Cross Connections

Radford residents expect their drinking water to be aesthetically pleasant and safe to drink. Though the City goes to great lengths to ensure that the water delivered to its residents is of the highest quality, there is a possibility the water may be contaminated or polluted from sources out of its control.

This might occur when the water supply is connected to equipment containing a substance unsuitable for drinking. These “cross connections” may be permanent or temporary and could cause delivery of an unstable product which may be harmful.

Federal law requires the City of Radford to protect the water supply from potential contamination or pollution. In order to prevent contamination of supply lines from these cross connections, the City implemented a Cross Connection Program, which offers protection from contamination by cross connection by use of backflow prevention assemblies.

Backflow is the undesirable reversal of water, or mixtures of water and undesirable substances, from any sources (such as used water, industrial fluids, gasses, etc.) into the distribution pipes of the water system.

Water Distribution Systems
Water distribution systems are designed to flow in 1 direction from the main to the customer. With the direction of flow reversed, due to a change in pressures (such as fire-fighting efforts or breaks in the water main) backflow can allow contaminants to enter our drinking water system through cross connection.

When this happens, any substance that may be in contact with the water line may be introduced into the system. Backflow can also occur when the unprotected water supply line is attached to a container or pipe which contains substances under pressure, such as a boiler or a water recirculation system. These conditions can cause these substances to be pumped back into the water system through a cross connection.

Potential Problems
Among typical potentially hazard cross connections, which occur in residential areas is the use of a garden hose sprayer to apply insecticides or herbicides to lawns. Placing a hose in a bucket of soapy solution while washing a car is also a potential cross connection. Another cross connection may occur when someone uses a garden hose to clear stoppage in their sewer line.

Other potential problems may arise from swimming pools, indoor sprinkler systems, radiator heat or boiler heating units. Adequate inspections and operational tests made at least annually of backflow prevention devices are required.

Prevent Backflow
Preventing the backflow of contaminants in the water system is absolutely essential if health and property are to be protected. A single backflow incident can potentially affect hundreds, or even thousands, of people. With co- operation from building contractors and plumbers, the City’s Building Official and Code Enforcement Officer, and the Public Works Department, the City of Radford has incorporated and administered an outstanding and reputable Program to ensure a dependable and safe supply of water is available to its customers.

If you would like an evaluation of your residence or business, please contact our Cross Connections Inspector Chris Campbell or Water Wastewater Superintendent Lawrence C. Rice, by calling 540-731-3662 or by sending a written request to him at:
20 Forest Avenue
Radford, VA 24141