2021 Bad & Ugly photo contest winners announced

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Lamoureux couldn’t believe his eyes when he first laid eyes on this backflow device installation, which safe to say didn’t pass the test.

By Leah Den Hartogh

The last year and a half haven’t exactly been easy for those working in the water industry, reports the Western Canada Section American Water Works Association (WCSAWWA). Water professionals continue to install, test, and inspect backflow devices.

Each year, the association hosts their “Bad and Ugly” cross-connection photo contest for plumbers. For the 2021 contest, two winning photos were selected. The tester category winner was submitted by Xavier Lamoureaux, a backflow tester working in Saint-Hubert, Quebec. Lamoureaux was checking backflow devices for a new client. “When I entered the room and saw that one, I couldn’t believe my eyes and I snapped a picture right away so I could show my coworkers and have a good laugh,” says Lamoureaux. “Of course, the backflow didn’t pass the test. In fact, someone two years prior to my visit had left a note on the backflow saying it failed. I wrote on my bill that this backflow should be replaced but I haven’t received any news regarding it, which is not a big surprise since there’s a lot of work to do in Quebec to educate people around the role and consequences of backflow preventers.”

Let’s do our best to find and correct these cross-connections before the damage is done, suggests WCSAWWA.

In the inspector category, the winning “Bad and Ugly” photo was submitted by Robert Glowacki, a cross-connection control inspector in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Xavier Lamoureux received a Watts differential gauge as his prize for winning the tester category of the contest.

In 2020, the City of Winnipeg issued a notice to a property owner that a premises isolation device was needed to be installed. The property owner informed the tenant that the installation would have to take place in their unit as the water meter was in their suite.

“Upon the tenants’ return, this very unique and decorative piping arrangement was displayed on the washroom wall,” reports Glowacki. “I’m not sure, but the individuals living there may have been quite happy with the new arrangement since this could also function as a towel rack. On a positive note, the installation did pass final inspection.”

Contest prizes were donated by backflow manufacturing companies, including Conbraco, Watts and Zurn. A pressure differential gauge was given to the winner of the active tester field. A gift certificate from the WCSAWWA was the prize for the CCC inspector/regulator category.

Photo submissions are submitted annually by April 30. For an entry to the annual contest, applicants must submit a photo of the cross-connection and a brief explanation of the assessment and any recommendations. The photos are judged by the Western Canada Section AWWA Cross Connection Control Committee. To view other submissions for the 2021 contest, visit www.wcsawwa.net.

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