What Is Backflow?

Your Help is Needed to Protect the Quality of our Drinking Water.

What is backflow?
Backflow 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.

What is a backflow preventer?
Backflow preventers are mechanical plumbing devices installed in a plumbing system to prevent water from flowing backward in the system. A properly installed, tested and maintained backflow preventer at the service entrance to a building or property can reliably prevent the backflow of water of an unknown quality from flowing back into the community water system.

Is it really important to prevent backflow?
Absolutely. The Ohio Division of Water requires all public water systems in the state to operate an on-going program to protect the public water supply from contamination from possible cross connections. The most effective method for the water utility to meet this requirement is to require customers to install a backflow preventer on the main supply line to their property or facility, thus protecting the community water system from any cross connections that may be present inside a customer’s plumbing system. All water users benefit from an active, on-going cross connection control program that includes the installation of backflow preventers.

Why do I need a “Backflow Prevention Assembly” on my Sprinkler Irrigation System?
The water that is used by your irrigation system is supplied by the same source as the water you drink, cook and bathe with. Pesticides, fertilizers and/or animal feces can collect in water pooled around your sprinkler heads, creating a potential for the contaminants to be drawn back through the sprinkler irrigation system (by means of Backflow or backsiphonage) and into your home. It is for this reason that you must have a properly functioning Backflow Prevention Assembly protecting your drinking water.

Why does the customer have to pay for and install the backflow preventer?
The backflow preventer is installed to protect the public water supply against possible hazards in the customer’s plumbing system. The actual or potential cross connection belongs to the property owner and not to regulatory officials or the water utility. Once the water goes beyond the meter, water quality could be altered. The water utility does not want the water back, nor do the water customers want to purchase used water. If a backflow preventer is required to keep the water safe, then the person who created the cross connection (actual or potential) should purchase, install and maintain the backflow preventer.

Cross Connection Defined

Any pipe, valve, fixture, etc., in a drinking water plumbing system that may allow the drinking water within the system to become contaminated or questionable in quality. Cross connections can either be eliminated or protected by an air gap or mechanical backflow preventer.

If you would like to learn more about backflow preventers, or if you need help to determine proper installation or how to maintain a backflow preventer assembly, please contact us.