Presently there are 368 backflow prevention devices registered with the Town which are tested in accordance with DEP regulations. These devices protect against contaminated water going backwards into our potable water distribution system. In addition to keeping up with Commercial, Industrial and Municipal facilities, the next area of concern will be the survey, inspection and correction of residential cross connections due to improper lawn irrigation and home fire fighting systems installations.
Contamination from Cross-connections
Cross-connection that could contaminate drinking water distribution lines are a major concern. A cross-connection is formed at any point where a drinking water line connects to equipment (boilers), systems containing chemicals (air conditioning systems, fire sprinkler systems, irrigation systems) or water sources of questionable quality. Cross-connection contamination can occur when the pressure in the equipment or system is greater than the pressure inside the drinking water line (backpressure). Contamination can also occur when the pressure in the drinking water line drops due to fairly routine occurrences (main breaks, heavy water demand) causing contaminants to be sucked out from the equipment and into the drinking water line (backsiphonage).
Outside water taps and garden hoses tend to be the most common sources of cross connection contamination at home. The garden hose creates a hazard when submerged in a swimming pool or when attached to a chemical sprayer for weed killing. Garden hoses, when left lying on the round, may be contaminated by fertilizers, cesspools or garden chemicals. Improperly installed valves in your toilet could also be a source of cross-connection contamination.
Community water supplies are continuously jeopardized by cross-connections unless appropriate valves, known as backflow prevention devices, are installed and maintained. We have surveyed all industrial, commercial, and institutional facilities in the service area to make sure that all potential cross-connections are identified and eliminated or protected by a backflow preventer. We also inspect a test each backflow preventer twice per year to make sure that it is providing maximum protection.
For more information, visit the Web site of the American Backflow Prevention Association (www.abpa.org) for a discussion on current issues.