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  • Protect Your Drinking Water Quality

    Today’s Water Tip:
    Never submerge a water hose into any vessel of fluid. If you were to have a water or power outage in your area, or if there were a water leak in the distribution lines of your public drinking water supply, negative pressure could cause the water in the main lines as well as in your house to travel backwards. Any unprotected hose or inlet that is connected to the drinking water lines, that is also submerged in a pool, hot tub, bucket of water, or other liquid, could draw that substance directly back into your drinking water. Yuck!
    The incident I just described, is called a backflow incident.


    Where Did My Mop Water Go?

    Water Can Climb. Did you know that water can be siphoned 33.9 feet high. It can go straight up a hill or a multi-story building within a water pipe. When a negative pressure forms inside a water pipe of a distribution system, water can travel in the wrong direction. Atmospheric pressure can support a column of water nearly 40 feet high. So why is this important? It’s important because if a negative pressure forms in the pipe, and say your hose is outside submerged in a bucket of weed killer, cleaner, the swimming pool or hot tub that you are topping off, the liquid in that vessel can travel backwards into the public drinking water. Even if your neighbor is up the hill from you, that contaminated liquid could reach his water tap.

    An air gap should always be maintained when filling any container from a hose. The rule of thumb is to keep your hose a distance of at least 2 times the diameter of the hose or pipe which is filling your vessel. A hose bib vacuum breaker (HBVB) at the outside hose bib also helps to stop the backwards flow. (HBVB’s can be purchased at your local hardware store). These devices are only an extra protection to the air gap as they are not testable and can malfunction or wear out.

    Utility sinks with hoses attached can also cause problems during a negative pressure incident. I have seen many of these hoses submerged in mop water, chemicals etc., usually for cleaning purposes. What happens if you take a break and come back to an empty bucket of mop water? What happened? Where did the water go?
    It’s on it’s way out to the water tap…

    Be smart.

    For more information regarding drinking water:
    http://www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/dw/default.htm

    Picture Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/julien_harneis/589718393

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