Water lines in Kennewick could be crossed

Water lines in Kennewick could be crossed »Play Video
KENNEWICK - If you buy a new home, you don't expect dangerous health issues to come along with it.

But it happens every year here in the Tri-Cities; water lines get crossed and people end up drinking untreated water right from their tap.

For most homes, the water for your lawn should be different than the water from your tap. But what if these two lines were crossed?

Kennewick officials tell us it happens a handful of times every year.
When it does, it can mean big problems for your health and your wallet.

Think of the back flow assembly valve as a traffic cop for your water.
If it takes a break, water from both sources can flow freely, which ultimately could mean, together. Mixing treated water with untreated water.

This is a concern to people who live in Kennewick.

George Cryblsky is a resident.

"Nobody wants to be drinking that nasty water coming out of the irrigation," he says.

Fortunately the problem doesn't happen often -- but it's most likely to be found in new developments where the water system was set up by a contractor.

This only affects people who are on an irrigation line and also use city water. The simple mistake could have you drinking river water and not even know it.

One indicator that you have a problem is if you've gotten huge water bills. This could mean a valve was left open -- and you'll have to pay for it, says Dan Rogers of the City of Kennewick.

"Once it goes through that meter, that customer is responsible for the water," he says.

So how do you protect your family immediately?

Kennewick is willing to check your line for free -- they just need to hear from you.

If you're concerned your home is affected -- ask the city for a check on your cross-connection.

This risk is really limited to new developments that may not have been installed correctly.