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Backflow Prevention
Explanation of Backflow
Water distribution systems are designed with the intention of the water flowing in one direction - from the distribution system to the consumer. However, hydraulic conditions within the system may deviate from the normal conditions, causing water to flow in the opposite direction. Therefore, it is possible (and common) for water to flow in the opposite direction in unprotected systems. This is called backflow.

Cross-Connection Contamination
A cross-connection is formed at any point where a drinking water line connects either to equipment such as boilers or to systems containing chemicals such as:
  • Air-conditioning systems
  • Fire sprinkler systems
  • Irrigation systems

Cross-connection contamination can occur from backpressure, or when the pressure in the equipment or system is greater than the pressure inside the drinking water line. Contamination can also occur when the pressure of the drinking water line drops due to fairly routine occurrences, such as main breaks or heavy water demand. This causes contaminants to be sucked out from the equipment and into the drinking water line, known as backsiphonage.

Community water supplies are continuously jeopardized by cross-connections unless appropriate valves, know as backflow prevention assemblies, are installed and maintained. It is both a city and state regulation to have annual inspections and tests of each backflow assembly.

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