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J. McCabe Plumbing Inc.
409 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just read this in my IAPMO news letter.

This plumbers an idiot !!!!

Utilities Point Fingers in Ridgetop Cross-Connection

Was the pipe labeled or not?

That is the question that has two utilities arguing and has left officials and Ridgetop residents wondering how sewage could be pumping into their drinking water supply for four months.

In a story last month, I-Connection reported on a statement released by the White House Utility District accusing Metro Water Services of cross-connecting a sewer line into a water main serving more than 1,000 residents.

In April, a home was switching over from a septic system to the town's sewer system. Metro hired a private plumbing contractor to tap the residents line into the public sewer. The plumber mistakenly tapped the residential sewer line into the water main.

Normally anyone tapping into a water main will immediately be aware of the mistake due to the pressure in the water line. But Ridgetop's water pipes have lower pressure than most cities, and the contractor was using a grinder pump, which exerted enough pressure to force the waste out of septic system and into the water line.

During the summer, White House Utility District received several complaints of fibers in people's water. In an effort to determine the source, the utility increased their sampling of the water. Each time the samples showed high quality water with appropriate chlorine residual and no bacteria.

The cross-connection wasn't discovered until four months later, when sewage began backing up in the home's yard.

Metro has since responded, claiming the line was not marked properly on the map as a drinking water line.

White House Utility Officials insist the line was clearly marked. Utility district spokeswoman Lisa Weathers said that the worker even cut through a label that identified the bright blue PVC pipe as a water main.

Metro released a statement rejecting the claim, saying "the contractor may have cut through the tape, but there was no evidence of the marking tape at the site when the actual tap was made.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is investigating the incident and will decide where blame should be laid and if any sanctions should be imposed.

3,951 Posts
Hack Plumbers helper- Whats that black goo coming out of the water line we just cut?
Hack Plumber-What black goo? Oh nothing they just dont clean their water
Hack Plumbers helper- Dude are you sure? It stinks really bad. It smells like sewer
Hack Plumber- Just shut up and dig, I know what I am doing.
Hack Plumbers helper- Your right we need to hurry before the inspector shows up
Hack Plumber- Theres the spirit, now hand me the hose clamp and pipe dope. We have to make this tie-in.

How can you possibly mistake a sewer line for a water line? Min. 3in in my state. 3/4 feed for the water.


5,478 Posts
Hey...just to be fair guys...have you all seen a 20-30 year old ductile iron water line before, buried deep into the ground?

You literally cannot tell the difference between a water line and sewage line, and they both smell as atrocious.

Don't know the specifics about the above, but there's a reason why these things happen because of similarities of what you're dealing with.

We tore a 3" plantmaster out of Kahn's in Cincinnati and I promise you could of passed it off as a sewage pipe with the smells emitting from the pipe. Massive corrosion and green pastey stuff, horrible.

I don't think PVC would cause that kind of buildup though...I doubt it. Something really wrong with how that happened.

Type in "Cross Connection Case Histories" in any search engine and you'll find tons of incidences like above.
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