What is backflow?

When the water in pipes goes in the opposite direction from its intended direction of flow, a problematic condition called “backflow” occurs. Springfield Utility Board (SUB) controls water quality up to the point of the water meter. After this point, water quality can be degraded or contaminated within a private property plumbing system. When backflow occurs, water from inside a private plumbing system can be pushed back (backpressure) or pulled back (back siphonage) into the community’s drinking water supply. On a smaller scale, backflow can be isolated within a single property when water from a source, like a sprinkler system, pushes or pulls the water back into the property’s drinking water supply.

There are two situations that can cause the water to go backward (backflow):

  • Backpressure – the water pressure in your pipes is greater than the pressure of water entering your pipes.
  • Backsiphonage – a negative pressure (vacuum or partial vacuum) in one of the pipes. This situation is similar in effect to the sipping of water through a straw.
    Backflow prevention assemblies are used to help prevent backpressure and/or back-siphonage.