At Paws Plumbing, Inc., a recent mandate has been put into effect requiring that all businesses within the city of San Diego be equipped with a backflow prevention device. This is what’s used to protect potable water supplies from potential contamination or pollution caused by backflow. The city of San Diego, like many other municipalities throughout the country, is committed to ensuring the safety of the drinking water that homeowners and residents use.
If you need a backflow prevention device, also called a backflow preventer, installed on your commercial property or if you already have one, then there are some factors you should know about caring for it. For example, you should know that even with a backflow preventer, your area should be tested by a certified backflow technician. You can contact our team to be put in touch with one.
Where Does Backflow Occur?
Backflow contamination can occur anywhere that water may be pooled around a faucet or fixture, such as dirty pesticide water surrounding a sprinkler head or anywhere else that something may be submerged in water, like a sink hose in a pool of soapy water, or a supply pipe that leads into a system that could contain chemicals. The backflow prevention device is responsible for stopping water from moving into the public water supply.
There are two types of backflow—backpressure and back-siphonage. Backpressure is when the downstream pressure of water is greater than the pressure within the pipes, which can cause water to back up into the potable supply. Back-siphonage is when the upstream pressure is greater than the pressure of its destination.
Back-siphonage can happen when something suddenly causes the supply pressure to spike, like the use of a nearby fire hydrant. If pesticide-contaminated water had gathered around the sprinkler heads on your commercial property, then this could end up back in the public water supply.
While backflow testing requirements vary city to city as well as the type of commercial property and plumbing system it is, most parts of the country require this testing once a year. Even without those requirements, we’d recommend scheduling this testing once a year regardless. If you backflow preventer were to fail, then potentially polluted water can move back up through the pipes and contaminate the city’s water supply.
Part of the reason testing is so imperative is that a backflow assembly is comprised of many mechanical valves and other various components. And just like any other mechanical system in or around your commercial property, these valves can fail and leave the potable water supply susceptible to pollution.
Backflow preventers are designed to make it so water can only move in one direction. The water that enters through the backflow assembly can contain enough debris to damage the valves. Even the smallest amount of calcification or debris can keep the entire system from functioning as it should.