Backflow Questions and Answers

What is backflow?
Why is backflow protection necessary?
Who is responsible for backflow protection?
Where is backflow protection needed?
When is backflow protection required?

Question: What is backflow?
Answer
: Backflow is the undesirable reversal of the flow of water or mixture of water and/or gases and other substances into the water distribution system. Common causes of backflow are water main breaks, pressure loss in the distribution system, and high demands on the water system caused by firefighters during a fire. The most common cause is due to an unattended garden hose left in a sink or bucket.

Question: Why is backflow protection necessary?
Answer
: To ensure safe and clean drinking water to all citizens of the City of Show Low

Question: Who is responsible for backflow protection?
Answer
: Currently, the City of Show Low has four certified backflow testers/inspectors. They are governed by federal, state, and local ordinances. However, it is your responsibility to protect yourself from cross-connections. Here are some simple tips:

1.       Do not leave your garden hose unattended while watering, especially when you have chemical feeders attached.

2.       Do not install hoses on your faucets that protrude past the top rim of your sink. Make sure that there is a minimum inch of space between your hose and the top of the sink or tub.

3.       Do not put your garden hose in a sewer clean out or roof vent to unplug your sewer. Call a professional to assist you.

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Question: Where is backflow protection needed?
Answer
: Backflow protection is needed wherever the possibility of contamination of the public water supply exists. While the City’s Public Works department has the authority to regulate commercial buildings only, the need for backflow protection also exists in residential areas. As a homeowner, it is your responsibility to protect others in the water system as well as the people living in your home.

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Question: When is backflow protection required?
Answer
: If you own a business within the City of Show Low, you have been, or will be, visited by a Public Works employee who will determine each business’ need for backflow protection. This inspection is usually done when a business changes ownership or changes industry. However, at times it is necessary to resurvey all commercial buildings to ensure that everyone is still in compliance. If it is determined during the inspection that the need for protection exists, the business owner will be advised as to what type of backflow assembly is needed and who to contact for proper installation and testing. Once installed, the testing will be performed annually.

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