Backflows are possible and serious plumbing hazards that can have fatal consequences for the public if commercial buildings are not equipped with proper backflow preventers. Drinking water is generally distributed in one direction only from municipal water towers to consumers. Yet, when water pressure is temporarily lost, a backflow condition can occur that reverses the direction of water to flow from consumer to supplier. A backflow can be harmful, even fatal, when contaminants are returned to the fresh water supply through a cross-connection with a non-potable source. In the worst pushback incident on record, more than 1,500 people fell ill and 98 people died. Commercial plumbing companies install backflow preventers on cross connection points to completely eliminate the very possibility of the threat of backflow.
Usually, municipal water is supplied at high pressure to homes and commercial buildings. Turning on faucets in homes and offices relieves water pressure and establishes the one-way flow of fresh water. Firefighting operations or water main breaks can lower the water supply pressure below that of the non-potable system and cause pollutants or contaminants to return to the potable water system.
The law requires commercial facilities with alternate water sources, fire sprinklers, laboratory equipment, and boilers to install backflow prevention devices at cross connection points. Homeowners who do not install backflow assemblies where they are needed are responsible for backflow incidents on site. For this reason, commercial plumbers annually install and maintain backflow preventers to protect the public drinking water supply. Commercial plumbing service providers protect the public from the serious consequences of non-potable substances entering the drinking water supply.