two months here to die from Legionnaires' disease. In all, 11 people were diagnosed with the illness  10 of them linked to the same hospital. A team of state and federal epidemiologists later confirmed the presence of legionella bacteria in the hospital's water system. And despite aggressive steps over the past two months to get rid of it  including repeated superheating of the water system, installation of a chlorine injection system  test results last week indicate the bacteria is still lurking in the pipes... ...Next month will mark the 30th anniversary of the discovery of Legionnaires' disease. In July 1976, several hundred American Legion members gathered at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia to commemorate the nation's bicentennial. Within days, more than 200 fell ill with a mysterious pneumonia. Thirty-four of them died. Three decades later, the disease remains a mystery in many ways. How is it that legionella can invade 10 hospitals and only sicken patients at one? Why are some cities more prone to outbreaks than others? Although the bacteria can be found in many places, hospital-acquired infections are fairly common. And far more people are infected each year than the official statistics indicate, said Dr. Robert Muder, hospital epidemiologist with VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, who has studied legionella for 25 years. ...factors that raise the risk of legionella include hot water heated at no more than 122 degrees, buildings taller than 10 stories and a disruption (backflow induced) of a building's water system. The latter might be an issue at North Central Baptist, which is undergoing a major building expansion that will double the hospital's size. In early April, a water line to the hospital was cut, interrupting service and causing problems with toilets and discolored water.", June 26, 2006
BREAKING NEWS: Boil order on for Saranac Lake water through Tuesday at earliest "All village of Saranac Lake water users are under a boil-water order until at least Tuesday, Village Manager John Sweeney said early Sunday afternoon. There is a possibility that bacteria may have gotten into the village water system when a cracked water main beneath Lake Flower Avenue caused backflow in parts of the network, sucking air into water pipes in the McKenzie Pond Road area, Sweeney said. Village officials do not know whether bacteria did, in fact, enter the system, but in such a situation, the state Department of Health requires the village to declare a boil order until the water passes tests to prove it is clean and potable. Results of those tests will not be available until Tuesday at the earliest... ...People were talking about the water break and boil order all over the village Saturday and Sunday, but many were acting on minimal or inaccurate information." Adirondak Daily Enterprise, June 26, 2006
Company shuts doors due to disease "The state's largest insurance company closed one of its downtown Detroit offices and gave 350 workers two paid days off after inspectors discovered the bacterium that causes Legionnaire's disease in the building's water supply. One worker for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan was diagnosed with the pneumonia-like disease a week ago, prompting the insurance company to call in professionals to check the air conditioning and water system at the seven-story building on Jefferson. Tests to the air conditioning system proved negative. But when traces of the bacteria were found on some toilets and drinking fountains, the company decided to turn off the water, chlorinate it and restart it, a process expected to take a couple of days, a company spokeswoman said. ...Legionnaires' disease -- so called because it was first diagnosed when it killed 34 people attending an American Legion convention in Philadelphia in 1976 -- is caused by the Legionella bacteria, which thrive in stagnant, warm water. Outbreaks of this disease have been associated with cooling towers, showers, faucets, hot tubs/whirlpool spas and other sources of aerosolized water. People can contract the disease by breathing vapor from a contaminated water supply. It is not transmitted from person to person." Detroit Free Press, June 23, 2006
Copper in Drinking Water "Copper is a mineral and natural component of soils. It is an essential nutrient for humans and plants. Industrial pollution, domestic wastewater, mining wastewater, and weathering of copper-bearing rocks are major sources of copper in surface and ground waters. Discharges of copper into sewer systems from some residential areas have also been found. Leading areas of use for copper and its alloys are the plumbing, electrical, and electronic industries. Copper compounds are used as agricultural fungicides, algaecides in water reservoirs, in food supplements, and fertilizers. In Washington, most copper in drinking water comes from corrosion of household plumbing. Public water supplies are required to conduct treatment to reduce corrosion when more than 10 percent of the tap water samples exceed 1.3 parts per million (ppm) of copper. Copper from plumbing corrosion can accumulate overnight. Flushing the water from the tap for 30 to 45 seconds can reduce the copper that can accumulate when the household plumbing is not in use. Copper is an essential mineral in the diet. Too much copper, however, can cause health problems. ...There is a great risk of copper contamination from carbonated or acidic beverages that have been in contact with copper tubing, fixtures, or containers. The carbon dioxide used in soft drink dispensers is under pressure. Where it is mixed with the incoming water, there is a potential for carbon dioxide to backflow through the incoming water supply. The carbon dioxide then can corrode copper plumbing, which can add copper to soft drinks. The surest way to prevent the carbon dioxide from contacting copper plumbing pipes is to install a reduced pressure backflow prevention assembly (RPBA). This assembly should be installed on the incoming water supply pipe before the carbon dioxide injection point. Copper piping should not be used past the injection point. (Some utilities may allow the substitution of a dual-check valve with an intermediate vent in place of the RPBA)." Washington State Dept. of Public Health, Jan. 2006
Workers blunder at factory costs $11 million "Talk about your bad day  contractor accidentally triggers plant shutdown... A worker who accidentally tripped a shut-off switch at a major Ontario plastics plant will cost the manufacturer $11 million in lost profit, the company said Wednesday. Nova Chemicals Corp. said it will not be able to fulfill some contracts because of the blunder. A contractors employee installing a structural teel platform at an ethylene plant in Corunna, Ontario, mistakenly activated a process shutdown switch Monday afternoon, halting production and forcing two weeks of repairs at the facility. The switch is a safety thing, so if anyone sees something going wrong they have the opportunity to shut down the plant, said Nova spokesman Greg Wilkinson. But thats not what happened here. It was not a safety issue. It was simply inadvertent. ...Nova has launched an investigation into just how the worker hit the button, but the company said its priority is repairing the facility. The worker who made the $11 million mistake, who was not identified, is unlikely to be penalized. Indeed, Wilkinson said he has some sympathy. I cant imagine how that feels, but it has got to be very distressing, he said." MSNBC, June 21, 2006
UConn To Fix Project Errors "The University of Connecticut board of trustees Tuesday approved a budget for the coming year that attempts to better manage its aggressive construction program and calls for more faculty for strategic areas. Much of the new $858.1 million budget is designed to address mismanagement, fire code problems and cost overruns in the ongoing $2.3 billion UConn 2000 construction program. The program, which has given the once dilapidated campus a spanking new look, was plagued with problems so severe that the state building inspector ordered fire watches at two new dorm complexes. The problems prompted several investigations, and the governor ordered inspectors to check every dorm and classroom building erected under the UConn 2000 program. The new budget sets aside: $540,000 to hire four new building and fire inspectors and a supervisor. ...It also includes $300,000 for a water backflow prevention monitoring plan and $250,000 for water management activities." Hartford Courant, June 21, 2006
Hydrant laws may toughen "Area service authorities are ready to douse illegal use of hydrants - and they have the General Assembly behind them. And while the promise of fines and imprisonment for illegally using a hydrant might seem harsh, in the long run, it might save lives. A House of Delegates bill passed by the General Assembly will make unlawful tampering with waterworks a Class 6 felony, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail. Maliciously tampering with hydrants carries a Class 3 felony, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine up to $100,000. Another bill will allow utility service providers to seek relief and damages from people responsible for tampering or diverting a waterworks source. Tampering is defined as introducing any hazardous physical, chemical, biological, or radiological substance or matter into a waterworks with the intention of harming people. The bills go into effect July 1. ...Damron said that one problem with illegal discharges was that the county had no way of knowing how much money was lost from the stolen water. But the bigger problem, Damron said, is what can wind up in the water when someone uses a hydrant. Its not a question of money, Damron said. Its a question of safety. Damron said that without the proper connector, getting water from a hydrant could result in backflow, introducing harmful bacteria or other chemicals into the water supply. Thats what happened in Roanoke in 1979, when a local pesticide company accidentally introduced the chemical chlordane into a neighborhoods water system. Gary Robertson, executive director of water operations for the Western Virginia Water Authority in Roanoke, said that the chlordane contaminated a significant area of the neighborhood. The city wound up having to replace a good part of the water main in that area, because they could not get the chemical out, Robertson said. ...Sometimes you catch them, sometimes you dont, but we are much more determined to prosecute because situations like this can put the general public at risk, Jones said. Thats your worst nightmare, when you have the major pollution in a water system. You dont know when that might happen, but you dont want any type of dirty water going back into the water system at any time."" The News & Advance, June 19, 2006
