A backflow preventer is a device that is installed on your home's water pipes that allows water to flow in one direction but never in the opposite direction.
When water enters your home from the main water supply line, it should only ever flow in one direction and that is into your home, but sometimes due to pressure changes in the pipes, that water can actually flow backwards and seep back into the main water supply line. For example, backflow can happen when there's a break in the main water line or when a fire hydrant is opened for use. Because pressure is lost during these events, water is no longer being pushed forward into your home and will flow backwards into the main water lines.
The Safe Water Drinking Act is a federal law that established regulations to protect water quality in the United States. This Act sets standards for municipalities to enforce. One such standard is the prevention of all backflows into the main public water system. Southwestern PA Water Authority requires all residential homeowers and businesses to have a backflow preventer installed on the internal plumbing. Prior to any account being turned on a backflow must be installed by the customer. If the Authority has no record of a backflow preventer being installed we will need access to verify that one has been installed.
If you have any questions on the Safe Water Drinking Act or Backflow Preventers please contact our office at 1-800-356-4168.