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Backflow Prevention & Maintenance by JC Plumbing

In water supply systems, water is normally maintained at a high pressure so as to enable water to flow from the tap, shower and other appliances. When pressure fails or is reduced as may happen if a water main bursts, pipes freeze or there is unexpectedly high demand on the water system, the pressure in the pipe may be reduced and may allow backflow of water to occur. This article will seek to explain how such backflow can be prevented.

Backflow can cause a lot of harm to the water; backflow is even known to cause contamination to water sources. To prevent contamination due to back pressure, some regulatory regimes require an air gap or mechanical backflow prevention assembly between the delivery point of mains water and local storage or use. Where submerged mains inflow is permitted a backflow prevention assembly is required, which protects the potable water system from contamination hazards. These hazards can be severe, some cases can be fatal. In many countries where regulations allow for the possibility of backflow, approved backflow prevention assemblies are required by law and must be installed in accordance with plumbing or building codes.

Backflow prevention can be done through the installation of a backflow prevention device. As the name suggest, the backflow prevention device has the sole purpose of preventing backflow from occurring.Without this backflow prevention devise, water sources will become contaminated and polluted deeming them unfit for human consumption or use.

However, before you install a backflow prevention device, you should check the available water pressure and the customer’s pressure and flow requirements. A thorough site assessment should also be done to confirm the hazard rating of the property and its services.

In the United States however, the Environmental Protection Agency holds local water suppliers responsible for maintaining a certain amount of purity in potable water systems. Many states and local municipalities require annual testing of backflow prevention assemblies. A check valve is a common form of backflow prevention. In most cases, the law requires a double check, Reduced Pressure Principle Deviceor an air gap when backflow prevention is mandated.

It should however be noted that the easiest and most effective way of backflow prevention is by providing an air grip. The provision of an air grip is simply done by a space between any devices that opens to a plumbing system (like a valve or faucet) and any place where water can collect or pool.