Water Facts


Human Blood in the Water System
Salty Drinks
Heating System Anti-Freeze into Potable Water

Human Blood in the Water System
Health Department officials cut off the water supply to a funeral home located in a large city, after it was determined that human blood had contaminated the fresh water supply. City water and plumbing officials sad that they did not think that the blood contamination had spread beyond the building, however, inspectors were sent into the neighborhood to check for possible contamination. The chief plumbing inspector had received a telephone call advising that the blood was coming from drinking water fountains within the building. Plumbing and county health department inspectors went to the scene and found evidence that the blood had been circulating in the water system within the building. They immediately ordered the building cut off from the water system at the meter.

Investigation revealed that the funeral home had been using a hydraulic aspirator to drain fluids from the bodies of human "remains" as part of the embalming process. The aspirator directly connected to the water supply system at the faucet outlet located on a sink in the "preparation" (embalming) room. Water flow through the aspirator created suction that was utilized to draw fluids through a hose and needle attached to the suction side of the aspirator.

The contamination of the funeral home potable water supply was caused b a combination of low water pressure in conjunction with the simultaneous use of the aspirator. Instead of the body fluids flowing into the sanitary drain, they were drawn in the opposite direction - into the potable water supply of the funeral home!

Salty Drinks
A nationally known fast food restaurant complained to the water department that all their soft drinks were being rejected by their customers as tasting "salty." This included soda fountain beverages, coffee, orange juice, etc. An investigation revealed that an adjacent water customer complained of salty water occurring simultaneously with the restaurant incident. This second complaint came from a water front ship repair facility that was also being served by the same water main lateral. The investigation centered on the ship repair facility and revealed the following:

With the potable priming line left open and the pumps maintaining pressure in the fire lines, raw salt water was pumped through the priming lines, through the spool sleeve piece, to the ship repair facility and the restaurant.

Heating System Anti-Freeze into Potable Water
Water department employees discovered poisonous anti-freeze in a homeowner's heating system and water supply a few years ago. The incident occurred when they shut off the service line to the home to make repairs. With the flow of water to the house cut off, pressure in the lines in the house dropped and the anti-freeze, placed in the heating system to prevent freeze-up of an unused hot water heating system, drained out of the heating system into house water lines, and flowed out into the street. If it had not been noticed, it would have entered the homeowner's drinking water when the water pressure was restored.

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