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Cross Connection Control Programs and Backflow Preventers Are Essential Components Of
Safe Drinking Water Systems
Plumbing system cross connections, which have been defined as existing or potential connections between potable or safe to drink and non-potable water supplies, water using equipment, or drainage systems, continue to be a serious potential public health hazard in 2004 worldwide. Anywhere people congregate and utilize communal water supplies, water using equipment, and drainage systems, the danger of un-protected cross connections continue to threaten public health. Public perception has been that widespread waterborne disease outbreaks have been controlled, but localized incidents have not yet been eliminated. Last year's extensive US' power blackout related municipal water system pressure breakdowns, and subsequent "boil water" notifications for millions, however, have focused the intense spotlight of public attention on drinking water safety as never before. As one recent result, there is a widening recognition that properly installed, maintained, and tested backflow prevention devices are critical elements of safe drinking water systems in our communities and workplaces.
The most universal backflow hazards are constantly re-created, i.e., cross-connections within residential & public washrooms, and the ordinary, unprotected from backflow, hose connections. The bathroom may be the location of several of our most taken for granted modern plumbing fixtures, yet it continues to be a repository of one of the subtle yet potentially dramatic backflow hazards found recurrently in our homes and public places (Toiletology 101). Many local health departments have "blue water" flowing from the kitchen sink reports in their archives, which may well be only the tip of the iceberg of un-documented incidents of actual backflow from an un-approved or improperly installed fill-valve assembly....
However, recent cross connection inspection surveys (USC/FCCCHR) continue to reveal that the most prevalent, potentially hazardous, potable water plumbing cross connection is the common hose connection (or hose bibb) (UF/IFAS, 3/95) found in virtually every home and building with a water system. The following link to the ABPA - American Backflow Prevention Association's Buster Backflow comic book, for students of all ages, however, may thus best illustrate the starting point for any backflow prevention or cross connection control program. A comprehensive primary can be explored in the Backflow Introduction presented at the USC-Foundation for Cross-Connection Control and Hydraulic Research. Here in Michigan, local municipalities have been implementing cross connection control programs since about 1972, some even earlier. Most initially focused only on industrial, commercial, and institutional facilities, and the plumbing cross connection hazards found in such premises. More recently, locally enforced programs encompassing residential inspections, even single family homes, have brought the struggle for cross connection control and backflow prevention home to millions of residents where they live............
Usually working behind the scenes as far as the general public is concerned, several organizations have been very active in responding to, promoting, and widening the scope of public awareness and education about backflow prevention and the cross-connection control problem in drinking water systems. They deserve a large share of the credit (while not diminishing the contributions of the many active State & municipal programs) for where we are today, with safe drinking water mostly being taken for granted in the USA and other countries.....
American Backflow Prevention Association (and many local chapters)
ABPA's ALL NEW Discussion Forum, reformatted to easily find discourse on current issues and topics...
ABPA's Previous Backflow Prevention Discussion Forum, current issues and topics (going off-line June 21st)......
American Society of Sanitary Engineering
American Water Works Association (search for "backflow")
University of Florida Treeo Center
University of Southern California Foundation For Cross-Connection Control And Hydraulic Research
Backflow Prevention, and Cross Connection Control
a Collection Including
Pre-Historic Practices to Modern Public Health Laws,
Plumbing, Building, and Related Codes
NYC street excavation around the early 1900's, at a cross-connection investigation / archeological site??
Plagues & Epidemics....Perhaps the first backflow incident?..A must read summary of why backflow prevention & cross connection control programs and efforts are essential. Plumbing & Mechanical Magazine, July 1988 at theplumber.com
The History of Plumbing - Babylonia Plumbing & Mechanical Magazine, July 1989 at theplumber.com
Egypt P & M Magazine, July 1989 at theplumber.com
Crete P & M Magazine, July 1989 at theplumber.com
Greece P & M Magazine, July 1989 at theplumber.com
China (Reuters) Beijing July 26, 2000 - at theplumber.com
Jerusalem P & M Magazine, July 1989 at theplumber.com
Pompeii P & M Magazine, July 1989 at theplumber.com
Roman and English Legacy P & M Magazine, July 1989 at theplumber.com
A History of Plumbing Engineering, P & M Engineer, 06/09/2000
America.........Plumbing & Mechanical Magazine, July 1987 at theplumber.com
California....... The High Pressure Water System, Oct. 1925, Museum of the City of San Francisco
Brief History of Drinking Water, American Water Works Association
Historic Milestones in Drinking Water History, Alaska Div. of Environmental Health
Evolution of Plumbing, at plumbing-info.com
History In-The-Making, Recent Centuries Ongoing Facts, Figures,
Incidents, and Events in Backflow Prevention & Cross Connection Control:
One Hotel's unprotected Cross Connection with a sewer allowed Entomoeba histolytica to become the agent for a dramatic backflow incident at the Chicago World's Fair in 1933...1000 cases of severe illness and 58 deaths....FDA Foodborne Pathogenic Microorganisms and Natural Toxins 1992 (Bad Bug Book)
Two instances of ethylene glycol intoxication due to contamination of water systems' cross-connections, CDC's MMWR, 36(36);611-4
15 Responsibilities, a Cross-connection Control Supervisor's Checklist, by Les O'Brien, CET
25 Facts about Water, AWWA
49 students seriously ill with methemoglobinemia attributable to nitrite contamination of potable
water through boiler fluid additives. Defective backflow preventer source of the cross-connection, CDC's MMWR, 46(09);2202-204
50 Cross-Connection Questions, Answers, & Illustrations Relating to Backflow Prevention Products & Protection of Safe Drinking Water Supply, Watts (1.8m pdf download)
52 Backflow Preventers' Typical Installation Drawings, Zurn-Wilkins
64 Backflow "incidents" and recent articles, ABPA
81 Dangerous Cross-Connections, U of M Engineeering Bulletin, 1943
5000 Lawn sprinkler systems to be inspected each year, as Oakland County Michigan "Commission cracks down on sprinklers ",
Oakland Press 6/25/03
Backflow Prevention Program Customer Brochure, Sydney Australia Water (886k pdf file), Information here is usefull for everyone.
Outer Space NASA , May 2001 at theplumber.com
Report on Main Breaks.... Water distribution system safety issues discussed -- Museum of the City of San Francisco
Backflow Prevention & Cross-Connection Control Basics, Waterborne Diseases, and Chemical Contaminents
Industrial Backflow and Cross Connection Incidents, Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection
Municipal Backflow Prevention and Cross Connection Control Programs
Backflow Prevention Education / Training Programs and Resources
State, Provincial, or Regional Backflow Prevention & Cross Connection Control Regulations
National Backflow Prevention and Cross Connection Control Policies
Government Agencies' and Universities' related to Backflow Prevention & Water Quality Issues
Backflow Prevention and Cross-Connection Control Related Associations, Foundations and Networks
Backflow Prevention and Cross-Connection Control Articles & References
Backflow Prevention Device Testing, Certification, Survey Education Issues, and Resources
Cross-Connection Control and Backflow Prevention Glossaries & Definitions
Any comments or questions about this site,
or inquiries about available backflow prevention programs or cross connection inspection & training services
can be directed to the staff of the
Backflow Prevention Techzone or
Midwest Backflow Prevention
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