Safety Information

One Call System of Tennessee

Are you thinking about building a new swimming pool, installing a drain tile system or constructing a new building? For your convenience the Cookeville Water Department and other utilities have joined a “One Call System.” All you have to do is call the “One Call” number, 800-351-111, 72 hours prior to your planned excavation and provide them with the information concerning your work. They in turn will alert the utilities that are participating in the “One Call” program.

Tennessee One Call System

Before you begin any type of excavation, please call your state’s One Call System. This program is designed to prevent excavation damage to pipelines, utilities, water lines and telecommunication systems. Violation of the “Call before you Dig” Act is a Class A misdemeanor and subject to a fine up to $2,500 and/or imprisonment for 48 hours. Within 72 working hours, the Cookeville Water Department will investigate the area of your work, and mark in paint, flags, or stakes where our pipelines are located. Every effort is made to place the markings directly above the pipe, but could vary two feet in either direction. Depth is not usually indicated, requiring extreme caution while excavating in close proximity of a marked utility. It is highly recommended that pipelines be exposed by hand digging.

Protecting Your Home Against Cross-Connections

Without proper protection devices, something as useful as your garden hose has the potential to poison your home’s water supply. In Fact, over half of the nation’s cross-connections involve unprotected garden hoses. A cross-connection is a permanent or temporary piping arrangement which can allow your drinking water to be contaminated if a backflow condition occurs.


It’s just what it sounds like: the water is flowing in the opposite direction from its normal flow. With the direction of flow reversed, due to a change in pressures, backflow can allow contaminants to enter our drinking water system through cross-connections. A potentially hazardous cross-connection occurs every time someone uses a garden hose sprayer to apply insecticides or herbicides to their lawn. Another cross-connection occurs when someone uses their garden hose to clear a stoppage in their sewer line. Without a backflow prevention device between your hose and hose bibb (spigot or outside faucet), the contents of the hose and anything it is connected to can backflow into the piping system and contaminate your drinking water.

This hazardous situation sometimes can affect more than a single home. In 1977, an entire town in North Dakota had to be rationed drinking water from National Guard water trucks while the town’s water distribution system was flushed and disinfected following contamination by DDT. Investigation determined that two residents spraying DDT had made direct cross-connections to their homes. A backflow condition had occurred, sucking the DDT through the home piping system and out into the town’s water distribution system. Backflows due to cross-connections are serious plumbing problems. They can cause sickness and even death. However, they can be avoided by the use of proper protection devices. Each spigot at your home should have a hose bibb vacuum breaker installed. This is a simple, inexpensive device, which can be purchased at any plumbing or hardware store. Installation is as easy as attaching your garden hose to a spigot.

Additional Information

For more Information on cross-connection control and backflow prevention for your home or business, please contact Logan Phillips at the Department of Water Quality Control at 931-520-5239.