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Rock Island surveys water customers

Rock Island needs to know more about how residents and businesses use water to prevent contamination. So, starting this month, the city is mailing "Cross Connection Control" surveys to water customers with their bills.

Public Works Director Bob Hawes says Rock Island has been surveying commercial and industrial customers for years. But now the EPA requires the city to survey residential customers, too.

The goal is to identify and eliminate potential sources of drinking water contamination from rain or sewers, and prevent them from backing up into the system.

Household appliances include "back-flow preventers." But Hawes says a homeowner may leave a hose in a laundry tub full of water. Then if a water main breaks nearby, the resulting loss of pressure in the system could cause the laundry water to mix with drinking water.

Other examples include leaving a kitchen sprayer submerged in a sink full of dishwater, and a sprinkler system with a puddle over an irrigation head. The public works director says irrigation systems must be inspected once a year.

It'll take about three months to mail the Cross Connection Control surveys to all 15,000 water customers in Rock Island. The survey is also available online on the city web site.