When updating your residential, commercial or industrial plumbing, you may notice a line item for a backflow preventer. This is a device that stops contamination of potable water. In addition to the installation of the device, routine NYC backflow preventer testing is also required. There are three main types of backflow that the device stops from reaching your potable water supply.
Used Water
Used water should not get mixed into potable water. The used water from a house, commercial building or industrial facility could include what is flushed down toilets, sinks, washing machines and dishwashers. It could contain parasites, bacteria, viruses, detergents and chemicals. The backflow preventer stops the mixing of used and potable water in or near a structure.
Industrial Fluids
In the industrial setting, a variety of industrial fluids is sent down special drains. There may also be incoming industrial fluids that are brought into the facility. Those fluids must be kept separate from the water supply. If they were to mix, they could cause damage to the pipes or cause problems related to dilution of the fluids. Unwanted chemical reactions could also take place. Installation and testing of a backflow prevention device ensure that industrial fluids, potable water and wastewater are all kept in separate pipelines.
Sewer gases could bubble up from underground, getting into potable or wastewater lines if there is no backflow prevention device installed or if the device is not properly functioning. Some of those gases could react with the fluids in the pipes, causing an explosion. If the gases got into the potable water, the water could be contaminated and unfit for use. Gases in incoming industrial fluid supplies could change the composition of the gas, resulting in problems for workplace processes.