Community Insider Winter 2017 - Page 23

While plumbing code and existing laws require backflow prevention measures, still many properties lack protection at the water meter. The water district must assess each risk and either trust public health to the customer’s ongoing plumbing code adherence, or compel the protection of the community water system. Many are the known cases of public illness caused by poor plumbing code compliance. Plumbing cross-connections are everywhere, potentially exposing our water to contaminants. Common examples include toilets, dishwashers, landscape irrigation systems and fire sprinklers. During a backflow event, any unprotected cross- connection might contaminate the community. One may ask, “how can contamination flow backwards in a pressurized system?” Water flows from high pressure toward low pressure. Pressure in the distribution system pushes water to the customer. Bac