Without proper precautions, backflow can pose a serious threat to your health and that of the public as well. There are many cases of contamination to public drinking water caused by backflow leading to serious illnesses and even death. However, there are simple solutions to preventing any of the health problems caused by backflow. Mechanical devices which stop any reversal of water flow can offer protection against the hazards of contamination. Getting a backflow prevention device installed and receiving annual testing of the device is the only effective solution to avoiding illnesses caused by backflow.
It is important to know exactly what backflow is and what causes it to make sure that you know how to keep your water supply safe. Backflow is when water and possibly a mixture of other substances begin to flow in the opposite direction than intended. This means dirty and contaminated water is flowing into your clean water supply through a cross-connection. Backflow contamination is commonly caused by changes is pressure from either the supply side of the water or in the downstream piping. When pressure drops on the supply side due to problems such as a water main break or negative pressure in the piping, downstream substances and contaminants can be siphoned into the potable water supply. An increase in pressure in the downstream piping can also push these substances into the clean water.
Effective Backflow Solutions
When you know what can happen to the water supply as a result of backflow, it is crucial that you find a solution that will protect your potable water from contamination. Backflow prevention devices come in different forms and methods. You must assess the degree of hazard that exists in your plumbing system before choosing a prevention method. You can use a backflow prevention service to help you determine the level of danger in your system and what type of device is necessary for your particular needs. There are basically five types of different backflow prevention devices that can be used in various scenarios. An air gap is a simple device that creates a physical separation between the potable and non-potable supply preventing any contamination from flowing in. An atmospheric vacuum breaker or pressure vacuum breaker can be used for indirect type cross-connections and must be installed in a way that it will not be subject to any backpressure. A double check valve assembly and a reduced pressure principle prevention assembly can be used for any type of cross connection but are both limited for use in pollutant hazard situations.
Maintaining Backflow Protection
Once you have the right kind of backflow system installed you need to make sure that it is testable and that you have a service available that will test the system annually. Potential problems with the system can come up at any time and you need to be sure that the backflow prevention assembly is in working order year after year. Installing the system and getting it tested is a simple way to keep backflow from being an issue with your water supply.
There have been many instances of backflow causing health hazards and sickness because of contaminated water. As a building owner it is your responsibility to maintain a safe and protected water supply. The solutions for backflow are simple enough that there is no reason to ignore the problem and assume that it won’t happen to you. Keeping your plumbing system clean and free of backflow is a matter of an easy installation and a quick and affordable annual test. Be conscious about backflow and prevent any hazardous situations by maintaining your system.