Keeping Water Safe With Backflow Prevention and Testing
Clean drinking water is one of the most important strides in public health that has been made in the last century or so. So many toxins and human diseases are spread through contaminated water that by providing clean water cities were able to extend the human life expectancy by decades. Not only was water purification important to this process, but the distribution systems were also equally as crucial. Over the years, civil engineers learned more about good plumbing practices and designed their cities’ systems to protect the clean water.
During the development of modern plumbing systems, backflow prevention devices became common. Backflow prevention devices help protect clean water by separating soiled water from treated water.
What Is Backflow?
Despite the importance of backflow prevention devices, most people are unaware that they exist in a plumbing system. Backflow prevention devices are one of the most important aspects of modern municipal plumbing infrastructure. The reason that backflow prevention is necessary is that they prevent contaminated water from flowing backward into potable water supplies and contaminating them.
Consider the danger of having sewage or lawn chemicals pulled back into drinking water for a home. While most water supplies are protected with an air gap, such as the gap between a sink and its drains, there are places where it is not possible for air gaps to exist, like irrigation systems or commercial settings where sudden changes in water pressure may create a vacuum. This is where backflow devices are installed.
How Is Backflow Prevented?
Most backflow situations, especially in the home, are prevented by air gaps. However, there are situations where special devices must be installed. Air gaps are not mechanical, so they don’t break down or need testing. But, backflow prevention devices are mechanical and need periodic testing to ensure that they are functioning properly and protecting water supplies.
Most common backflow devices are check valves that only allow water to flow in one direction so that there is never a chance that contaminated water will flow backward into clean water supplies.
Why Do Backflow Preventers Need Testing?
Backflow preventers need testing and recertification on a scheduled basis. The purpose of testing a backflow preventer is to ensure that dirty water isn’t able to contaminate clean water under any circumstances.
Depending on the municipality, backflow devices may need to be tested and certified annually.
The certification process for a backflow preventer is different from testing. Testing only ensures mechanical soundness while recertification tests look for chemicals and pathogens on the clean side of the backflow preventer. Certification is carried out on a scheduled basis just like testing, but certification is also the process used to verify that clean water is actually clean whenever there has been suspicion of a backflow incident.
Certification is common after water main breaks since the sudden change in pressure often causes backflow. The process tests for bacteria and chemicals so that water can be certified as safe.
About American Eagle Plumbing
Homes in Round Rock, TX trust the safety of their plumbing to American Eagle Plumbing. Offering prompt service, they keep trucks fully stocked to complete jobs quickly and effectively. Contact today for guaranteed service.