air gap built into Fleck 7000 drain?

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by lifespeed, May 14, 2012.

  1. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,836
    Location:
    Ontario California
    Tom, I appreciate the code lisitngs and information. Water Softener installations and RO installations in California have traditionally required a true air gap, I have not seen or installed a system in a municipality that does not require a true gap. The code you cited is written with some ability to add interpretation. For the most part, in California, all water that comes from a potable source, must have a true gap.

    As Tom said, check with your local municipality to see what the varying requirements are for your location.

    http://www.airgap.com/about_airgaps.htm This is a great resource for air gaps and information.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2012
  2. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Messages:
    1,143
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    I'm going to jump in here. Maybe someone can tell me how drilling 1/4" holes in the stand pipe could prevent a cross connection. If there was a sewerage backup it wouldn't take much to plug those 1/4" holes and there goes your air break. There should not be a solid connection between the two.

    John
  3. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

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    3,175
    Location:
    Maine
    Good call John, something that got overlooked in the rest of this nonsense. For some reason whoever installed it in the first place decided to over complicate the whole thing or (and I can't see it in the picture well enough) the two drain lines were too big to fit into the standpipe. the easiest thing to do would be to remove the pvc piece (because you can't glue pvc to abs) and increase the standpipe size to 3" with a 3 x 2 reducing coupling and then extend the stand pipe 3" to accept the drain lines. If the work was done by a plumber, he needs to spend some time with the code book but......it's California where a plumbing license is just about worthless. LOL
  4. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

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    What difference will it make if the discharge water is potable or not. The point is you have a cross connection between a water supply and sewerage? Which must be protected.

    John
  5. F6Hawk

    F6Hawk New Member

    Messages:
    166
    Location:
    Alaska
    Absolutely correct, which is why an air gap is the correct application here. Now that I know the difference, I will replace what the previous plumber did and put a reducer/coupler on it, remove the drilled cap, and provide a true air gap instead of the current air break. I'm not in a hurry to do it, I know what is there now works, but as you point out, in a back-up situation, it won't. It's on my list of things to do, but getting a season's worth of firewood comes first!
  6. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 Member

    Messages:
    738
    Location:
    Ocala, Florida
    I made my air gaps by cutting the stand pipe down the center about 3" then cutting half way through the stand pipe. This leaves a tab on the stand pipe to attach the drain hoses to. I drilled 4 holes and used zip straps to hold the drain tube insuring there was at least 1" between the drain tubes and the drain.
  7. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Messages:
    1,143
    Location:
    South*East
    It is a cross connection. Where are the lines for the backwash coming from? I would say a potable source. What are they discharging into? I would say into a non potable source. That would make it a cross connection. If the water in the discharge line is potable or not it is coming from a potable source.

    John
    Last edited: May 18, 2012
  8. chevy427

    chevy427 Banned

    Messages:
    174
    Location:
    USA
    Potable water is fit for human consumption, also called drinking water.
  9. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I don't see an actual physical cross connection until the sewage water were to touch the drain line.

    I do see a potential cross connection and isn't that what the code is addressing or the code would prevent any drain line connection to a drain for sewage or any connection to anything rated as non potable; the ground, a dry well etc. etc.?

    Then take it up with "Tom" because he has said an air break is OK, and an air gap isn't required. He also said that the water exiting the control into the drain line was "undrinkable" which to him means non potable.
  10. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Messages:
    1,143
    Location:
    South*East
    I don't understand your point. I thought the reason for the air gap was to protect a potential cross connection from happening.

    John
  11. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    You said the cross connection already exists because potable water, which "Tom" says is non potable because it's "undrinkable" but I could put some in a glass and anyone could drink it.... , is going into non potable and that makes the cross connection. So which is it, your way, based on the physical connection of the two empty drain lines or when the potential is met by the sewage water backing up and touching the end of the softener's drain line?

    I say as in the discussion I was attempting to have with our codes robot "Tom", that now I'm repeating with you, it is when the sewage water touches the drain line and that the filter's/softener's drain water is potable until potability tests show it does not meet present potability standards.
  12. chevy427

    chevy427 Banned

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    Non-potable water is not fit for human consumption, also it is not called drinking water.
  13. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

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    Location:
    Maine
    It does not need to be tested, it's DRAIN WATER. DRAIN WATER by definition is NONPOTABLE. How much clearer does it get than that? Drain water from your kitchen sink is NONPOTABLE, you don't need to test it to know that.

