When we turn the faucet on in our homes, we assume that the water is safe to drink, but that is not always the case. Water in the home normally flows in one direction, but under certain circumstances, it can flow in another direction. This alternate direction is called “backflow”. Backflow happens when there is a change in water pressure, usually the result of hydrant flushing, flow testing, or a water main brisk. It is the undesirable reversal of the flow of water from its intended direction in any pipeline or plumbing system. Backflow is dangerous because it can allow drinking water in plumbing systems to become contaminated and unusable. Additionally, back-siphonage can also occur. It is the result of negative or reduced pressure in the supply piping. When pressure in a distribution system drops to atmospheric or below, a vacuum is created allowing water to siphon in the reverse flow. This condition is identical to drinking through a straw.
This issue can pose a serious health risk for the homeowner and the community. A cross connection can occur and put the entire water supply at risk. Cross connection is any connection between piping that carries drinking water and the piping that carries other types of water or substances that are not safe to drink. Customers who have potential for cross connection are responsible for preventing contaminates from entering into the public water system through their individual plumbing system by installing and maintaining approved backflow prevention assemblies. However, to install such an assembly requires a plumbing specialist who can not only handle the install, but also navigate the city code and regulations.
To fix backflow and back siphonage, a plumbing specialist must install a backflow prevention assembly. In order to do this, the plumbing specialist must determine the code, degree of hazard (health or high hazard, non-health or low hazard), and the type of backflow prevention assembly needed. Once this is decided, the list of parts in the assembly must be reviewed and approved by the local government’s administration.
It’s your responsibility! Don’t wait to do something about it until your family is deathly ill from sewage back flow! Get your back-flow testing right away.