Q. MY PLUMBER MENTIONED THE NEED TO PROTECT MY WATER SUPPLY FROM BACKFLOW - WHAT IS IT AND HOW DOES HAPPEN?

A. Where water or water-using equipment is used with fluids or materials which could contaminate it, there must be adequate protection to stop backflow of potential contaminates into other parts of the system, especially drinking water.

What is it?

Backflow is the term used when fluids travel back towards the source - contrary to the direction which was intended.

How does it happen?

It can happen in one of two ways:

  1. When there are fluctuations in water pressure, such as those that occur when carrying out repairs or where there is high usage on the system. These can cause a lowering, and in some cases, a negative pressure or vacuum to occur in the water supply. This may result in fluids being syphoned or sucked, back into other parts of the system. This is known as back-siphonage.
  2. Where the pressure in the system downstream is greater, fluids can be forced back towards the source into other parts of the system. This is known as back-pressure.

Once fluids are in a water system they can be re-distributed to other parts of the system and in some circumstances back into the public mains.

We use cookies to give you the best possible experience with Water Regs UK. Some are essential to provide website functions and ensure the website is secure. We also use cookies to help us understand how people use the site and to make improvements. Click "Accept All" to enable recommended settings or click "Manage cookies" to adjust your settings. For more details, see our Cookie Policy.