    So you are saying that anyone could drink the discharge water from a water softener. The same discharge that has salt and whatever minerals the softener was holding on to before it regenerated? The filters drain water is not potable but the valve head it is connected to does have potable water running through it. Are you really that dense? Again, go get a plumbers licence. It will only take you four years or so and then maybe, just maybe you can engage in an intelligent discussion of this issue because as of now, once again you are the only on posting here that apparently has no clue what you are talking about. And BTW, just because you are loosing a discussion is no reason to start insulting folks either. It really does piss you off to no end that I know the code and can interpret the code but that's my job.
  14. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Oh but... you added something to the sink water that is not allowed in potable water, like detergent. Fish scales. Raw parts of chickens. Yer dirty hands from plumbin' in a sh$t hole somewheres all yucky all the day long... Some folks wash their kids dirty diapers in the sink, and the BABY!etc..

    No such thing in the softener.

    And if you claim the salt or brine water is non potable, from your plumber license based info, sodium and chlorides are both tested for in a potability test.

    And if we listened to you, the whole softener (or filter) and all water going to fixtures from the softener (or filter) would have to be called/judged/spoken of/regarded as or code interpreted as being "undrinkable" and non potable.

    That's due to the salt being flushed out of the "drinking water" in the resin tank and that same water then after going through the resin (or filter mineral) being eventually used by old lades, kids, gentlemen like me, you could say drank/consumed by the family, strange visitors etc. without any disinfection after the regeneration (or backwash of the filter) using the salt and water from the salt tank (filter's chlorine or potassium permanganate regenerant). Which if we listen to dittohead, softened or non softened brine water is just fine sitting around in a salt tank in a garage, basement (dark'n dank'n otherwise nasty) for maybe 3-4 weeks or more before it is used by the softener.

    Well yeah... the minerals were in the potable water before it entered the softener and there is no EPA MCL (Maximum Contaminate Level) set for calcium. magnesium, iron, manganese etc..

    As I said above, sodium and chloride is tested also, as is sulfates etc. etc.. There is no enforceable MCL for sodium, chlorides, sulfates, just suggested maximums. Same for TDS (Total Dissolved Solids).

    I take it your 4 or more years to get a plumber's license didn't get into the nitty gritty very EPA mandated specific details of potability. All you got was a statement, probably repeated to no end, to call any and all drain water non potable, or was it "undrinkable"?

    Final question for you... the water exiting a softener going to the fixtures, it is tested and found to be potable.

    In your esteemed position as a codes interpreter, how does the water leaving the control valve going into an NSF certified potable water line material drain line become undrinkable", or actually non potable as it exits that line?

    .
    LOL, now you're getting emotional again, and again slurring your typing.

    Hey, didya see what water solutions said about the subject before he started whining about my lack of "Professionalism" etc.?

    Here it is in case you missed it: Non-potable water is not fit for human consumption, also it is not called drinking water.
  15. chevy427

    chevy427 Banned

    Messages:
    174
    Location:
    USA
    Tom, potable water means the water is fir for drinking and it follows a few parameters, one of which drained water falls into. It's funny that you are being challenged to answer his questions or he will conclude you don't know what you are talking about. I seem to remember that same person went on and on for days about the "the facts" of the company's warranty and when it was finally presented to him........dead silence followed. Ne'er a word about it since except that the company is trying to hide something by not informing him personally.

    <<Folks... if Tom doesn't answer these questions by admitting he has been wrong about the drain water being non potable without doing a potability test to determine if it is or not, it's because he can't bring himself to admit his mistaken thinking and/or... he didn't interpret the code correctly and doesn't want to admit that either.>>

    "Folks.....?" Has the gauntlet been set? At least you practice what you preach.

    Now he is trying to compare an accidental swallowing of shower water to what is being backwashed, "invisible" dirt'n all (he has influenced my grammar) down the drain. Maybe he doesn't understand the basics of why drain water is different than product water. Since he is claiming that a softener's product water is no different than its drain water, I guess we should just accept that lunacy and move on.

    Quite frankly, there are many people who find softened water unpalatable and won't drink it. I think it is safe to say he is just having "fun" with you (you know some have a twisted sense of fun) and simply yanking your chain to see how far you are willing to go because only an idiot would recommend drinking water that is draining from a softener's cleansing stages. I have sent this thread to other dealers and water professionals for evaluation and the responses so far are priceless......
  16. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,175
    Location:
    Maine
    The drain line from back washed filtration equipment generally connects to the residential sewer line at some point. The issue is not whether or not the filter discharge is potable or not, although by code definition it is not (see below as it is classified as clear water waste) the issue is not allowing contamination from the residential sewer line to enter the filtration equipment through it's own drain line. Hence the need for an air gap or air break (either is acceptable under all codes)

    I.P.C. 802.1.5 Nonpotable clear water waste.
    Where devices and equipment such as process tanks, filters, drips and boilers discharge nonpotable water to the building drainage system, the discharge shall be through an indirect waste pipe by means of an air break or an air gap
    Last edited by a moderator: May 21, 2012
  17. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,175
    Location:
    Maine
    All plumbing codes consider the drain water from water filtration devices to be nonpotable.


