Q. DO I NEED TO PROTECT THE WATER SUPPLY FROM BACKFLOW - WHAT IS IT AND HOW DOES HAPPEN?

A. The Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations and Scottish Water Byelaws require that water or water-using equipment used with fluids or materials which could contaminate it must have adequate protection. This protection is to stop potential contaminants getting 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) Fluctuations in water pressure can cause a lowering, and in some cases, a negative pressure or vacuum to occur in the water supply. This may result in fluids upstream being syphoned or sucked, back into other parts of the system. The fluctuations can occur when carrying out repairs or where there is high usage on the system. This is known as back-siphonage.

or possibly

1) Where fluctuations in water pressure - such as those that occur when carrying out repairs or where there is high usage on the system - 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 than those upstream, 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.


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