Customer Service Office
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Mon. - Fri.)
Absolutely "NO RETURNS"
None of us want dirty or contaminated water returned into
Portsmouth's water system. To help prevent contamination Public Utilities conducts a very
active "cross-connection" program approved by the State Health Department.
"cross-connection" is improperly designed or installed plumbing that can allow
contaminated water to flow backwards, from a home or business, into the public water
supply. This condition is called "backflow". Portsmouth's program seeks to
correct cross-connections throughout the City and eliminate the potential for backflow by
conducting inspections of the plumbing of new and existing businesses and industries.
A good example of a cross-connection is the typical home garden hose. We use them to
water lawns, fill pools, and even mix and spray chemicals. Normally, city water pressure
ensures that water only flows one way through the hose, but what would happen if there
were a sudden loss of pressure? The water would begin to run back towards the city water
mains. This type of backflow is called "back siphonage". Backflow can also occur
if you leave your hose tap open and the hose under pressure (charged). When the sun shines
on a charged hose the water in it warms and expands. This expansion can cause pressure in
the hose to be greater than the city pressure. This can result in the backflow of hose
water and garden chemicals from the hose end sprayer into your homes water system and even
the city water system.
Can Do At
Using a hose bib vacuum breaker can prevent backflow. These small and inexpensive
devices are one of the most effective measures you can take to protect our water supply.
They are easy to install and can be found in most local hardware stores for around $6
For additional information on Portsmouth's Cross Connection Control Program contact the
Water Quality Division at 539-2201.
A typical hose bib vacuum breaker (installation is very simple -
just screw it on!)
AT A GLANCE
Portsmouth's trained Water Quality Technicians conduct 2,000 inspections
of new and existing businesses and industries yearly to identify and correct potential
cross-connections. Over 15,000 devices have been installed by Portsmouth's businesses and
industries as part of a cooperative effort to prevent backflow.