What is backflow?
Jackson County Public Water Supply District 2Backflow, or the reverse flow of contaminated water into a potable water distribution system, is caused by backsiphonage or backpressure.
- Backsiphonage occurs when low pressure, or vacuum pressure, on the supply side of the connection causes water to be siphoned from the user side back into the supply.
- Backpressure occurs when increased pressure on the user side of the connection forces water into the supply.
- Backflow can occur at residential, commercial, industrial or institutional cross-connections between potable and nonpotable water distribution systems.
- The threat of deliberate backflow contamination necessitates vigilance and awareness on the part of water utilities and the public.
- Water utilities should increase public awareness of the need to report suspicious activity around water facilities and provide public notification when scheduled work on distribution systems, hydrants and mains will occur.
- Water utilities should ensure distribution system plans are stored in secure locations. Such information would allow individuals to understand where the system is most vulnerable.
- Drinking water utilities should evaluate the feasibility of installing backflow prevention technologies to reduce the potential for cross-contamination.
- Recipients should report suspicious incidents in the water sector to local water utilities immediately or the Water Information Sharing and Analysis Centers. WaterISAC was created by the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies as a confidential venue for sharing security vulnerabilities and solutions within the water industry. Water ISAC can be reached at 866-H2O-ISAC (866-426-4722).