Automatic sprinkler systems make watering lawns and gardens easier and save time. But irrigation water that may be contaminated by weed killers, pesticides, or fertilizers can be siphoned back into your drinking water. Irrigation systems not protected by special backflow prevention valves could endanger the health of a household, neighborhood, or possibly the community at large. If a cross connection between plumbing containing a harmful substance and a drinking water pipe is not protected, the harmful substance may flow back into the water main and be accidentally consumed by the water customers.
Controlling Cross Connections
A cross connection is a point in a plumbing system where the drinking (potable) water supply is connected directly or can be connected directly to a non-potable source. The Oregon Public Health Division, a unit of state government, has the primary responsibility of regulating public drinking water systems and enforcing the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. The State of Oregon's Human Services Department Drinking Water Program requires the City of Beaverton to operate our drinking water system free of actual or potential sanitary hazards, including cross connections. Further, the Drinking Water Program requires the City of Beaverton to carry out a local cross connection prevention program.
Examples of Cross Connections
Examples of cross connections, which could allow harmful substances to be carried into the public water supply, are:
Chemicals from lawn fertilizing sprayers
Fire systems which use black iron pipe or other non-potable piping
Heating systems using boilers
Private wells with connection to the public water system