In a recent article from CBS12, the city of Delray Beach Florida was called out for possibly cross contamination of sewer water into the potable drinking water supply.
Potable drinking water from the city is water that runs throughout the house in our sinks, showers and tap. This is also water we may drink from our refrigerators!
According to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), the water must be treated to protect it’s residents from contaminants in the water. Water treatment means it basically has been filtered and disinfected.
Delray Beach has been accused of cross connecting pipes and missing a backflow preventer, which may have caused some residents to drink sewer water!
The EPA states that ‘the extent of contamination in the distribution system depends, in part, on the location of the cross-connection, the concentration of the contaminent entering the distribution system and the magnitude and duration of the pressure difference causing the backflow”.
Why is this an issue?
Contaminated water can cause health problems such as E. Coli, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and skin infections.
So what is a backflow preventer? It is a device (sometimes called Backflow Prevention Assembly) used to protect potable water from contamination due to backflow. It does this by providing a vertical air gap in the water line and protecting the water form backsiphonage and backpressure.
On average backflow preventers cost between $135 and $1,000 depending on the size.
Your common home supply stores sell them such as home depot or even amazon, with the device costing anywhere from $40 to $700 and labor costing $100 to $500.
If properly protected, backflow preventers can last decades. They have to be tested yearly (some are once every 3 years) and your water company usually notifies you when it’s needed. Commercial facilities usually use a double check valve assembly or a reduced pressure zone assembly.
You’ll need a plumber to test the internal mechanical components to make sure water flows correctly, it takes about a half hour to an hour if no repair is necessary and is usually a reasonable cost under $300 just to perform the test.
During the test, water is shut off and afterwards the water company is notified the test passed.
If you’re looking for a backflow prevention test in Fort Lauderdale, Hallanddale, Aventura, Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach or Boca Raton call Sam Jolley’s Plumbing at 954-324-2307. Our plumbing company specializes in residential and commercial plumbing issues for anything from water leaks, video drain line inspections to water heater replacements.