Understanding Backflow and How to Prevent It

Have you ever wondered how safe your drinking water is? Do you know that there are instances when the water that you use for drinking or cooking can become contaminated? One of the major reasons for such occurrence is backflow. Backflow happens when the contaminated water from the private property flows back into the public water supply, contaminating it. In this blog post, we will discuss backflow, its causes, and how to prevent it.

What Is Backflow?

Backflow is defined as the undesired flow of water or other substances, including contaminants, backward into a public water system, private water piping, or plumbing due to changes in pressure. This can occur when there is a sudden drop in pressure in the public water system or when some equipment or activities on private property use more water than usual. When backflow occurs, contaminated water from the private property can flow back into the public water system, contaminating the supply with harmful substances and microorganisms.

Causes of Backflow

Backflow can be caused by various factors, including cross-connections between the public water system and private property, incorrect installation of plumbing fixtures or equipment, or external events such as a break in the public water main. Cross-connections occur when the pipes carrying potable (drinking) water and non-potable (non-drinking) water are connected, allowing contaminants from the non-potable side to flow back into the drinking water side. This can happen when a garden hose is left in a pool of contaminated water or when a sprinkler system is not properly installed.

How to Prevent Backflow

Installing backflow prevention devices is an exceptionally effective method for preventing the undesirable reverse flow of fluids. These devices are designed to stop the flow of contaminated water back into the public water supply. The type of device used depends on the level of potential contamination and the type of backflow that may occur. For instance, a reduced pressure zone device is used to prevent high-risk cross-connections, while a double-check valve assembly device is used for low-risk cross-connections. Additionally, regular maintenance of plumbing fixtures and water-using equipment can help prevent backflow.

Benefits of Preventing Backflow

Preventing backflow helps safeguard the public water supply and protect the health of consumers. By installing backflow prevention devices, private property owners ensure that they comply with local and federal regulations regarding the control of backflow. Additionally, it can help prevent property damage and liability issues that may arise from the contamination of the public water supply.

Backflow can pose a serious threat to the public water supply and the health of consumers. It is important to understand the causes of backflow and how to prevent it, particularly if you own private property. To learn more about backflow prevention options, contact a professional near you.