Backflow happens when water you can’t drink contaminates the water you can drink. Water you can’t drink is called non-potable. Non-potable water can include waste water, storm drain runoff and more. It often contains bacteria and health hazards. Every year, people get sick and can even die from backflow contamination.
There are two ways backflow happens. The first is backpressure backflow. This means there’s more water pressure downstream than upstream, which can occur when there’s a very significant reduction in the water supply or when a large amount of water is being used, such as through pump operation or boilers firing up. In NYC concerns like water main breaks and fire fighting can contribute to backpressure backflow.
Negative pressure occurring somewhere nearby in the water system can cause backsiphonage, which results in water rushing where it doesn’t belong in order to fill the artificially created vacuum. Again, water main breaks and fire fighting are two major local causes. As your NYC plumber, I can tell you we never know when a water main will break or a fire will occur. This means you have to be prepared.
Backflow prevention keeps your building’s potable water supply safe. Many commercial and residential buildings in NYC are required by code to have a backflow prevention system in place. These systems physically prevent the two different types of water from mixing together. There are several types of backflow prevention systems, and your NYC plumber will work with you to make sure you have the components you need in place. Backflow systems must also be monitored regularly. You need a licensed NYC plumber to do this work in order to remain compliant with DOB codes.
If you have questions about your building’s backflow prevention system, know you need your system checked, or are doing construction or renovations that will require a new backflow preventation system to be installed, give us a call. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have.