What is the purpose of Backflow Prevention and why is it required?

The backflow program was established to meet State and Federal water quality regulations to prevent contamination of the culinary water system. Backflow occurs when water pressure on the supply side of the meter drops below the pressure after the meter allowing water and contaminates to flow back into the culinary system. This can be possible when a hydrant is used to fight a fire, during a main line break, or other similar situations. Under these conditions with no backflow protection, contaminated water from a sprinkling system, trough, bucket, or other vessel can flow back into your residence and the water system. It is important to install and maintain an approved Backflow Assembly on all outside watering systems. Protect your Backflow Assembly from freezing and have it tested annually. Keep hose bib vacuum breakers on all exterior garden hose connections.

Backflow can cause our drinking water to become polluted or contaminated. Pollution reduces the quality of drinking water. It does not create a public health hazard, but adversely affects the aesthetics of taste, odor, and appearance.

Shared responsibility keeps our drinking water safe.

What type of Backflow Prevention Assembly is Necessary?

The type of backflow prevention assembly required is determined by the degree of hazard. In other words, the severity of the actual or potential hazard will dictate what level of protection is necessary to adequately protect the drinking water. For temporary cross-connections, such as a garden hose, an inexpensive hose bib vacuum breaker is acceptable. Other types of backflow prevention assemblies are available for permanent specialized applications, such as fire sprinkler systems, irrigation sprinkler systems, and piping connections within a commercial facility.

What can you do?

First, you should determine if there are potential cross-connections in your home of business. The local plumbing inspector or water provider can assist in this determination. Next, you should investigate alternatives for eliminating or protecting against all actual or potential cross-connections. After determining the method of cross-connection control the necessary plumbing changes or the addition of a mechanical backflow prevention assemblies should be made. Local codes or government regulations are used to determine what specific backflow prevention assemblies are required for each application. The local water provider should always be consulted prior to purchasing and installing any backflow prevention assembly.

Can Backflow be prevented?

Yes, the Backflow of undesirable elements into the drinking water system can be prevented. A cross-connection is a physical connection between the water supply and any source of possible pollution or contamination. By eliminating or controlling all actual or potential cross-connections, the public drinking water system will be protected within the city water main system and within buildings. Simple plumbing changes can easily eliminate many cross-connections. However, where this is not possible, backflow prevention assemblies are installed to protect the water supply.