Cold Water Supply

March 7, 2011 1:24 am Published by
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We were called out earlier in the week to a burst pipe in Surrey Hills, where water was leaking behind an ice-maker fridge. The customers son could hear the fine spray of water and had the foresight to turn the mains cold water supply off at the isolation stop next to the water meter. The eleven year old boy was right on the money as there was a burst pipe behind the fridge. We removed the fridge and made the appropriate plumbing repairs, all along answering the inquisitive questions from the new found, up and coming plumber! It was great to see that the young boy had a general interest in what was going on with the water supply and why. So here are a few of the answers that the young boy was seeking on the day.
Tap water is a principal component of “indoor plumbing“, which became available in urban areas of the developed world during the last quarter of the 19th century, and common during the mid-20th century. The application of technologies involved in providing clean or potable water to homes, businesses and public buildings is a major part of sanitary engineering.
The availability of tap water has major public health benefits, since it typically vastly reduces the risk to the public of contracting water-borne diseases. Providing tap water to large urban or suburban populations requires a complex and carefully designed system of collection, storage, treatment and distribution, and is commonly the responsibility of a government agency, often the same agency responsible for the removal and treatment of waste water, {sewerage}.

Modern indoor plumbing delivers clean, safe, potable water to each fixture point in the reticulation system. It is imperative that the clean water not be contaminated by the waste water disposal side of the plumbing system. Historically, this contamination of drinking water has been the largest killer of humans. Specific chemical compounds are often added to tap water during the treatment process to adjust the pH or remove contaminants, as well as chlorine to kill biological toxins. Local geological conditions affecting groundwater are determining factors for the presence of various metal ions, often rendering the water soft or hard“. Tap water remains susceptible to biological or chemical contamination. In the event of contamination deemed dangerous to public health, government officials typically issue an advisory regarding water consumption. In the case of biological contamination, residents are usually advised to boil their water before consumption or to use bottled water as an alternative. In the case of chemical contamination, residents may be advised to refrain from consuming tap water entirely until the matter is resolved.

In many areas a compound of fluoride is added to tap water in an effort to improve dental health among the public. In some communities fluoridation remains a controversial issue. As the fixtures and appliances perform their function, most produce waste/sewage that will require removal by the waste/sewage side of the plumbing system. Tap water can sometimes appear cloudy, and this is often mistaken for a mineral impurity in the water. Cloudy water, also known as white water, is actually caused by air bubbles coming out of the water. Because cold water holds more air than warm water, small bubbles will appear in water with a high dissolved oxygen content that is heated or depressurized, because this reduces how much dissolved gas the water can hold. This condition is completely harmless, and the cloudiness of the water disappears quickly as the gas is released from the water.

The waste water from the various appliances, fixtures, and taps is transferred to the waste and sewage removal plumbing system via the sewage drain system. This system consists of larger diameter piping, water traps, and is well vented to prevent toxic gases from entering the living space.
We hope this helps answer a few questions about water reticulation, where Melbourne has some of the best quality water in the world due to good practice and great plumbing sytems in place.

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