Cross connections happen when there is a connection between the water system and an outside source. One of the dangers of cross-connections is that they can contaminate the water supply and cause gastrointestinal problems. Usually, systems are in place to prevent backflow and dirty water flowing back into the water supply.
What can cause backflow and cross connection
There are various conditions around the home where dangers of cross connections exist. The potential for backflow in a cross connection exists when a hose or pipe is connected to the water supply. Here are a few examples of cross-connections that a home inspector looks for:
- A hose is submerged in your swimming pool
- Your bathtub
- A pesticide sprayer is connected to a hose
- Laundry sink that has a hose with detergent in it that is submerged in the sink
Problems arise when the water main breaks and contaminated water is siphoned back into the water supply.
Fortunately, most modern plumbing appliances have built-in protection against backflow. For example, laundry washers, dishwashers, toilet fill valves are all fitted with built-in air gaps that prevent contaminated water getting back into the water supply.
How to avoid the danger of cross connections
If your home has cross connections or a home inspector has identified potential issues where the water supply could be contaminated, it’s important to fit backflow preventers. These contain a series of valves and hydraulic breaks that protect your plumbing from potential cross connections.
Why are cross connections dangerous?
It is clear that anything that allows household water or drinking water to be contaminated is dangerous. If residential or business premises create backflow and cross connections, the contaminated water could affect many people in the community.