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Backflow is the undesirable reversal of flow of water or mixtures of water and other liquids or substances into the distribution pipes of the potable supply of water from any source or sources. This backward flow of the water can occur when the pressure created by equipment or system such as a boiler or air conditioning system is higher than the water pressure inside the water distribution line (back pressure), or when the pressure in the distribution lines drops due to routine occurrences such as water main breaks or heavy water demand causing the water to flow backward inside the water distribution system (backsiphonage).
Backflow is a problem that many water consumers are unaware of, a problem that each and every water customer has a responsibility to help prevent.
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Water distribution systems are designed so that water flows in one direction from the treatment plant to the customer. Cross connections are any unprotected actual or potential connection or structural arrangement between a public or a consumer’s potable water system and any other source or system through which it is possible to introduce into any part of the potable system any used water or substance other than the intended potable water. Bypass arrangements, jumper connections or any other temporary or permanent connections through which backflow can occur are considered to be cross connections. Federal and state laws require Water Purveyors to protect their system from cross connections and backflow.
Without the proper protection something as simple as a garden hose has the potential to contaminate or pollute the drinking water lines in your house. In fact over half of the country’s cross-connection incidents involve unprotected garden hoses. There are very simple steps that you as a drinking water user can take to prevent such hazards, they are:
If you are the owner or manager of a property that is being used as a commercial, industrial or institutional facility you must have your property’s plumbing system surveyed for cross-connection by the City of Beverly’s Cross Connection Program Coordinator. If your property has not been surveyed for cross-connection please contact the Water Department at 978-921-6057 to schedule a cross-connection survey.