Backflow prevention stops unwanted flows of water backing up into the reverse direction. Backflow is a serious health risk because polluted water can enter a potable water system. It may be cause by incorrect cross connections or back pressure. Correct plumbing systems need to be designed with backflow prevention, testing, and appropriate installation so your drinking water stays clean and healthy.
A backflow prevention device, as pictured above, is used to protect drinking water from contamination. Normally, water is maintained under pressure to allow water to flow from the taps. If water pressure fails because of water lines bursting, frozen pipes, or when the water source is elevated higher than the main structure, dirty water can backflow into potable water without a backflow prevention device.
One way to prevent backflow is to provide an air gap, or open vertical space between the device that connects to a faucet or valve or anywhere contaminated water collects. Depending on the application, agriculture, residential or other, plumbing codes stipulate the air gap distance, such as drains and dishwashers for example. A specialized backflow prevention device may be installed at appropriate locations where risk may occur in your plumbing system and used when there is not enough physical space or vertical clearance for an air gap. These backflow devices use valves – moving parts – so are required to be inspected and tested periodically to ensure they are in good working order.
BC building code for potable water systems requires:
- Potable water systems to be protected from contamination
- Connections to potable water systems to be designed and installed to prevent contamination
- Provisions to protect the potable water system from contamination caused by back-siphonage and back pressure
For more information, please call us with your questions. Our Okanagan plumbing services include backflow prevention, testing and installation. We offer affordable rates, 24-hour emergency services, and 37 years of experience in the plumbing industry.
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