Understanding the Dangers Posed by Backflow

Most homeowners have never heard of backflow in their plumbing. This is fortunate because backflow is a dangerous condition that can happen anywhere in a residential or municipal water supply. When backflow occurs, it means something catastrophic has happened somewhere in a freshwater system’s supply lines. Whatever the cause of a backflow condition, the problem will need fixing, and the water checked and certified that it is safe again. This is where backflow testing and certification specialists can help. 

Backflow happens whenever contaminated water gets sucked backward through plumbing into clean water supplies. The water can be contaminated with chemicals, groundwater, sewage, or a host of other culprits. All local plumbing codes require the installation of backflow prevention devices to protect potable water supplies, but sometimes they fail or were never installed to begin with. 

Home and business owners are required to have backflow preventers periodically tested to ensure that their devices won’t allow the contamination of large portions of municipal plumbing. 

Grisly Messes That Need To Be Cleaned Up

While the phrase “contaminated water” may not conjure up frightening images like a scary movie, some of the stories that come from backflow prevention case studies are truly creepy. 

A few examples of creepy stories from contaminated water supplies are:

Cleaning Up Moldy Walls

  • A father running a bath for his child discovered parasitic worms swimming around in the tub. The worms came from the home’s irrigation system that wasn’t protected from backflow. During a water main break, worm-ladened groundwater was siphoned back into the home’s plumbing. 
  • At a hospital, nurses complained of rusty water coming from a drinking fountain. When maintenance workers went to investigate, they found that it was blood coming from the fountain. The blood was coming from autopsy tables that had unprotected fixtures for washing after examination. 
  • A small town’s residents were left without water for weeks after a toxic insecticide was back siphoned into municipal supplies. Water lines across several city blocks were flushed for days, but the insecticide had leached into the pipe walls. The extermination company responsible was forced to pay $21,000,000 in damages. 

While these stories are extreme examples and not likely to be encountered by most homeowners, any case of backflow can lead to flood damage, requiring lengthy and expensive repairs

Health Risks

Indoor plumbing that provides safe, clean drinking water is one of the miracles of modern society. Humans are susceptible to diseases and illnesses caused by waterborne organisms and chemical contamination, so water supplies must be protected. Backflow preventers are an essential part of protecting the water supply and keeping it safe for consumers. When they fail, people can be exposed to dangerous pathogens, chemicals, worms, and fecal matter. Backflow testing and certification help keep consumers safe from all of the threats carried through contaminated water supplies. 

Scientist Holding Up Petri Dish

Why Testing and Certification Are Important

Backflow testing and certification are necessary to protect clean water supplies. Most local codes require these devices to be tested regularly to ensure they are functioning properly. Suppose it is found that backflow has occurred in a plumbing system. In that case, a licensed plumbing contractor must perform the certification process to ensure that no contamination is present after repairs and flushing of the water line. 

By abiding by backflow testing and certification procedures, homeowners, business owners, and plumbers help keep municipal water safe for everyone who uses it. 

About Heidler, Inc

Heidler, Inc has been serving customers since 1947. In over 70 years of customer service, their core values have changed very little. They still strive to offer honest and excellent service to all of their customers. Contact them to schedule Annapolis, MD, backflow testing and certification today!