Boil order continues in Farmington "A boil order was issued Thursday in Farmington after one sample from the water supply tested positive for total coliform bacteria. ...The boil order is for the entire City of Farmington water supply. Roger Woodcock, city administrator, sent a press release announcing the situation. The boil order was issued at 1:40 p.m. Thursday, he noted. Woodcock sent another press release Friday that said the boil order will remain in effect until further notice. ...This is the second boil order issued since a new reverse osmosis treatment system was installed April 13. A boil order was issued after fecal coliform (E. coli) bacteria were found in samples of the water supply on May 25. Precisely where that contamination originated was uncertain, Woodcock said at a city council meeting held later. ...A press release during that situation noted bacterial contamination can occur when increased run-off enters the drinking water source (for example, followed by heavy rains). It can also happen due to a break in the distribution system (pipes and mains), a failure in the water treatment process, or through a cross-connection." The Daily Ledger, June 18, 2006
Got a sprinkler system? " If you live in a residence with a lawn sprinkler system or have a commercial business that uses water, be prepared to buy a cross connection control device in the next few months. The device helps to prevent water from backflowing into the water line and contaminating the water supply. If theres a water main break, it can create suction, and contaminated water can flow back into the water line, said Marco Carani, operations and maintenance supervisor for the city of Rifle. This is a prevention device.  Home and business owners are responsible for purchasing their devices, which must also be inspected annually. All devices must be approved, inspected and tested before being turned on. A certified cross connection control technician must test the approved device and have test results sent to the city of Rifle within five working days. The program is not new, but is being enforced now due to the citys growth and stricter regulations by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment. Were just starting to implement it because the state is coming down harder on us, said Charlotte Squires, administrative assistant for the citys planning and public works departments." The Citizen Telegram, June 15, 2006
Water shutoffs (scroll down) "...In other business, council passed legislation making it easier to shut off water to commercial and industrial customers who don't have inspections done. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency requires the city have a program requiring such customers to install backflow valves and have them inspected annually. The valves assure that water in lines at businesses doesn't back up into the potable water supply lines and contaminate the water. Rudy Fabrizio, city superintendent of water and waste water, told lawmakers that the city is required to send three registered letters to customers who don't have the valves or if they aren't inspected before any action can be taken against them. There are 576 customers that require the inspections. To reduce mailing costs and speed the process, two postcards will be sent to the customer. If they don't have the devices installed or inspected, their water will be turned off.", June 8, 2006
Spray Park Basics "MS Power Point (required) presentation explains the basics of "splash pad" & "spray park" construction, operation, etc., including backflow preventer requirements.  Schematics show how they can be a backflow hazard..." Hobbs Architectural
Plumbing issues delay splash park debut "Patrons can start swimming Saturday at Cantrick Middle School, but they'll have to wait at least another week to splash. The Dick Waters community pool will open at noon Saturday at the Riverview Ave. school. However, a plumbing problem has delayed the opening of the new splash park adjoining the pool. A backflow preventer that averts used water from flowing back into the supply system initially was left out in construction. The part was installed Thursday, with testing on the system expected through the next week. ..."It was a minor oversight," engineering department Director Patrick Lewis said. "We were really pushing and hoping to open both together, but we had to stop and fix it." The preventer keeps the system from cross-contamination that could occur from the two sources mixing. The delay was the latest in a series of setbacks with the splash park project. The plans were pushed back last year while issues in the design of the plumbing were fixed. Construction at the park stopped in early fall when crews, eyeing the approaching winter weather, wrapped up work to avoid the necessary winterizing of plumbing.", June 9, 2006   (also see the below from 2005 and discussion of the problem w/ "splash pads" @
Health Official Says Deadly Infection May Be Treatable " Researchers say there might be a new weapon to fight the deadly infection that killed two Tulsa boys last week. Tulsa hospitals now know of the possible new treatment. ...naegleria is caused by an amoeba and it's usually found in warm bodies of fresh water and under-chlorinated pools. If the amoeba gets into the nasal passages, it can be deadly. The two boys killed by the rare infection played at a splash pad at Mohawk Park. And the boys might have also played in other nearby water. Officials believe two small, stagnant ponds next to the pads might be the source of the infection. The water at the splash pad is chlorinated, but city officials drained the area Now a researcher at Oklahoma State University's Center for Health Sciences says a drug might treat the infection. The researcher says Zithromax, which is used to fight other sinus infections, worked the only time it was used in treatment.", Aug. 9, 2005
HCWSA Encourages Customers to Install Thermal Expansion Devices "The Henry County Water & Sewerage Authority (HCWSA) is in the process of upgrading existing operations to continue to provide the safest and highest quality drinking water possible for its customers. To continue to ensure this quality of service, the Authority will begin a multi-year program to install backflow prevention devices throughout the county on customer water meters that do not currently have them in place. (This typically includes homes built prior to 2001). ...While protecting a public drinking water system from potential backflow, these devices also seal water off inside a customer's home. As a result, a backflow preventive water meter could create higher pressure on an existing plumbing system (both on the hot water and cold water side). ...As a result of a change in the plumbing code in 2001, all homes built since that time are required to have such thermal expansion devices included in their construction. However, homes built prior to 2001 may not have these capabilities inside the house. Customers should consult a certified plumber if they have any doubts about their plumbing's condition. The HCWSA will not be responsible for any plumbing problems that may arise as a result of non-existing or improperly installed thermal expansion or pressure relief equipment." Henry County Water & Sewerage Authority
Water rules futile if pipes old, group says "As new water treatment rules were announced Wednesday for schools and health centres, the sewer and water main construction industry warned that all the testing in the world will be "wasted" unless the pipes carrying the water are modernized. The province's pipes and sewers are dirty and aging because they've exceeded their maximum expected lifespan, said the Ontario Sewer and Watermain Construction Association. Frank Zechner, the group's executive director, said the government's focus on water source protection and state-of-the-art water treatment facilities are commendable, but will be "wasted if they do not also address the pipes delivering that drinking water to homes and workplaces." ..."Our members see this pipe everyday," he said, pointing to chunks of gunk-filled pipes he brought with him to the Ontario legislature. "They know the quality of the pipes that are delivering water to their homes. They are concerned." The samples were pulled out of the ground in parts of eastern Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area earlier this year. Zechner said they remind him of those yanked from Walkerton six years ago after the town's water was contaminated by E. coli when manure leaked into a municipal well and caused the death of seven people and sickened thousands of others. The pipes were not the source of Walkerton's water problems but many had to be replaced as the town's water system was flushed out and fixed. "We had a lot of concerns back at Walkerton when we saw those sections of pipes being pulled out . . . Six years later we're able to pull out a couple other samples they look just as bad, if not worse, as those from Walkerton," he said." ...The Environment Ministry has made water one of its top priorities ushering in the Clean Water Act and bumping up the number of full-time water inspectors. And Wednesday, it unveiled the latest set of water testing regulations, these ones geared at improving quality at schools, day cares and health centres, among other places. But the association, which represents about 700 companies within the sewer and water main construction industry, maintains that the government is only addressing half the problem, since the water has to travel through the aged pipes. "They're falling apart . . . You can address that in part by adding more chemicals into the water to make sure that nothing's flowing in it at the opposite end but that's not the solution," he said." Toronto Star, June 8, 2006
Thieves taking the shine out of city parks  also see the video "DENVER - Thieves seem to be keeping the city's parks and other grassy areas from staying green. Due to the increasingly popularity of copper and other precious metals, criminals are now taking copper backflow devices from the underground plumbing around town. "It's becoming a major issue," said Harry H. Hill, Denver's Facility Superintendent. "This affects a lot of the parks, the parkways, and other turf areas throughout the city." Since December, Hill estimates approximately 60 devices have been stolen from underground. It costs the city anywhere from $250 to $1,800 for each one. ...While thefts are generally higher in the winter because the water is shut-off, it makes it difficult for plumbers this time of year to constantly replace the stolen devices. "It's went up quite a bit," said Larry Castillo, a plumber. "It's always been a popular item at the scrap yard." Experts say thieves try and resell the precious metals at local scrap yards, but owners are now on high alert. ...Authorities are coming up with different ways to protect the ...devices  from criminals.  However, once they're stolen, they're hard to trace, even though state law requires them to have a serial number. "There's so many of them, that going through them individually, to try and trace the serial number has been a difficult task," said Hill.", June 5, 2006
