Are you drinking your neighbor's meth lab? | Documentary Idea

by Jack Flynn
(Campbell, CA, USA)

This one shows an automatic soap dispensor installed incorrectly, this dispenses soap directly into domestic water supply

This one shows an automatic soap dispensor installed incorrectly, this dispenses soap directly into domestic water supply

If a filmmaker is looking for a good documentary idea, here's one. Backflow Prevention Assemblies are designed to allow water flow one direction and not back into the main domestic water service. The field is known as Cross Connection Control.

Commercial buildings in most states are regulated to maintain backflow prevention assemblies to make sure whatever the commercial building is doing with their water service doesn't get back into the domestic water supply. But the big abusers are homeowners. A hose in a bucket of soapy water can easily siphon that soapy water back into the hose water supply and then onto all those homes in that neighborhood. Or, maybe your neighbor is using a hose attachment to spray poison or fertilizer onto their grass, the poison can easily be sucked into the domestic water supply poisoning their neighbors and own household.

Most people attribute "food" sickness to something they ate, but almost no one thinks about the water that they consume or wash themselves in. And if someone did think that maybe something was wrong with the water, well that's hard to find because the solution to pollution is dilution, which happens incredibly fast in the main domestic water service.

The EPA has given the power of regulation to State Health Departments to protect the domestic water supply, yet what are these health departments doing to educate the public about the realities of self poisoning by simply washing their car. There is a huge disconnect between perceived hazards and actual hazards. A commercial space that only has bathrooms has no need of a backflow prevention assembly, but a neighbor that drops their hose into their pool to fill it up is taking the health of all their neighbors into their hands.

Or, if someone has a well on their property and uses it to supplement their water service, this well is untreated water that can contaminate the main domestic water service poisoning thousands of people.

The hazard is known and is talked about at meetings with the American Water Works Association, but what are these people doing to make sure the public knows about cross connections or backflow prevention assemblies. I don't want to drink my neighbor’s bath water, and if my neighbor wants to leave a hose in a bucket of poison I don't think my children should have to die for their stupidity.

Also, a very very common issue can be found in fast food restaurants. Or any place that has a soda machine. Soda is created by addition flavoring to carbonated water. Carbonated water when interacting with copper piping can leach the copper and create carbonic acid. This can lead to copper poisoning and the same symptoms as food poisoning or in some cases hospitalization or death. But if you get sick from eating at that fast food joint would you ever think that it wasn't the food but the soda that made you sick? And did you know they are in direct violation of many health codes? How are they allowed to get away with poisoning their patrons? Well most building inspectors or permit inspectors don't know the codes that regulate carbonators or the extreme hazard that exists.

The domestic water supply is kept to extremely high standards by the Clean Water Act, yet without backflow prevention assemblies how can any municipality guarantee the water service is clean if your neighbor can use their hose to try and clean out their sewer blockage? That same hose can suck the sewer blockage into the domestic water supply.

Also, many health departments put the burden of protecting the domestic water service on the water company that sells the water. The water companies only want to protect their water, so they require businesses to install backflow prevention assemblies only on their domestic water meters or the main connection between the seller and the consumer. But who is in charge of the inside of the building. Someone can have a backflow prevention assembly installed correctly then have a plumber remove it and all the sudden the building is now poisoning everyone that uses their water service.

All interior of buildings should be surveyed to make sure no one is being poisoned by boilers, chillers, recycled water, reclaimed water, carbonators, DI water services, etc.

I could keep going with potential hazards that are unaddressed and could be causing far more sicknesses and deaths but no one thinks to look to their water.

Please feel free to contact me.

Comments for Are you drinking your neighbor's meth lab? | Documentary Idea

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Dec 26, 2013
Contaminate well NEW
by: Anonymous

My daughters family became very ill when the meth lab next door dumped tons of chemical into the septic tank. Somehow these chemicals leeched into her water supply. I can't tell you what they have been through. They have the same symptoms as a meth user would. Now we have to see if it can ever be cleaned up.

Jun 19, 2012
Response to comment NEW
by: Jack

This is my profession. I am a cross connection control specialists and this is also my passion, informing people of the potential hazards that everyone is exposed to.

There are many sites that have documented incidents of backflow cases and incidents of sickness, water boil notifications, and contamination of water sources not to mention wasting thousands of gallons of water.

here are some sites

A simple search of "backflow incident" will come up with many more useful websites.

Unfortunately because most instances of backflow occur in the home and people do not know about the hazards they are introducing to their own drinking water many cases of poisoning go unnoticed or are not rightly attributed to a backflow incident.

Jun 13, 2012
specific documented cases?
by: Desktop Documentaries

Thanks Jack for your documentary idea. This is a fascinating issue. Just curious if you have any documented cases where people have actually gotten sick (or died) from a backflow issue. Those specific stories are critical if a documentary is to be made. Also, are you an inspector? What got you interested in this subject?

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