Backflow FAQ





Simply put, backflow occurs when a loss in water pressure (commonly due to a fire hydrant being opened, a water main break or simply abnormally high water usage) causes the water in your pipes to flow in the opposite direction. This occurrence could allow contaminated or polluted water to travel back into your drinking water.


Basically, a cross-connection is any real or potential Backflow Washing Carconnection between the clean, public water supply and a source that can contaminate / pollute that water. Cross-connections can occur at both commercial and residential properties. For commercial customers, cross-connections exist in many forms; from carbonated beverage machines and ice-makers, to fire sprinkler systems and x-ray machines. It is not uncommon for a commercial property to have multiple cross-connections at their facility. On the residential side, the most common cross-connections occur with lawn irrigation and fire sprinkler systems. Perhaps the most frequently present cross-connection is the common garden hose, which when submerged in water, creates a dangerous path for contaminants to enter your drinking water.


When there is a sudden drop in water pressure in your area (usually during the elimination of a fire, or concurrent use of large amounts of water by too many people at one time) the drop in pressure is what then pulls water that has already been expelled back into the main water supply.


Backflow Certified TesterOut of sight, all of the water pipes entering your home, the restaurant down the street, and your local hospital, are all connected to the same water supply. In your residence or business, any mechanically-controlled use of water (ie: lawn irrigation, fire sprinkler system, pop machines, pedicure bowls, etc.) requires a backflow preventer as a necessary accessory to your plumbing system. A “backflow preventer” is just what it sounds like. Once water pressure drops, the backflow preventer seals shut, not allowing any water to flow backwards in the wrong direction.The EPA mandates that all backflow preventers be tested and certified once, sometimes twice per year, depending on the geographical location of the backflow preventer. If a water customer chooses not to meet this requirement, that customer will eventually be faced with the termination of their water service until they are able to show proof that their device has been properly tested and maintained. This annual or semi-annual testing is what ensures the safety of your drinking water.

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