What Exactly is Backflow?
Backflow is the unwanted reversal of the flow of water or mixtures of water and any other undesirable substances (sewage, industrial gases, etc) which flow back into the potable water supply, contaminating it. The contamination is typically caused by ‘cross-connections’, where there is chance that in the plumbing system the potable water supply can come into contact with the flow of other undesirable substances.
For example, if one end of a hose was attached to your home (and in turn the main water supply) while the other end was resting in a bucket of herbicide for the garden, a large dip in the water supply (e.g. a water main break, or large amounts of water being released from a fire hydrant) will cause the water to be pulled back down into the main supply. If the head of the hose is in the bucket, and there is no backflow prevention system in place (or it’s not connected properly) the herbicide will be sucked back down into the main supply with the rest of the water. Thus, the community will now be drinking herbicides in their next glass of water.
If this happened just once at every water source, the drinking water would no longer be drinkable.
The prevention of backflow in municipal water systems is incredibly important in every plumbing system from residential to industrial plumbing. Without proper backflow prevention, drinking water can become contaminated causing harm to the people and animals consuming and bathing in the water.
Improper backflow prevention in industrial settings could leak poisonous substances into the water, while residential or commercial plumbing could leak sewage or other toxic or harmful substances into the main water system. Both cases can, of course, be detrimental to the health of the community.
Proper Backflow Prevention Systems are Important
Backflow prevention systems vary depending on where they are being placed, but every plumbing system needs one. Most cities or municipalities around Ontario will have different requirements, and only a certified professional may assess and install these systems.
At POM Plumbing our certified plumbers have years of experience with backflow system assessment and installations. If you are in the process of new construction or retrofit plumbing – be it residential, commercial or industrial – we’ve got you covered.