Safe Drinking Water and Backflow Prevention

Most people do not know what backflow prevention is or why it is important. In Florida, we routinely pass backflow prevention devices as we drive down the road, and may not be aware of them. So what is a backflow prevention device and why should I care?

Everybody that has indoor plumbing obtains their water from somewhere. You either have a private well and perhaps a water treatment system which you own and maintain or you are connected to a municipal water main line. Let’s assume you are the latter. So the water that comes into your home is connected to a pressurized main water line supplied by a municipality. This same main line also provides water to many other residences, businesses, and other facilities; such as schools hospitals and offices. The purpose of a backflow device is to protect that water source, and everyone who is served by it, from any contaminate that could possibly exist in any one of the homes or facilities being serviced.

Here’s a classic example, and this is perhaps an over simplification but it makes the point. Suppose you have a hose on the side of your house and it is, of course, connected to a municipal water line, and you are mixing a brew of pesticide for your beautiful lawn. If during the process you have the end of your hose in your brew, which let’s say it is a 50 gallon drum. While the hose end is sitting in the drum of poison, the water pressure drops on the line feeding your hose. The results are a siphon and a backflow situation whereupon the pesticide is siphoned from the drum and enters the main water line. Then when pressure is restored, the pesticide will enter any or perhaps many of the customers that are supplied by the same line as you are. Now imagine there is a factory, on your line and this happens to them. The product that enters the line may be very caustic, and dangerous.

Backflow devices prevent this sharing of contaminants from happening. The question at this point is, how often does this happen? The answer is that I don’t know, some cases are obvious, others are not and may go unreported. The point is that it does happen and the results are not pleasant, and can cause illness or in extreme cases death.

The water treatment and plumbing professionals at Aquacare are now certified to provide Backflow Prevention services.

For an in-depth discussion of this subject, download FEBCO’s Cross-connection Control Handbook.lick on this website.

If you live in southwest Florida or Lee, Collier, Hendrie, Charlotte counties near Fort Myers or Naples, you are in our service area. Call us at AquaCare for a needs assessment and we’ll provide you with options if you need to take action.