Backflow and Backflow Technologies "Backflow technology is a term that most people in the backflow industry would not first think of when the topic of backflow prevention comes up. Backflow prevention is just the desired goal and different products allow this to be accomplished. However, backflow technology is what sets different manufactures apart from each other. Backflow prevention is the purpose, but the technologies and advancements in how that purpose is accomplished is what distinguishes a quality Backflow Preventer. To understand backflow technology, we must first understand the purpose, which is to prevent backflow. ...The proper selection of a backflow preventer is crucial to insure that the device works properly and is providing adequate protection for the specific application. It must be stressed that these devices are not all equally acceptable as protection against all types of hazards and other factors must be taken into account with each application. For help in figuring out what type backflow preventer is needed for a particular system, check with the local water purveyor or Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) in that area." Plumbing Standards, Jan.-March, 2006
Purity of water, backflow at issue "Foster Farms is suing Livingston over how to protect the city's water supply from possible contamination by the poultry plant. City officials want Foster Farms to install backflow protection devices on the wells along the poultry plant's property line. The devices would stop dirty water from streaming into Livingston's drinking supply if the water flow was reversed because of a water main break or pressure drop. But Foster Farms wants to install a device that city officials claim is inadequate, unreliable and could leave drinking water and groundwater vulnerable to contamination. "We have a public health problem in Livingston that needs to be solved," said City Manager Richard Warne. "Given the nature of what's in (Foster Farm's) system  the chicken body parts, pathogens, blood, viruses, toxic chemicals  the city is not going to settle for anything less than the highest level of protection, especially when there's an elementary school across the street." Yamato Colony Elementary School sits across Livingston-Cressey Road from the poultry plant. Warne said Yamato students would be the first victims in the event of backflow contamination. But Foster Farms says the city's demand for an "air gap" backflow prevention device is "overkill," according to spokesman Tim Walsh. "It's like renting a backhoe to plant roses in your back yard," Walsh said. "They want us to put in a system that goes far beyond what's needed and what's required by the state. "It goes beyond industry standards," he said. It's also far more expensive, according to Walsh. The air-gap device the city wants Foster Farms to install would cost $3 million. Foster Farm's version would cost $200,000. ...Livingston hired three consultants to evaluate Foster Farms' backflow protection needs. All agreed that the plant's lack of backflow protection presents a serious concern. One noted that waterlines inside Foster Farms "connect directly to chemical tanks without backflow protection devices, which could lead to chemical contamination of the water supply." Another said that "back pressure could force contaminated water down into the aquifer below Livingston and contaminate even a larger area." ...If Foster Farms refuses to install the air-gap backflow protection device, Livingston will shut off Foster Farms' water supply, City Manager Warne said.", June 2, 2006
Copper crooks leave parkways to parch "As price of metal soars, irrigation equipment goes missing; other items, too... Call them the copper capers. Since last fall, as commodity prices for metals have skyrocketed, local thieves learned that pilfering metal irrigation equipment from the city's grand parkways is a quicker way to riches than collecting aluminum cans. As a result, large swaths of Denver's lawn-watering efforts on the city's parkways has ground to a halt. Some spots, including along Monaco Parkway, "haven't had water since last year," said parks Superintendent Juan Marsh. And parched parkways are only a slice of the problem. Equipment has been stolen from throughout the city's 4,000 acres of parks and open space, said parks spokeswoman Tiffiany Moehring. The city has been conducting a two-month study to determine the damages, but the audit is not yet complete, she added. The copper contraption that is drawing thieves is called a backflow preventer. It weighs between 20 to 30 pounds. Thieves can get from $20 to $60 at scrap metal prices for the devices, said Denver police analyst Tony Brukhardt.  ...Parks personnel said they believe thefts could be more difficult in summer months when there is water pressure in the lines, Moehring said. Colorado Springs officials have found that, indeed, thefts have slowed during the spring watering season. But three weeks ago, an enterprising thief ripped off a fully pressurized unit, probably getting soaked in the process, Schroeder said. In Denver, an estimated 40 parkway backflow preventers have gone missing - at a replacement cost of from $200 for a small copper unit to $1,800 for large units made of brass. It was enough for Denver City Councilwoman Marcia Johnson to sound the alarm to Mayor John Hickenlooper. The mayor suggested switching to plastic backflow preventers, but parks personnel say no manufacturer makes plastic units."Rocky Mountain News, June 5, 2006
Impact fees for Glen (scroll down to the last paragraph) "In other business, the council decided to look into increasing water security... ...The mayor also raised concerns about two town residents who have had their service cut off for delinquent water payments and subsequently have reconnected to their private wells. Norman and Councilman Dickie Foster feared that such actions could cause cross contamination in the system if the backflow valves fail. "If people continue doing it, we might have to make all the town residents abandon their wells. I would hate to do that after we promised them they could keep them for irrigation and car washing," said Padgett. Fining the two home owners, notifying the health department and getting the legal process started are all options that will be explored." The Standard, June 1, 2006
Hydrants: Our Largest Infrastructure Threat? "The gray and blue pickup truck moves slowly through the subdivision, the driver glancing in his rearview mirror and looking closely at his surroundings. The sun is high in the morning sky as he drives by two women on their daily cardio walk. Everything is normal on an early April Wednesday. He makes the next turn and finds what he is looking for on the curb, the truck slows and stops. He gets out of the truck, just another employee in his standard issue blue shirt and pants and removes the small vial from his pocket. In less than a minute he is back in the truck pulling away from the squat red hydrant. Now to the airport to await further instructions; his people will be pleased.  The next Wednesday, a few miles away Josh, the stock-boy at the local supermarket, notices the shelves in the pharmacy area are completely out of diarrhea and nausea medicine. He tells Mr. Jacobs, the pharmacist hell be back in a flash to re-stock them. Mr. Jacobs is perplexed; he just stocked those items yesterday. He picks up the phone to call the warehouse and order more. The order clerk at the warehouse informs him that it has been like this all over town, a huge demand on all medicines used to treat diarrhea and nausea.  TWO days later local emergency rooms and hospital beds are filled with people experiencing acute nausea, diarrhea, fever and chills. Four days later the first person dies, evidently from some sort of toxic poisoning. By the end of April the death toll has reached 5,000 while 100,000 critically ill people fill hospital rooms and makeshift wards; the only common denominator, their water supply. Today, the terrifying story above is fiction. However, there are tens of millions of fire hydrants in the United States, every one ostensibly a useful tool to protect us. But in the wrong hands, this outwardly inconspicuous item becomes another tool, a potential weapon of mass destruction. The ease with which a one- or two-person team could use a hydrant to deliver lethal doses of toxins to large populations is frightening. Toxins incorporated into the system via a hydrant could result not only in massive numbers of victims but also in widespread panic in America. Many states have addressed the threats of commercial and residential back-flow; however, the most available and insidious tool that terrorists could use to harm large populations has, up until now, been overlooked from a policy standpoint. The General Accounting Office recently convened 43 nationally recognized water experts and asked them to identify serious vulnerabilities of our drinking water systems. In their GAO-04-29 report to the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, the GAO stated that those experts identified the distribution system as the most vulnerable component of our drinking water systems and specifically referenced fire hydrants as a top vulnerability...So what practical measures have been taken to make fire hydrants less vulnerable to terrorism? One important development comes from Tom Davidson, a water utility contractor from Sunnyside, Ga., who has invented and patented the Davidson Anti-Terrorism Valve (ATV). This device is a stealth check-valve, internal to the hydrant, that prevents persons from injecting biological or chemical agents into our drinking water via the hydrant." Underground Infrastructure Management March/April 2005  (For more info about the "ATV", go to or   (Also see the following related article)
Firefighting Foam Taints Cities' Water "Tap water in 700 Cypress and Stanton households was off-limits for drinking, cooking and bathing Monday after the local water supply was contaminated by a firefighting chemical. Firefighters were using about 15 gallons of SILV-EX foam to extinguish a recycling center blaze Sunday afternoon in the 11200 block of Western Avenue in Stanton when a mixture of foam and water backed up into a fire hydrant, said Capt. Paul Hunter, spokesman for the Orange County Fire Authority. Some residents already had drunk potentially contaminated water  some of which looked clear and some of which looked soapy  before receiving warning notices Monday morning. Officials said there are no significant health risks because any foam that reached a household tap would be in extremely low concentration." LA Times, May 23, 2000
Misconduct Taints the Water in Some Privatized Systems "When cities hire firms to run utilities, they seek quality at lower cost. They may get ethics scandals, violations and irate consumers. In recent years, cities across the U.S. have turned over a vital public service  providing safe drinking water  to private enterprise. Driving the trend was the idea that for-profit companies, mainly European conglomerates, could operate water and sewer systems efficiently, keeping water quality high and costs low. In some places, private-sector management helped trim bureaucracies and replace decaying infrastructure, local officials say. But in Indianapolis, New Orleans, Atlanta and other cities, privatization has been accompanied by corruption scandals, environmental violations and a torrent of customer complaints. In Atlanta, residents began complaining of brown, brackish drinking water soon after the French company Suez and a subsidiary began running the water system under a $428-million, 20-year contract. It later emerged that Suez had treated then-Mayor Bill Campbell, who championed the contract, to a $12,000 Parisian holiday. ...A federal grand jury, meanwhile, is investigating allegations that Veolia's Indianapolis unit falsified water-quality data. Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute, an Oakland think tank that studies water issues, said the rhetoric of privatization "has run into the brick wall of reality." "I'm not opposed to privatization. I'm opposed to bad privatization," Gleick said. "If privatization is going to work, there really needs to be clear protection of the public good and clear standards for performance."" KTLA News, May 29, 2006
