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What is Backflow?

Backflow is the return of any substance into the system from which it exited. Backflow in the water system is the return of any substance, liquid, or gas, into the potable water system. This can be harmless or extremely harmful depending on the substance in question. There are numerous instances of hazardous substances entering unknowingly into the water system throughout the US.

There are two types of backflow

  • Backsiphonage (pulling water out of a system due to a vacuum)
  • Backpressure (Pushing water out of a system due to elevation differences or a pump)

Backflow devices are considered the second line of defense in protecting our clean drinking water. The first line of defense is the built-in controls to the water system by the water purveyors (companies/departments).

What is Cross Connection?

Cross Connection is the point at which the public water supply can or does meet any other polluting element. The water faucet for a hose is a cross connection point because a polluting element could potentially enter through the hose and continue into the clean water supply.

What is a Backflow Assembly?

A backflow assembly is any device that prevents backflow at a cross connection point. These devices range in complication and size depending on the need of protection, which is determined based on the hazard level.

What does a backflow preventer have to do with Water Quality?

Backflows are required by the Department of Health to be installed wherever a potentially hazardous cross connection exists. The testing and maintenance of backflow preventers is a partnership between the property owner and water purveyor to protect everyone’s drinking water.

What happens if I don’t test?

If you don’t have your backflow tested annually, as required by the Department of Health, your water purveyor will eventually take action to protect the health of their water system. Each water purveyor has different policies, but typically they impose fees once the test is severely delinquent. Eventually the water department will terminate the water service until the backflow preventer is tested.

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