Health Alert – Plumbing and the Risk of Water Contamination

Image source: Fox 13

A home is usually comprised of two types of plumbing systems, one for the household’s drinking-water supply and the other for waste disposal. A well designed, rightfully installed and properly constructed plumbing system will be able to minimize the risk of water contamination that may result from cross-connections of these two systems of pipes.

While the risk of contamination may be greater in public, commercial or industrial spaces, the health risks of faulty plumbing in single-family domestic buildings should never be ignored, as both the occupants and the neighbors may suffer from the ill effects such condition may bring.

There are precautionary measures that may be helpful in avoiding water contamination:

  • Install a cross-connection device particularly if the household is using a heating boiler.
  • Periodic inspection and regular maintenance of cross-connection devices and/or pipes
  • Avoidance or elimination of cross-connections whenever possible
  • Installation of devices to protect against backflow, which may result from backpressure or backsiphonage, which happens when the water supply suddenly drops due to a negative, reduced or interrupted pressure in the supply piping

Examples of backflow devices:

  • Air gap (used mainly on tanks and faucets)
  • Atmospheric vacuum breaker (features an air inlet valve that draws in air to prevent possible water contamination from a residence to the city’s water mains)
  • Pressure vacuum breaker (used mainly on lawn irrigation systems)
  • Double check assembly (used on low hazard buildings
  • Reduced pressure principle assemblies (used on high hazard buildings)

Customers will have less to worry if they use a journeyman plumber, who has certification in cross connection control, and thus, can help provide the necessary backflow protection against any vulnerable cross connections on a property. Water contamination is a serious problem that my affect the whole community if a simple incident escalates into something worse due to negligence.

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