An Introduction to Inflow Prevention "Prior to cross connection and security issues, valve vaults were simply a part of the water distribution system receiving little or no attention unless a problem occurred. With the advent of cross connection issues, more and more municipalities became concerned with the potential for non-potable water entering a pipeline through vault installed air valves. Often, the valve outlets were not piped leaving them exposed to floodwater or other contaminates. Municipalities began to insist that all air valve outlets be piped above grade using a J pipe configuration. However, this proved impractical if not impossible in vaults below streets, etc. and also opened up the possibility of malicious tampering with the J pipe. Additionally, in cold climates the air valve outlet was now exposed to frigid temperatures leading to freezing concerns. Post 9/11, water distribution systems were recognized as one of our nations most vulnerable infrastructure assets. Once again, air valve outlets were recognized as having the potential to allow the entry of contamination into a potable water system. ...Cross contamination and security have brought about many new approaches to protecting our drinking water. One of these is the concept of inflow prevention. Inflow prevention is defined as preventing contaminated water from entering a potable water pipeline or reservoir through an air valve or reservoir vent. Inflow prevention is very similar to backflow prevention in that it impedes contaminated water from compromising drinking water." Plumbing Standards, March 2006
How Sanitary is Your Survey? "Imagine if you will that you are standing before a studio audience with four of your closest relatives (including your know-it-all brother-in-law Ed) as that handsome devil Richard Dawson prances across the stage in a strikingly loud plaid suit. Looking directly at you, Richard points at the flashing scoreboard and shouts Name something required every three years by community water systems in order to stay in compliance with EPA regulations? Struggling under the hot studio lights to recall what the trainer had said during the Public Water System Management Training session you recently completed, it dawns on you that the cash and prizes riding on this one question could mean the difference betweenyour Aunt Ruth spending two glorious weeks in Cancun or camped out in your guestroom. While this question probably never came up during any real episodes of the Family Feud gameshow, in this issue of The Safe Drinking Water Trust eBulletin well not only help you answer this exciting question, well also look at ways to prepare your water system so that when state inspectors, or your Aunt Ruth come knocking, youll be prepared. Survey Says. If you shouted Sanitary Survey back at Richard then go ahead and jump around a little bit before reading the rest of this article. ...These reviews by trained water professionals are to be conducted every three years by community water systems and every five years by non-community water systems.  ...Sanitary surveys have been a critical component of many states drinking water programs for decades and are used to prevent and correct any problems that could affect the safety of the water flowing into your customers homes. ...Long before your system receives notice that an inspector will be stopping by to review your operation, its a good idea to complete a self-inspection reviewing each of the nine critical components outlined by the Environmental Protection Agency that will be reviewed during an actual sanitary survey: (including) Distribution: Is drinking water delivered to the consumer in a manner that assures the water is safe when it reaches the tap? What is the physical condition of the distribution system? Cross-Connections: Is there any means for non-potable or contaminated water to enter the distribution system? Are all backflow prevention devices in place and tested regularly?" The Safe Drinking Water Trust, 10/12/05
Cross Connection Protection Devices "In the past twenty years, great strides have been taken to protect our potable water supplies, and ultimately public health, through the advancement of mechanical cross connection protection devices, more commonly referred to as backflow preventers. What is a backflow preventer? A backflow preventer is any mechanical device, whether used singly or in combination with  reversal of flow in a potable water distribution system. This article is intended to overview the different types of backflow preventers currently used in the industry and explain their differences."
Protection for Post Mix Carbonators "One of the common questions received in the Foundation office has to do with the level of backflow protection needed on post mix soft drink carbonators. The post mix soft drink carbonator takes water and carbonates it using Carbon Dioxide (CO2) from a refillable tank. ...Initially one wonders whether any backflow protection is needed. After all, we drink the sodas dont we? What would be the problem if some soda got into the drinking water? Further investigation shows that the CO2 is under pressure and could, thus, create backpressure into the drinking water system. In such a case when backpressure is present a minimum of a double check valve assembly is typically required. There would, however, seem to be no contaminants (i.e., health hazards) which would warrant a reduced pressure principle assembly. Yet further investigation demonstrates that there is a potential for the CO2 or carbonated water to backflow into the water supply copper piping. This is where the problem occurs. The acidic carbonated water or carbon dioxide may leach the copper out of the copper piping. This may be detected by the discoloration of the water (i.e., blue water), or air (i.e., carbon dioxide) coming out of nearby faucets, or an off-taste in the soft drink being served." USC Cross Talk Reprint (Ed. note; most plumbing codes now require an ASSE 1022 backflow preventer)
Protecting 'Pop' "The right dispenser valves are key in protecting beverage consumers. ...Whether you drink soda or pop, have you ever thought about the water quality used to make these beverages?  ...if it is from a drink dispenser, the water supply is an important part of the equation. ...The problem occurs when carbonic acid, which is highly corrosive to copper and copper alloy found in many drink dispensers, reacts to the metal and creates an excess of copper in the water used to produce soda. When this happens, the person consuming the beverage gets a bad drink. Depending on the amount of copper in the water, you can get a terrible stomachache. There are cases of vomiting, as well as trips to the hospital. While I don't know of anyone dying, some attacked by copper poisoning said it felt like they were dying. ...Anytime a potable water line supplying a soft drink can be contaminated, there's concern on the part of the plumbing industry.  ...In the late 1980s, ASSE started a project to establish a standard for a new vented double-check valve to protect the water supply to carbonated beverage dispensers. For years, dispenser manufacturers installed a double-check valve on the water supply inside the units. ASSE 1032 regulates these valves. The problem for the plumbing industry is the valves have no atmospheric vent. Hence, if there is a failure, there is a possibility of carbonic acid flowing back to a copper water line. The new standard was designated ASSE 1022. ...The soft drink industry announced last year (1999) it is switching all new carbonated beverage dispensers to an internal ASSE 1022 device for backflow protection. ...What about the older carbonated beverage dispensers? For the older dispensers, you need to provide an external ASSE 1022 backflow preventer. Whenever you are doing any work in a fast food restaurant, quick shop, restaurant, nightclub or other location with a carbonated beverage dispenser, check to make sure the dispenser has the correct backflow preventer. It needs either an internal or external ASSE 1022 device. Now, for a little secret. If you encounter a dispenser with a built-in ASSE 1032 device, which is the wrong one under new plumbing codes, and no external ASSE 1022 device, have the owner of the facility contact his distributor. The distributor, typically a soda company under contract, will replace the ASSE 1032 device with an ASSE 1022 as a part of its service contract with the facility.", 7/17/2000
Vending Machine Pipe Backflow Causes Students' Illness In Haddon Township, N.J. "Backflow from piping in a soda machine has been blamed for causing vomiting and nausea in 14 students at Paul VI High School in Haddon Township, N.J., according to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, Pa. The backflow valve was checked and the piping tested by a vending technician, a school official said. In addition, the water will be tested by the township water department. Editor's Insight: While incidents such as this are rare, vending operators cannot afford to allow this sort of thing to occur. In this case, someone was clearly negligent in servicing this machine.", May 19, 2006
Cops: Mayor tapped water customers for sex "WALDRON, Arkansas -- The 72-year-old mayor of this Arkansas town was arrested this week on charges he sought sex from two women in exchange for preventing their water from being turned off. One of the women told investigators she had been having sex with Troy Anderson for money for eight to 10 years, according to an affidavit. She said Anderson paid her $25 per encounter and $60 for a late water deposit. He also allowed her to change the name on her overdue water bill to keep the service running, the affidavit said. ...In January, a second woman with a late water bill wore a recording device when she met the mayor at an apartment to seek his help...", May 18, 2006
The Hazard of Unsecured Backflow Preventers (reprinted @ "Many people are unaware of the potential danger posed by backflow prevention assemblies. Larger facilities can have their potable water contaminated or polluted within seconds. These water users include high-rise buildings, hospitals, commercial centers, restaurants, schools, shopping malls, military bases and commercial properties. Within seconds, a facility could be inadvertantly or intentionally selectively contaminated by virtue of unprotected backflow preventer test cocks. ...Due to the differential pressure across the test cocks (check valves), contaminents can be pulled into the drinking water service line or water service main..." Drinking Water & Backflow Prevention, April 2003
