Cross Connections Occurences

  • 1. A Pierce county utility customer called stating the customer was taking a shower in their upstairs bathroom and lost all water. When the utility responded they found that the Fire Department was on the scene at the neighbor's home, fighting a home fire. The fire department was using the hydrant, and they failed to pay attention to their pressure gauges. They pumped the water so fast they dropped the system pressure down below the legal 20 psi, and the neighboring house had all of its water sucked out!

  • 2. A Pierce county utility, that does not chlorinate their water, was surprised when a customer called to complain about chlorine in their water. An inspection test of the water at the home, confirmed the presence of chlorine in the residential water. It was discovered that a neighbor had been filling their pool with water and the pool had been heavily chlorinated. They had left the fill hose in the pool and still attached to the hose bib. A drop in water pressure had occurred in the neighborhood and back-siphonage to the local water main had taken place.

  • 3. The management of Seven-Eleven complained of a bad taste in the soda and coffee. Pierce County water utility responded immediately. The carbonate was malfunctioning causing CO2 to enter the water lines. Cross Connection Specialist shut off the water and the store manager called Southland Corporation maintenance. It is unknown how this backflow occurred. The manager of the store said the canister of CO2 was a new. Upon inspection there was a CO2 leak, as the canister of CO2 was almost empty causing a siphonage event. Southland Corporation has since installed backflow devices in all their stores.

  • 4. Pierce County utility received a call from the management of convenience store regarding a metallic taste in the soda machine. The RPBA had just been installed on the soda machine by a plumber. All water lines and the soda machine were flushed until the taste was gone. After discussing the problem with the plumber, it was determined that a backflow incident had occurred when the RPBA was installed on the water line. The soda machine had been left on causing a backflow of CO2 mixed with water to enter the soda machine, the water travelled from a copper line making this a high hazard. Fortunately, no one ingested any of this soda. The utility is now aware that these soda machines and carbonator's must be shut down while being worked on.

  • 5. A Pierce County Utility received a call from a dental clinic stating that they were experiencing air in the water at the dental chairs.  The dental clinic was required to have the premise isolation RPBA tested immediately while the utility CCS team inspected the dental clinic.  The complexity of the dental clinics vacuum pump and air pump systems required the dental clinics contractor which maintains that system to come in immediately to trouble shoot those systems.  The premise isolation RPBA passed its test.  It was identified by the contractor which maintains the vacuum and air systems that an electric control valve failed which pushed air into the water systems at the dental chairs.  Additional in-premise protection was advised to be installed.  The backflow incident was contained within the dental clinic only.

  • 6. A Pierce County Utility received a call from a customer stating that the water tasted bad, but it was only bad from the kitchen faucet. The utility CCS inspected the property and identified that the customer had a garden hose connected to the hose bib located below the kitchen window. The hose bib was in the on position. At the end of the hose the customer had a timer to water their garden at night. During the daytime the sun was heating the garden hose which caused thermal expansion of the water within the hose. Once the customer was instructed by the utility CCS what they suspected was the cause of the bad tasting water, corrections were made by the customer. A follow-up call to the customer was made to verify if the removal of the hose from the hose bib took care of the bad tasting water. The customer confirmed that it did. The suspected backflow incident appeared to be contained to the customer's kitchen area of the house only.

  • 7. A Pierce County Utility received a call from a customer stating that they were going to repair a leak at their house. They asked for assistance from our utility serviceman because they turned the water off at the Premise Isolation RPBA after the meter, but it seemed like the valve was leaking by because they couldn’t bleed the pressure off. Upon arrival our utility serviceman verified that the meter and RPBA were turned off. The customer then remembered that they use utility water to prime the irrigation pump, which pumps water out of the lake to irrigate their lawn. By the time the customer realized what they had done; Lake Water had been pumped throughout the customer’s house plumbing. The customer turned off the hose which was connected from the house hose bib to a hose bib on the irrigation pump head. Disinfection and flushing of the customer’s home plumbing and a new test of the customers RPBA were required. If this property had not been identified in the past as having an Auxiliary Water Supply the public water system would have been at risk. This is a great example as to why all properties should be inspected. If there wasn’t a cross connection identified last year at a property it doesn’t mean something has not changed on the property since then.