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Backflow Testing, What Is It and Why Do I Need to Have It Done?

April 16, 2018

What do you do when you’re thirsty and need something cold and refreshing? You drink water. What do you use to clean and rinse a sink full of dirty dishes? You use water. How do you wash your hands when they feel sticky and mucky? You wash with water. It’s been a long day and all you want to do is jump into a hot shower, what comes out? Water. How do you make your lawn turn from brown to green? You water it. Water plays such a vital role in our daily lives, so much so that we often take it for granted. We live in a society in which we don’t really have to worry too much about the safety of our water or really think about it at all; turning on a faucet is apart of our daily lives, it’s simply what we do.

Water is more than a resource that regularly intersects our lives; it literally is apart of our survival. Your body is made up of 60 percent water; it is quite dependent on it. Water is important for our bodies to maintain overall good health. It is the best way to keep our bodies fully hydrated. It is vital that we humans drink water, but seldom do we recognize the part water plays in our eating as well. Water helps provide nutrients needed for plants and animals to grow and produce the food we eat every day. It’s a basic need, an everyday resource, therefore it is imperative for people to care about it and protect this beautiful and life-giving liquid we call water. We need to protect our bodies and environment by taking precautions within our water system and ensure backflow assembly devices are being tested and working properly.

What is backflow?

Backflow is when clean, drinkable water goes the opposite direction causing suction that brings polluted and dirty water into what is potable. Clean water flows to your homes and businesses through pressurized water pipes. Having high water pressure throughout the lines ensures good flow from faucets, showerheads, irrigation systems, and other fixtures. This system helps protect cross-contamination between potable and non-potable water supplies. The water mainly runs in one direction, but in the midst of certain circumstances, such as a water leak, pipes bursts, or a constant flushing from a hydrant can then cause the water pressure in the house or city water mains to drop. This then can cause water to back up into the water systems bringing about non-potable water. Water pressure is key; it’s when the pressure isn’t maintained in the water system that can cause risk to backflow and contamination.

What is backflow testing?

Backflow assembly devices have multiple valves that block off backflow. They include check and relief valves and each one of these mechanical components need to be tested annually and maintained. The test itself consists of pressurization and each part of the assembly being isolated and checked to see if it’s operating properly and at necessary levels. It is imperative that these backflow devices are up to standard and if not repairs must take place. Backflow devices are there to help ensure safety when drinking and using the water that we receive from the tap.

Why is backflow testing necessary?

Backflow testing is important because not only do local regulations require it but also it helps protect the safety of those drinking and using the water. You never know when something may occur regarding your water supply, things happen, pipes burst, which could leave your clean water supply vulnerable to contamination. When backflow occurs it can cause waterborne diseases that enter into the drinking water resulting in an increased risk to disease and illness. These types of circumstances not only leave you susceptible but also neighboring properties susceptible. Therefore it is important for cross-connection places within the water system to have a backflow prevention device at each connection point to help protect against the dangers of potential backflow. Compliance from the entire community to have annual backflow testing is vital.

Water is life-giving, rejuvenating, and refreshing. Fear is paralyzing and debilitating. Consuming water doesn’t have to be a worry or fear because of the regulations that are in place to help protect our water. Our bodies can be fully hydrated without wondering if you will receive a waterborne illness from the sip of water you just drank. Dishes we eat off of can get fully clean by being rinsed off with water that isn’t contaminated. We don’t have to contemplate if we will get sick from eating food off of a potentially dirty plate. We can maintain healthy hygiene by taking a shower from a system that produces clean water. Backflow is preventative and annual testing is imperative. Water is precious, and a resource that is vital to our bodies and the ecosystem. Therefore we need to be the best stewards of it by taking care of it and making sure the right precautions are being made.