Plumber sues, says city retaliated because he exposed corruption "CHICAGO- A plumber filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday accusing the city of retaliating against him because he spoke out about corruption...  Patrick McDonough's lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount in damages and attorneys fees, according to a copy of the complaint filed in federal court in Chicago. A federal investigation into the program where the city outsources hauling work to private companies has resulted in corruption charges against dozens of people. According to McDonough's lawsuit, he reported corruption to the city but it was ignored. His attorneys contend the city retaliated against McDonough by firing him last year for alleged violations of the city's residency rules, but he since has won his job back. The defendants named in McDonough's lawsuit include the city, its water management department, the city's former inspector general Alexander Vroustouris, and Donald Tomczak, a former high-ranking water department official who has pleaded guilty to racketeering... ...At his attorney's office Tuesday, McDonough, 45, said all he wanted was to be left alone and to continue working the city plumbing job he's had since 1999. "I'd like to have a peaceful employment," he said.", May 16, 2006
Clear choices for clean drinking water "Nearly 30 years after the passage of the Safe Drinking Water Act, the safety of the water we drink is still in the news and on consumers' minds. In March 2003, the nation's water utilities will begin reporting to the federal government on their preparedness in the event of terrorist attack; water-system vulnerability assessments are required by an antibioterrorism bill passed by Congress last year. ...Absent vague threats of bioterrorism, should you be worried about the quality of your drinking water? No, say officials of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which monitors drinking-water quality. "By and large the drinking water is safe," says Cynthia Dougherty, director of the EPA's Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water. "In the U.S. we have some of the most reliable water systems in the world." In reality, our systems may be reliable, but they're not perfect. Incidents of contamination do occur." ...While most drinking water is safe, the EPA says that in 2001, about 3,200 water systems in the U.S.--mostly systems that serve small populations--reported at least one health-based violation." Consumer Reports
Cross-Connection Monitoring and Control Program "The Federal Safe Drinking Water Act states that the supplier of water is responsible for the quality of water at the user's tap. Although cross-connections are not specifically mentioned in the act, this quality assurance clause places the burden of cross-connection control on the owner of the distribution system. There have been numerous court cases in which customers have taken civil action against a water supplier because the supplier was found negligent... Despite these facts, many water utility employees are not concerned with the possibility of a cross-connection within their system. ...The chances for a cross-connection are not as remote as they may seem. There are thousands of cross-connections installed daily throughout the country." Drinking Water & Backflow Prevention, Feb. 1984
Clean water a basic human right "But Canada disagrees, and backs privatizing it... A key issue in the world today is water. Two million people die unnecessarily every year from lack of clean water. Each day, 6,000 children die from water-borne diseases. Canadians strongly believe that water must stay under public stewardship so as to meet the needs of people and the planet.  The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights agrees. It says that water is a human right and that governments have a responsibility to provide clean water to all citizens. Without any public debate, the Canadian government has, however, taken a position against the human right to water. Canada was the only country to take this stand at a 2002 meeting of the UN Human Rights Commission, saying: "Canada does not accept that there is a right to drinking water and sanitation." ...At the same time as Canada opposes the human right to water at the UN, it has no problem at the World Bank supporting the forced privatization of water in developing countries, a policy which has caused immense suffering, illness and deaths. ...More than 230,000 Canadians have sent cards to our prime ministers calling on the government to recognize water as a human right and oppose its privatization. The Canadian government (both present and previous) has ignored them.  ...key decisions, hostile to human rights, are being made behind closed doors. This is not the way it's supposed to happen in a democracy.", May 12, 2006
Health aspects of plumbing "The World Health Organization and the World Plumbing Council present this publication on health aspects of plumbing noting that sustainable health, especially for children, is not possible without access to safe drinking-water and basic sanitation facilities. This publication describes the processes involved in the design, installation and maintenance of effective plumbing systems. It recommends a number of plumbing system design and installation specifications that have demonstrated their validity from years of experience. It also examines the microbiological, chemical, physical and financial risks associated with plumbing, outlines the major risk management approaches that are used in the plumbing industry and emphasizes the importance of measures to conserve supplies of safe drinking-water. ...Any water piping installation where there is a possibility that a harmful substance may gain access to a drinking-water supply must have a backflow protection device installed. ...Dangers associated with hose connections are more insidious because precautions against contamination depend on the user rather than the installer and consequently are much more difficult to control." Published jointly by the World Health Organization and the World Plumbing Council, 2006
10 million germs wait at the office "You're eyeing those sweaters in the closet with impatience, itching to put them away and plunge into major spring cleaning. Packing, storing, dusting, swabbing. Washing, wiping, sudsing, soaking. It'll feel so good. And then you'll go off to work -- where germs rule. The maintenance staff at the office may vacuum the floor and clean the restrooms. But your desk? It's a petri dish, baby. A cubicle of microscopic crud. Your telephone? A bacteria bacchanal. Computer keyboard? Just plain nasty. According to a recent study conducted by the University of Arizona, all that time you spend at the office is a veritable communion with grime. ``We spend more and more time at our desks, but we haven't learned to bring the hygiene habits we have at home to the office,'' said Charles Gerba, the microbiologist who led the research, sponsored by Clorox. On average, he said, office workers' hands come in contact with 10 million bacteria a day, germs that can give you the flu, a cold or intestinal disease. ...If you're an accountant, a teacher or a banker, brace yourself. You are a member of the germiest professions. In the study, teachers' desks ranked highest in germ infestation, with 17,800 bacteria per square inch. As comparison, Gerba says, food-service establishments with a rating over 700 are usually considered dangerously unclean. Accountants' desks and telephones averaged 6,030 bacteria per square inch, and bankers', 5,400. ...Philip Tierno, director of clinical microbiology at Tisch Hospital in New York and author of the book The Secret Life of Germs, says the numbers in the Arizona study come as no surprise. ``We're a society bathed in bacteria, and that certainly goes for the office,'' he said, adding that some of the scariest things at work are those everybody touches, such as the fax machine, the copier, and the elevator buttons. "The button for the first floor is the worst,'' Tierno said. "Think about it. At the end of the day, everybody touches it. Don't reach for it anymore. Let someone else.'' Akron Beacon Journal, March 27, 2006
Cross-Connection Control at Army Installations "The purpose of this Public Works Technical Bulletin (PWTB) is to provide an overview of cross-connection control and backflow prevention at Army installations with particular emphasis on regulatory aspects, technical guidelines and major elements of cross-connection control program. ...Under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), a water supplier is responsible for preventing polluted or contaminated water, gas, or other substances from entering a public drinking water system. US Army regulations mandate that potable water at all Army installations meets the SDWA and State and local regulations. In addition, Army regulations require particular methods and procedures be followed in the design, operation, and maintenance of potable water systems, and mandate compliance with specific technical guidelines. The development of an organized program that identifies, controls, and/or eliminates the interconnections (cross-connections) between drinking water systems (potable) and other water systems of questionable quality (nonpotable) is also required. To comply with these requirements, a Cross-Connection Control Program must be developed, implemented, and maintained." DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 
Write on ... and on and on "Persecuted. Paranoid. Hero. Crackpot. Watchdog. Whiner. Depending on the beholder, any of those words could be used to describe Ben Frick, a 69-year-old Salina native who makes it his business to keep an eye on local government. Armed with a camera and a keen eye, Frick goes to and fro in Salina, looking for anything that appears to be amiss. And if Frick does miss something, he claims to have a huge network of like-minded people who are eager to point out to him any perceived governmental errors or abuses of taxpayer money. You cant believe how many people stop me and say, Ben, do you got a second?  Frick said, because they cant speak up because of their job, because of retaliation. If you think Im the mastermind of all these things, youve got to be kidding. The things he was referring to were letters, hundreds of them, that he has sent to city hall over the years. Letters that question, probe, complain and, sometimes, taunt. ...Frick said being a governmental gadfly has cost him in several ways. In years past, especially, he claims to have been hassled by the city on several issues, most notably an inspection of the Phoenix, a motel at 100 N. Fifth that he and his wife, La Velle, bought in 1993. With all the inspections they put on the Phoenix complex, the first year and a half to two years was horrible, Frick said. They were checking every backflow device, every stool, everything, every room separately. Were the only motel in the state of Kansas that ever had every room inspected. Normally, they only inspect three rooms out of 100.", May 7, 2006
