Help Protect Our Water System - Learn about Cross Connections

The Yarmouth Water Department maintains a cross connection program to protect our customers. A cross connection is any actual or potential connection between the drinking water lines and potential sources of pollution or contamination, such as a piping arrangement or equipment that allows the drinking water to come in contact with non-­potable liquids, solids or gases hazardous to humans in the event of a backflow event.

Backflow is the undesired reverse of the water flow in the drinking water distribution lines. This backwards flow of the water can occur when the pressure created by equipment, such as a boiler or air-conditioning system, is higher than the water pressure inside the water distribution line (back pressure).  It can also occur when the pressure in the distribution line drops due to routine occurrences such as water main breaks or heavy water demand, causing the water to flow backward inside the water distribution system (back-siphonage).

Backflow is a problem that many water consumers are unaware of. It's a problem that each and every water customer has a responsibility to help prevent.

What Can I Do to Help Prevent Cross Connections?

Without the proper protection something as simple as garden hose has the potential to contaminate or pollute the drinking water lines in your house. In fact over half of the country's cross-connection incidents involve unprotected garden hoses. There are very simple steps that you as a drinking water user can take to prevent such hazards, they are:
  • Never submerge a hose in soapy water buckets, pet watering containers, pools, tubs, sinks, drains or chemicals.
  • Never attached a hose to a garden sprayer without the proper backflow preventer.
  • Buy and install a hose bibb vacuum breaker on any threaded water fixture. Installation of the hose bibb vacuum breaker is as easy as attaching a garden hose to a spigot. These devices cost approximately $6.00 and are available at most hardware stores and home-improvement centers.
  • Buy appliances and equipment with a backflow preventer.
  • Buy and install backflow prevention devices or assemblies for all high and moderate hazards connections such as connections to fire protection systems, boilers or process water lines, hot tubs, swimming pools, docks and marinas. Check with the Water Department for the specific type of device required for your system.
Vacuum Breaker Graphic

Installing a Vacuum Breaker is Easy and Inexpensive!

Picture of an actual Vacuum Breaker on a hose bibb.

What is a Hose Bibb Vacuum Breaker?

Hose Bibb Vacuum Breakers are a small inexpensive devices with hose connections which are simply attached to sill cocks and threaded faucets or wherever there is a possibility of a hose being attached which could be introduced to a contaminant.

However, the Hose Bibb breaker should not be used under continuous pressure.

Does my Lawn Irrigation System Require a Backlow Prevention Device?

Yes.  Section 608.16.5, of the International Plumbing Code and Section P2902.5.3 of the International Residential Code (connections to lawn irrigation systems), states that the potable water supply to lawn irrigation systems shall be protected against backflow by a pressure-type vacuum breaker, a double-check valve assembly or a reduced pressure principle backflow preventer – depending on the degree of the site hazard.