Backflow prevention is the practice of installing devices or systems that prevent contaminated water from flowing back into the potable water supply. The term "backflow" refers to the reversal of the normal flow of water in a plumbing system, which can occur when there is a change in the pressure gradient.
Backflow can happen when there is a drop in pressure within a water system, causing water to flow in the opposite direction. This can result in contaminated water from sources such as toilets, industrial processes, or irrigation systems, flowing back into the clean water supply. This can be a serious health risk, as contaminated water can contain harmful bacteria, viruses, and chemicals that can cause illness or even death.
Backflow prevention devices or systems are designed to prevent this from happening by ensuring that the water in the system flows only in one direction. This can be achieved through the installation of devices such as backflow preventers or air gaps, which create a physical barrier that prevents contaminated water from flowing back into the clean water supply.
In summary, backflow prevention is important because it helps to protect the health and safety of the public by preventing the contamination of the clean water supply.