(From the NY Times Archives) TALKING: Water; Improving Quality in A Building "CONSULTING engineers are finding that a growing number of high-rise New York City cooperatives and condominiums are failing to conduct the annual water tower inspections mandated by the city's Health Code -- an oversight that can prove hazardous in the long run, they say. ...The introduction of these techniques coincides with the city's move to enforce more strictly a 10-year-old (in 1990) state regulation designed to prevent the backflow into the city's water mains of chemically treated water from buildings' heating and cooling systems. Though most of these systems have valves to prevent back flows, many are old and defective. Any building found to be a "high risk user" could end up having to spend $6,000 or more to install the required mechanical prevention system. Further, residents in some buildings are growing so troubled by the quality of the water that flows through their taps that they are deciding to install their own personal water cleansers or purifiers. ...Ideally ...the annual checkup should include draining, maintaining and cleaning the roof water tank, inspecting the water pipes and pumping systems and analyzing the water coming into the building. Increasingly, he added, it should also include making sure the chemically treated water in the mechanical systems is not leaking back into the city's water mains. Concern about the impact of these leaks is one reason the city is insisting that prevention systems be installed in certain buildings where the potential for such pollution exists, said Stanley Goldstein, chief of the city's two-year-old Cross Connection Control Unit." NY Times, 11/18/90
Wapato trash pickup will cost less (scroll down) "...The measures are part of a larger housecleaning the city has undertaken, Pearson said. Two years ago, broken and malfunctioning water meters were found throughout town. Crews since have been working to replace them. ...In conjunction with replacing water meters, the city plans to begin installing new backflow valves, which keeps contaminants from flowing back into the water system. Backflow valves, which look similar to a water meter, are required by state law in some commercial uses, Potter said. Underground sprinkler systems, for example, must be equipped with backflow valves. City officials won't know how many backflow valves will need to be installed or what the costs will be until an assessment is done, Potter said. Part of the project will be to educate the public on who does and doesn't need backflow valves, he said. "We're excited about it and we're getting a lot of cooperation from our citizens throughout town," he said.", May 3, 2006
Most Wanted: Answers to Facility Issues "We no longer consider a biological terrorist attack on U.S. soil a remote possibility, rather a reality. For our sake, we hope that is years away, because we have a lot to do to be prepared for minimizing the consequence of such an event. Medical examiners will once again play a key role in responding to the next attack, whether involving a threat biologic agent or otherwise. Accordingly, your capacity to respond against potentially biohazardous risks is critical in protecting your life and the lives around you. While preparing for biological terrorism involves addressing some complex issues, the focus of this article is only on biological containment in medical examiner facilities. ...Current published biological containment design guidelines relate primarily to research laboratories working with known pathological hazards within highly controlled environments. Researchers in academic, corporate, and government facilities across the county are safely working in well designed biological containment environments with known agents. But what about unknown dangers possibly present in medical examiner facilities? Every medical examiners office faces the challenge of discovering the unknown threat from mass causalities or a single entity. To do that in most of todays autopsy/morgue facilities is absurd. This should give you pause to consider how your facility can better prepare you to deal with unknown threats.  ...Piped utilities (power, plumbing, data, etc.) brought through the containment barrier to supply the containment area must be effectively sealed. Techniques employed to create this seal include welding to flanges imbedded in concrete walls to seal any gap, filling electrical conduits with epoxy, and individual back flow prevention in water piping. Sealing penetrations is very important in high level containment." Forensic Magazine, Nov. 2005
Straight Talk on Cross Connections (free reqistration required) "The idea that harmful substances could be slowly invading our nation's water supply sounds like something straight out of a low-budget horror movie. However, it is a possibility that all water systems, regardless of size, need to address. When "yellow gushy stuff" began pouring out of water faucets in a sleepy Pennsylvania community a few years ago there wasn't a movie director around to yell "cut" when people started getting ill. Without Superman or Wonder Woman to step onto the scene and "save the day," the water system of a 75-unit apartment complex was quickly infiltrated by the mysterious "yellow" substance. Was this a case of alien invaders or mutant creatures from the "black lagoon" seeking to destroy the planet? No, in fact it turned out to be a much spookier scenario. According to investigators, the yellow substance residents discovered "oozing" out of their faucets turned out not to be a mind-controlling ectoplasm, but rather a combination of pesticides that had been siphoned into the public water system through a hose that had been left in a local exterminator's tank truck. When a nearby waterline was cut, a siphon (or backflow) was created, which pulled the poisonous chemical cocktail into the water hose that was connected to the community's water distribution system.  Had the community clearly understood the dangers associated with cross connections, this tale might have had a happier ending. In this issue of the Safe Drinking Water Trust eBulletin we'll take a look at the need for Cross Connection Control policies and programs to protect your customers and keep your community from ending up featured in a bad movie script." The Safe Drinking Water Trust, Oct. 12, 2005
Water compliance runneth low "More than 300,000 people in Allen County depend on clean, safe water coming out of their taps every day for drinking, cooking and cleaning, but only a small minority of public water systems have complied with water testing requirements in the last five years to ensure water quality. ...Twenty-four systems had health violations, according to the EPA, meaning contaminants in the water posed an imminent health risk.  ...We require every system that has any violation  to notify their customers what violation they have and what they are planning to do to correct the violation, Lao said. ...The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics show 419 outbreaks of illness from contaminated drinking water between 1980 and 1998. But most of the estimated 511,000 people sickened in those outbreaks were from one case: the 1993 Cryptosporidium outbreak in Milwaukee. Experts say the risk of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people being sickened by one source is what makes testing so important. They also believe the number of people sickened is underestimated, because most healthy adults who contract a waterborne illness will have only mild symptoms and not report it.", May 1, 2006
Green pioneers  Noe Valley spec house touts conservation, including rain catchment system "Even before its buyers move in, a new Noe Valley home touted by its builders as "the greenest house in San Francisco" is bringing down some walls -- in San Francisco's Department of Building Inspection, that is. ...The 2,600-square-foot house on Clipper Street showcases every high-end Earth-friendly feature ...including the city's first approved rooftop rain catchment system. The system, by Mount Shasta's Wonderwater Inc., collects an average of 18,000 to 20,000 gallons of annual rainfall, cleans it and stores it in tanks below the house to be used to flush toilets, wash clothes and water gardens. ..."But it needs to be looked at by other departments in the city -- Health, Building, Planning all need to be heard from before we form a strict policy on this. I don't know where this is going to go in terms of policy, but it's high on my list for our next meeting of managers." City concerns, Farrow said, would include "natural fallout from the air -- from exhaust or chemicals -- that makes the water unsafe for drinking," plus cross-contamination with the drinking water supply or with the municipal water supply. Kerwin said he and his partners wiped sweat off their brows when recently retired chief plumbing inspector Dennis King applied those concerns to their application and said, "no" and "no" and finally "yes" last year." San Francisco Chronicle, April 22, 2006
Thermal Expansion Fact Sheet "The purpose of this page is to inform you about the potential for  thermal expansion in certain older buildings, in order to help you avoid possible damage to your plumbing system. In 1984 the City of Snoqualmie adopted a cross-connection ordinance and began an active program to control cross-connections in accordance with Washington State Health Department requirements. As part of the program, water meters are routinely installed with check valves, and certain high-risk premises are isolated by backflow prevention assemblies. Backflow prevention assemblies are intended to protect the public health by preventing the reversal of water flow from a private plumbing system back into the public water system. The water heater in your building goes through a recovery process each time hot water is used. Normally this process occurs several times daily; depending on how often hot water is demanded. When cold water is heated it expands. This is known as thermal expansion. A check valve, backflow assembly, or pressure reducing valve can make the plumbing system a closed system that prevents the heated/expanded water from being forced back into the public distribution system. Since the public system does not provide a cushion to absorb the pressure buildup within the private plumbing/ water heater, excessive pressure can occur in the private plumbing system. ...Some experts even warn that repeated uncontrolled thermal expansion could collapse the center flue in a gas-fired water heater, creating a hazardous presence of carbon monoxide gas or even a water heater explosion. Historically, water heaters have been equipped with a T&P relief valve even before the advent of cross-connection control measures. However, this valve is an emergency relief valve designed to prevent explosion of the tank and is not intended to compensate for thermal expansion during the normal heating and cooling cycles." City of Snoqualmie, April 28, 2006
BOROUGH COUNCIL TASK FORCE PROPOSES THERMAL EXPANSION TANK REBATE PROGRAM "A Task Force was assigned by Borough Council to investigate the issue of back flow prevention valves and the resulting thermal expansion such valves cause. This action was taken as a result of residents concerns that were brought to Councils attention. The Task Forces goal was that a more comprehensive solution be drafted as a result of issues that arose from the Water Meter Replacement Project. Specifically, that the back flow prevention valves, included in the Project at the request of the Middletown Borough Authority, and strongly recommended by PaDEP, were causing dangerous plumbing conditions for our residents. ...At this point, knowing that these valves have now been installed in some 1,850 homes, and because they fully support their installation, the Task Force believes the Borough should insure that they were installed safely and allow homeowners the opportunity to bring their plumbing back into full compliance with the newly adopted ICC Uniform Plumbing Code. ...WHEREAS, upon discovery of thermal expansion issues, the Borough has suspended installation of backflow prevention valves on the remaining 750 or more residential systems subject to the Replacement Project until thermal expansion issues in such systems are addressed " Middletown Borough, April 27, 2006