    802.1.5 Nonpotable clear-water waste. Where devices and
    equipment, such as process tanks, filters, drips and boilers, discharge
    nonpotable water to the building drainage system, the
    discharge shall be through an indirect waste pipe by means of an
    air break or an air gap.
    *:*Where there is no possibility of contaminating the potable
    water (nonpotable discharge), the indirect waste
    may be by means of an air gap or air break. An air break
    is often preferred to reduce any splashing that may occur.
    This section does not require the devices and
    equipment listed to discharge to the drainage system, it
    only indicates the method of discharge if they do connect
    Last edited by a moderator: May 21, 2012
  18. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,836
    Location:
    Ontario California
    Here is my two cents on a couple of issues.

    1. Codes are not written to make plumbers more money. I hate to waste everyones time even discussing that comment. The codes are written for several reasons, one of the most overlooked reasons is so that coed enforcers can be trained to enforce, understand, and interpret the code in less than 20 years. Electrical codes, plumbing codes, etc are written in a way that they can be followed reasonably (sometimes, as we can see by the wording of the air gap/air break rule, this can be open to wide interpretation) but more so for health, safety, and so that the inspectors do not have to be a master plumber for 30 years to be able to enforce the code. These codes are typically not supposed to be left to be open to interpretation. I got busted for having a bakflow preventer 2" lower than code. It was installed on the top of a hill, overlooking the city of long beach, and the inspector made me adjust the height, his reasoning... "It has to be that high in case of a flood". The inspector did not, nor could he make up his own interpretation that if the backflow preventer is on a hill 300' above the roof of Long Beach memorial Hospital, then the height can be 2" lower than the code book says. Although it was silly, the inspector was right.

    Same goes for the air gap/ air break issue.

    California absolutely does not allow anything less than a proper air gap. Rules for air gaps

    To protect a potable water system from siphonage, a minimum unobstructed air gap of at least 1 inch or 2 pipe diameters; which ever is greater, is required. Any device hooked up to the potable source applies. That being said, I have heard of some areas in California that have stopped mandating dishwasher airgaps as long as a proper high loop is installed, but this is not the norm.


    Regardless of what your local code says, you are allowed to go above and beyond, and for the DIY crowd, I would always recommend a true gap be installed. They are cheap, easy to install, and will meet the code requirements of all municipalities.

    Alhough rare, the potential exists. If a municipal main were to break, the water can cause a negative pressure on your plumbing, without a proper gap, the municipal system could become contaminated with sewage.


    Here is a good thread from many years back. Worth a quick read. http://www.terrylove.com/forums/showthread.php?2741-Air-gap-in-water-softener-overflow
    Last edited by a moderator: May 21, 2012
  19. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I don't see but #1.

    I've read where the plumbing industry is the leading industry in increasing revenues every year due to upgrading plumbing systems to meet a new code. There are at least 5 codes and there was talk of a 6th a few years ago and they are constantly being updated. Why they have to be updated so frequently is not due to health and safety IMO.

    Coed enforcers huh... LOL And 20 years to train them so they can understand the code (yet the code will be changed every year or so), where do they get those folks!

    As to the interpreting, below you say there is no interpreting allowed. Now "TOM" said different but... I guess you missed that.

    An excellent demonstration of the silliness and total lack of common sense we as workers and consumers allow. No wonder why DC is so screwed up.

    That siphoning could only happen if the negative pressure (suction) hasn't bused the resin tank first, which will stop any siphoning) AND the control valve is in a backwash or rinse cycle position causing the drain line valving to be open AND a sewage back up would have to happen just at the right time... and frankly if that is the reason for the code, someone was really stretching their imagination to come up with that one. But it does demonstrate the silliness of some codes.

    And most plumbers I have heard discuss the need for an air gap have said that preventing cross contamination is the reason for the code, not siphoning of sewage water.
  20. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,005
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Cross contamination is mostly done by siphoning.

    Most of the time, the prevention for that is done by an air gap.
    It can also be done with a vacuum breaker.
    Or a reduced pressure backflow preventer.

    The plumbing codes are meant to safeguard the water supply for humans.
    In many countries, they have no codes and no code enforcement. The local governments save a lot of money there, but then it also creates health issues too. I'm pretty sure that's costing them money.

    When I travel there, I make sure I don't drink out of a tap. It's really pretty simple.
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