State health regulations require water systems to have a program for identifying and eliminating “cross connections” to the drinking water system.
A cross connection is any actual or potential link between the water system and any other liquid or gas. While most of us think of our water as always being under pressure and therefore flowing in only one direction, a drop in pressure caused by a water line break, a repair project, or fire hydrant use can cause a reversal of flow, or “backflow”, that could pull, or “siphon”, unwanted material into water system piping.
Here is an example of a simple cross connection “incident”: A resident or business owner is filling a hot tub with a garden hose. The individual has the end of the running garden hose immersed in the tub. At the same time there is a break in a nearby City water line. Normally, pressure in the line would keep water flowing out the end of the hose. However, the major portion of the pressure is now flowing out of the break causing suction through the garden hose. Contents of the hot tub are drawn into the water system piping. When the break is repaired, and pressure restored, the fluid from the hot tub is transmitted to other water system users. To understand how serious this situation could be, imagine that the hose had been in an automobile radiator or an herbicide sprayer container.
To assist in establishing a cross connection control program the city will be conducting surveys / inspections within the water district. If potential backflow conditions are found on a property, Oregon Administrative Rules mandate that a state approved backflow prevention device must be installed to protect against a cross connection. The purpose of this legislation is to protect water consumers. It also provides additional benefits for participants, preventing situations where water service is terminated due to non-compliance with the program, and/or legal action being brought against a property owner for polluting the water system.
The program is not an attempt on the part of the City to control private property water use. It is mandated by State law and designed to protect citizens from contaminated water. The City’s water system and affected property owners are “in the same boat”. In order to comply with State law, we must participate together. The consequences of not participating can be devastating with regard to public health and legal / financial responsibility.
Questions? Please call the Water Plant at 541-839-6377.