Truth is stranger than fiction "Elections are a vital part in the exercise of democracy. People have the power to choose their leaders and recall the ones who are not serving the best interest of the majority. In small-town America, elections can be tricky and sometimes humorous since everybody seems to know everybody. For that reason, it can be difficult to run for office as well. Florida had its infamous hanging chads. Logan County has its own share of election stories. A smaller population equals more personal relationships with constituents. ...In Merino in 2004, the mayor and council members were engaged in a discussion regarding the state's new requirements on cross-connection control and backflow prevention program. The special meeting's discussion went nowhere as politicians battled it out on the council floor. Some were confused and some were persistent in the discussion of the new requirements. Voices were raised and tempers flared, and according the Journal-Advocate's article of September 2004, the mayor excused himself, left for the restroom and relieved himself with the door wide open for everyone to hear. Two years later, the incumbent mayor was defeated on a 3-1 margin by Leslie Rhodes. He will be sworn in on the first Monday in May." Journal-Advocate, April 26, 2006
Farm accused of injecting waste into aquifer "Two state agencies have filed a lawsuit against a Cassia County farmer and feedlot manager, accusing them of injecting animal waste into the regions aquifer. The Idaho State Department of Agriculture and the Department of Environmental Quality filed the suit against Cory and Vicki King and their partner, Chris Drakos of Blackfoot. The three own and operate the 16,000-acre Double C Farms and feeding operation southeast of Burley, The Times-News reported. The agencies claim that workers with the Department of Environmental Quality found five water quality violations during an inspection on May 23, 2005. The five alleged violations include a breach in the berm of the feedlots waste lagoon  which allowed wastewater to run into an irrigation pond  and two backflow prevention valves that had been installed backward on irrigation wells. Inspectors also found that wastewater was being injected into the aquifer through an irrigation well." Capital Press, April 23, 2006
PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS California legislators pass a bill (surprise, unknown to the backflow officials there) that "...would require the department (State Dept. of Health Services) to adopt regulations by January 1, 2008, setting forth standards for the voluntary installation (emphasis added) of approved real-time, continued-monitoring, sensing devices on backflow protection valves that may be installed by public water systems in lieu of annual testing."
Town Comprehensive Plan approved "After a year of public forums and contentious debate, the Washington Town Council has voted to approve an updated Comprehensive Plan for the town. ...During the drafting process, the plan's outline for Washington's future wastewater system received the most attention, but the final Comprehensive Plan is more than that. ...The Washington Town Council approved a Cross Connection ordinance at their April meeting. The ordinance authorizes the administration and enforcement of a yearly Cross Connection Survey, mandated by Virginia's health department. A cross connection occurs when a network of pipes that conduct drinking water out from a municipal water system are linked by pipes or tanks or even runoff to sources of hazardous water. ...As part of the survey, ESS will inspect outside spigots, wells and cross connection danger areas belonging to town residents. According to Herd, danger areas would include any business or resident who deals with large volumes of contaminated liquids, such as private darkrooms, undertakers, and restaurants. For the survey, ESS will inspect these location's water systems, and make sure any places where they join with town water are protected...", April 19, 2006 

City cuts water to mobile home park "At least 80 mobile home residents didn't have water for almost three hours Friday afternoon. The city of Yuma public works department shut off the water to Fair Acres mobile home park, 1161 Avenue C, at about noon. The water was shut off because the park's landlord, Phil Seward, refused to comply with the city's rules for tests for water backflow devices, city officials said. In 1992, the Yuma City Council approved backflow prevention regulations requiring that all backflow devices be tested by a city-approved tester once a year. The cost of the test is about $50. ..."I fully agree I can't contaminate their water. If the city is going to require it, why doesn't the city check it?" Seward said. "Why are they using my checkbook to protect their water? I think it's an overexercise of authority." Seward refused to conduct the test because his property is not within the city limits and he says it's not subject to the city's rules. The city has no jurisdiction over his property, Seward said.. "They don't have the right to enforce city ordinances in the county," he said. "My whole objection is that I'm in the county." Although Seward is on county land, he is connected to city water. In order to receive city water, Seward signed a contract agreeing to adhere to all city regulations related to water distribution, city spokesman James Stover said.", April 15, 2006
Water safety devices required "Not many people realize it, but the machines that dispense carbonated drinks could have an unintended but serious effect on water quality. If carbonated water flows from the machine back into the plumbing system, it ends up sitting in the plumbing's copper pipes, said John Lins, a cross connection control administrator for Des Moines Water Works.That sitting carbonated water can produce carbonic acid, Lins explained. Dispensed into beverages, the carbonic acid can give a business several unhappy customers. ...Des Moines Water Works wants to work with Windsor Heights business owners to prevent water from backing up into their plumbing systems. Water Works officials are raising awareness of "backflow preventers," devices that prevent water from backing up into the plumbing and possibly contaminating the water supply. The Water Works has prepared a required survey for residents on water usage. The survey is a first step toward getting backflow prevention devices installed in city businesses. Iowa law requires businesses to have backflow preventers." Des Moines Register, April 10, 2006 
Water Pollution is Key Environmental Worry in U.S. "Many adults in the United States believe the protection of the water supply is the top environmental concern, according to a poll by Gallup. More than 50 per cent of respondents say they worry a great deal about the pollution of drinking water, the contamination of soil and water by toxic waste, and the pollution of rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. The maintenance of the nations supply of fresh water for household needs is next on the list of concerns with 49 per cent..." angusreid, April 9, 2006
Tanks a must on new homes "TOOWOOMBA City Council has made it compulsory for water tanks to be installed on all new homes. Existing home owners can get a $500 rebate on a recently purchased rainwater tank of 5000 litres (1100) or more and if it's connected to an internal toilet. ....When rainwater is connected to the same household plumbing that is also used for town water, an approved backflow prevention device must be installed to prevent accidental flow of untreated rainwater into the town water reticulation system." Toowoomba Chronicle, April 7, 2006
Cross Connections can create Health Hazards "...Most water systems in the United States and Canada have good sources of water and/or sophisticated treatment plants to convert impure water to meet drinking water standards. Millions of dollars are spent to make the water potable before it enters the distribution system so most water purveyors think that their supplies are not in jeopardy from this point on. Studies have proven this to be wrong. Drinking water systems may become polluted or contaminated in the distribution system through uncontrolled cross connections. Cross connections are installed each day in the United States because people are unaware of the problems they can create. Death, illness, contaminated food products, industrial and chemical products rendered useless are some of the consequences of such connections. As a result, many hours and dollars are lost due to cross connections." Brochure by the AWWA Pacific Northwest Section

Huntsville Utilities gets jump on state water rule "Backflow devices already in place, won't cost extra...  Huntsville water customers won't be doused with a rate increase because of a new state-required device on household water meters to prevent accidental contamination of the water supply. That's because Huntsville Utilities has already been updating its water meters with now-required backflow prevention devices - long before the new regulation. "This is a program we've been doing for a number of years," said Bill Yell, a spokesman for Huntsville Utilities. "We did it because we felt it was good water service practice. Now, the regulations are saying you have to do it." Yell said the utilities will not raise water rates to comply with the new rule. ...ADEM in January tightened its regulations for backflow metering of individual water meters. The devices are designed to prevent individual water lines from accidentally contaminating the water supply. Hand said many smaller systems are closer to compliance. Larger public water systems have been slower, probably because of the volume and cost, he said. He said Monday the department is meeting with many of the larger systems to discuss implementation plans. ...Yell said a policy aimed at commercial customers and new installations is being more aggressively enforced for existing residential customers. Huntsville Utilities has replaced thousands of meters during service calls with the $25 backflow prevention part, he said." (No mention of thermal expansion tanks or relief valves being required!!) The Huntsville Times, April 4, 2006    Also see.... What is Thermal Expansion? "When water is heated it expands. ...Since water is not compressible, the extra volume created by expansion must go someplace. During no-flow periods in a system, pressure reducing valves, backflow preventers, and other one-way valves are closed, thus eliminating a path for expanded water to flow back to the system supply. ...Thermal expansion of water in a closed plumbing system can create a number of annoying and potentially dangerous problems."   Also, to review the problems another city had, see.....

