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It is a mechanical assembly attached to the drinking water meter to prevent any potentially contaminated water from entering the main water line or your neighbor’s line.
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If you currently have reclaimed water service and/or reclaimed water service availability, if you have a shallow well, or if you are a commercial water customer, you could have a backflow prevention assembly on your property. If you do not know if you have a backflow prevention assembly, please contact the Water Department.
Yes. Water, like electricity, takes the path of least resistance from a higher pressure to a lower pressure. Normally, water flows directly from our mains to your property, but in certain situations, such as a main break, water can flow back into the distribution system.
This can occur if your drinking water pipes, either accidentally or on purpose, become cross-connected with anything that is not approved for drinking water. This could include reclaimed water, pond water, irrigation well water, oil or other substances.
Plenty. When water is delivered to your property, it is exposed to many different types of fixtures, including sprinklers, washing machines, hose-bibs, kitchen faucets, tubs, showers, and toilets. For industrial users, the system may be attached to boilers, photo processing equipment, chemical mixing tanks, chillers, water towers, pressure pumps, healthcare, laboratory equipment, etc. Connections between the potable water system and potential sources of pollution, or contamination, are called "cross connections." When backflow occurs through a cross connection, there is a chance that contaminants can be drawn into the public water system.
How many times have you put a garden hose in a bucket of soapy water to wash the car? Or sprayed insecticide with a garden hose sprayer? Or attached a hand spray attachment to the kitchen faucet to wash your hair or the dog? These seemingly harmless actions create cross connections that could endanger the health and safety of you, your family, and your neighbors.
The danger comes when the hose comes in contact with a harmful substance. If the pressure in the water main drops while the hose is submerged in contaminated water, then the water (and whatever is in it) could be sucked back into your pipes and the drinking water supply. Water pressure drops are not uncommon. They can occur when hydrants are opened to fight fires or during repairs to a broken water main.
Yes, there are many documented cases. Around the country, cross connections and backflow are responsible for many cases of illness, injury, and even deaths every year.
No, they have been in existence since around 1945, and Pinellas County has been using them since 1977.
These assemblies are installed on drinking water lines which serve properties that have a second source of water as well as on lines that serve commercial properties. Second sources of water may include reclaimed water, industrial treatment water, ponds or lakes used for irrigation, and non-drinking water wells and pools.
Most properties have only one device. However, some properties, like a shopping center or condominium, can have multiple assemblies. Some single-family properties with a fireline may have an additional assembly. See Backflow Prevention Assemblies: Typical Locations.
Yes, because each assembly requires its own testing and repair. Your property can have various combinations of assembly types. There are four types of backflow prevention assemblies.
The expense is charged only to those customers who have these assemblies.