Beneath our feet, there are thousands of miles of pipes containing countless gallons of water. Some of this water is potable water, the kind we use to drink, cook, and wash. But some of it is sewage, a dangerous conglomeration of human waste, chemicals, and other toxic materials.
Plumbers and civil engineers design these pipes so that the potable water and sewage never meet. To ensure they remain separate, the New York Department of Environmental Protection has measures in place to avoid contamination, hence the importance of DEP cross connection letters.
What Is a Cross Connection?
A cross connection refers to any points where potable and non-potable water connect or have a possibility of connecting in a system. For instance, if a household water source like a faucet or a hose becomes submerged in a source of waste, such as used wash water or pesticides, there is a chance that the wastewater or chemicals could enter the washable water.
This type of cross connection is called backflow. The most common instances of backflow occur when there is an imbalance in pressure between one section of the piping and another, such as after a sprinkler system goes off.
What Is a DEP Cross Connection Letter?
To prevent backflow, the DEP requires plumbers and property owners to install backflow prevention devices when doing related plumbing work. Once the device is installed, plumbers must arrange for it to be inspected and obtain a cross connection approval letter, ensuring that the device is operational.
Why Are DEP Cross Connection Letters Important?
The importance of obtaining a DEP cross connection letter is directly related to the importance of preventing backflow. When backflow occurs, it can cause a myriad of problems, including but not limited to:
Overflow in one’s home or business
Corrosion in pipes
Contamination to natural waterways
Contamination is the biggest concern for communities. When waste, chemicals, and other contaminants enter waterways, it can lead to widespread waterborne illnesses, such as salmonella. It can also damage surrounding water ecosystems. Obtaining a cross connection letter prevents this kind of damage while ensuring your project remains safe.
If you want to ensure you have the necessary paperwork for your project, contacting local sewer and water main companies is the best option. And if you’re in the NYC area, Harris Main and Sewer is the company for you.