Council halts water valve installation "The Middletown Borough Council agreed last night to give discounts on retroactive water bills but decided to stop installing backflow prevention valves in borough residences until safety concerns are resolved. The council was expected to vote last night on a $50 rebate for residents who need to upgrade their water heating systems to counteract possible water pressure problems caused by the valves. After remarks by Councilman Christopher McNamara and some residents, the council voted unanimously to stop the valve installation and form a task force to determine how to deal with the situation. The retroactive bills and water-pressure concerns were precipitated by the borough's $1.1 million project to install digital water meters and backflow prevention valves in homes and businesses. ...McNamara said backflow prevention valves can cause an increase in water pressure when the hot-water tank is heating. He said the borough might have violated construction codes by installing the valves without installing thermal expansion tanks to counteract the increase in pressure.  Some residents told the council that their hot water tanks ruptured or that pipes began leaking after the valves were installed.  ..."You're installing a bomb in my house," said Ned Eppinger, who has not allowed the meter and valve to be installed. was estimated that only 2 percent of homes would need thermal expansion tanks, and residents were advised to watch for signs such as a dripping relief valve on the hot-water tank, creaking noises in plumbing or water surges.  "Nobody did their homework," Bowman said. "Thermal expansion is everywhere there is hot water. It's not 2 percent; it's 100 percent." The Patriot-News, May 3, 2005

C.P might inspect lawn-watering systems CROWN POINT: Ordinance would impose fees, fines to prevent water pollution "The city is taking an extra step to protect residents' drinking water. The City Council is scheduled to have a public hearing Monday on an ordinance regulating the installation of in-ground lawn irrigation systems. The idea is to make sure companies or people who install the systems take proper precautions to prevent backflow, or the contamination of the public water supply. Lawn irrigation systems, which are becoming more prevalent in the city, can cause contamination by spreading the chemicals people spray on their lawns or any other runoff or spills... The City Council passed an ordinance last year requiring installers of irrigation systems to provide backflow tests in compliance with city and state standards prior to starting up new or modified systems. Property owners also have to provide tests to show compliance before starting up existing systems. Despite the threat of fines for violations, Carden said he wasn't getting test results until he told people he would have to turn off their water. The new ordinance would require people who install or maintain a system to apply for a $50 lawn-irrigation installation license and a $100 permit for each location from the city clerk-treasurer. The city also will require an inspection of the system by the Water Utility Department. Penalties will range from $250 to $2,500. " Northwest Indiana News, April 2, 2006

City at first rejected 2 for inspector jobs "When the young sons of two high-ranking union officials turned up on the city payroll as building inspectors in 2004, an embarrassed Mayor Richard Daley said the city had been duped. But court records show the city initially rejected the pair as unqualified, only to approve them after they were allowed to submit new job applications. The revised and embellished applications made the two men appear qualified for their $50,000-a-year jobs. Federal authorities investigating City Hall corruption are now looking into the hiring of building inspectors in summer 2004. ...The Daley administration has repeatedly denied that politics played a role in the hirings. On Thursday, Daley spokeswoman Jacquelyn Heard said she could not explain why the discrepancies between the applications failed to raise a red flag.  ...One charge in the new indictment stemmed from the process of hiring building inspectors in 2004. The indictment alleged that mayoral aides Robert Sorich and Timothy McCarthy were involved in a scheme to deny a building inspector's job to a non-favored applicant..." Chicago Tribune, March 10, 2006 
Mass. Police Investigate Possible Contamination "Police arrested three teenagers in connection with a break-in at a water facility as more than 9,000 area residents waited Wednesday for testing to determine whether their drinking water had been contaminated.  Someone cut the barbed wire around the facility late Monday, cut lines to an alarm, and then damaged an electrical panel and a vent at the top of a 1.3-million-gallon storage tank, authorities said.  A 5 gallon container with a strange odor was found on top of the storage tank, said Ed Coletta, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.", March 29, 2006
Homeowners may have to pay to protect drinking water "The common complaint by big industry and municipalities of unfunded government mandates now is falling to residents under a provision of the Clean Water Act and likely will cost some homeowners about $1,000. IDEM's Cross Connection Control Program is a provision of the federal Clean Water Act. The state program is intended to protect drinking water from accidental contamination when the system has other uses. The rule applies to businesses such as car washes, hospitals and waste water facilities -- but also to residential lawn sprinkler systems and hot tubs. When a water supplier loses water pressure, the community's water sources essentially serve as the water tower. When someone turns the handle on a faucet, it creates a vacuum and water is sucked from the pipes, sprinkler systems, pools, hot tubs and hot water heaters on people's properties. If the water is under 140 degrees, bacteria can be drawn into the public drinking-water supply. Compliance with the IDEM rule, which went into effect in December 2005, involves installing a backflow-prevention device that keeps potentially contaminated water from entering the drinking-water system, generally at a cost of about $1,000 per home. ..."People with pools, automatic sprinkler systems and things like that especially need to be aware of it," Nash said. The program was not implemented in response to any one incident, but fears of contaminated water last summer caused lengthy boil orders and business closures locally when Indiana American Water lost pressure due to a power failure at the Ogden Dunes plant.", March 29, 2006
Water prices going up even more by 2007 "Birmingham Water Works customers will bear the expense of a new state requirement that will cost the system $3 million a year, officials said Monday. The latest requirement from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management calls for installing backflow devices on water lines. The devices are designed to prevent individual water lines from accidentally contaminating the water supply. The devices are easily installed with new water lines, but the expense comes with retrofitting existing lines, said Sonny Jones, assistant general manager of engineering and maintenance. The rule went into effect in January, but the Water Works was granted an extension through July as it searches for a suitable device to retrofit existing meters. To pay for the equipment, the system's customers in Jefferson, Shelby, Blount, Walker and St. Clair counties will see their bills increase about 65 cents a month in addition to an anticipated 7.75 percent increase in January 2007. ...The Water Works serves about 200,000 residential and commercial accounts...  ...Nobody in the state had any idea they were going to come out with this," Jones said. "This is an unfunded mandate that is being pushed down by ADEM to all the water utilities in the state." The Water Works replaces 12,000 to 15,000 meters a year and the new devices must be added whenever a meter is replaced, according to the new regulations. Jones said an additional expense is created if the meter's ground box must also be replaced to make room for the new equipment. The Water Works will have to hire an additional 14 employees to install meters and maintain records of what meters have been retrofitted, Jones said. Meters are replaced every 15 years, while the devices are replaced every seven years." The Birmingham News, March 28, 2006

STATE OF CONNECTICUT Cross Connection Control Manual "This manual is provided as a guidance to the water purveyor. The water purveyor may have requirements which exceed the regulations as stated in this manual. ...The Cross Connection Control Manual has been prepared by the Department of Public Health (DPH) Drinking  Water Division (DWD) with the assistance of the Cross Connection Control Committee of Connecticut Section of the American Water Works Association to help inspection officials who are responsible for the safety of the water supply within the distribution system. The manual will aid in defining the legal requirements of surveillance, delineate the procedures, identify the problem areas and possible points of contamination, provide types of equipment available for use to aid in protecting a water supply distribution system and list sources of other information available for more detailed study in this area." Department of Public Health Drinking Water Division

 Reclaimed Water Cross Connection Incidents  "Here is the list of recycled water incidents that were both discovered and reported to California State Health. While the Safe Water Reuse Foundation appreciates the work that has gone into the compilation of this list, we believe the nature of cross-connections leads to this list being incomplete. 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...."
 The Shutdown Test: Impediment or Insurance  "Just what is a cross-connection control recycled water shutdown test? Is it that dreaded impediment to the use of recycled water that some sectors claim or is it a necessary part of the overall successful promotion and use of recycled water?"




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