Backflow contamination is a critical public health issue that occurs when toxins from one part of a water system flow into a fresh or potable water supply line. Thankfully, water systems are designed and built to prevent this.
However – as with any system – testing, maintenance and repair are key to ensuring a water system is properly functioning and preventing backflow contamination. Every state, and even individual municipalities, has plumbing codes and standards to uphold in order to keep people and local fresh water supplies safe.
OSHA’s sanitation standard (1910.141) states: “Construction of nonpotable water systems or systems carrying any other nonpotable substance shall be such as to prevent backflow or backsiphonage into a potable water system.”
“Meeting codes and standards is important because public health is vital,” said Mike Kelley, TP Mechanical’s Quality Control Associate. “Our licensed backflow testing ensures your water systems are code compliant and keeping the supply safe.”
One of the most common culprits is the simple water hose connection. If a water hose is not protected with a backflow prevention device, such as a vacuum breaker, the water hose creates a path for cross-contamination to the potable water system. Without a backflow preventer in place, everyday tasks like filling a swimming pool or using a power washer with a chemical cleaner tank can become dangerous by allowing whatever is in that system to flow back into drinking water.
Backflow prevention devices are also key components in avoiding contamination events from irrigation systems, fire suppression systems and large boilers. Without a properly functioning preventer, these types of systems are susceptible to biological, chemical and mineral contamination because water often sits stagnant in them, allowing bacterial and inorganic material build-up.
“Checking all preventers for leaks and the whole system for pressure issues is critical,” said Mike. “These are both common culprits when backflow occurs, and they put your facility and the entire local water supply at risk.”
Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana plumbing code require all backflow prevention devices be tested annually by a licensed plumber, and TP Mechanical will ensure code compliance and system effectiveness for companies.
For more information