For more specific backflow info see Backflow and Cross Connection Control Program
Water distribution systems are designed for water to flow one way, from the distribution system to the consumer. However, hydraulic conditions within the system may deviate from the “normal” conditions, causing the water to flow in the opposite direction in unprotected systems. This is called backflow.
Download or print: Backflow Testsheet
Backflow occurs when the pressure in the distribution system drops, siphoning water from the consumers’ system into the distribution system. This is called back-siphonage. Some water customers’ have non-potable materials on the premises under pressure. When an unprotected water line is attached to the container or pipes holding pressurized material the material may be “pumped” back into the potable water system. This is called back-pressure. Either of these conditions will allow substances in contact with the water system, to be directed back into the potable water supply.
Consumers have the right to expect the water provided to them by their water supplier to be pure and safe. The Fort Worth Water Department spends millions of dollars to purify and treat water before it is delivered to the consumer. However, many consumers are not aware that the water supplier also expends great effort to protect the water from contamination or pollution while it flows through the distribution system.
For over one hundred years, there are documented incidents of contaminants and pollutants that flowed backwards into potable drinking water supplies. A few water utilities instituted modest programs, as early as the 1930’s, to prevent backflow from occurring.
Federal and State regulations require water suppliers to protect their water systems from contamination or pollution. To do this, the Fort Worth Water Department conducts surveys of high-risk facilities throughout the system. Through these surveys, the Backflow Section of the Water Department determines the extent of backflow protection that is required to protect the water supply and the public from possible contaminants. The Water Department also requires annual testing of backflow protection assemblies on all commercial properties.
Through a cooperative effort between the Water Department and our consumers, we can ensure that our water is safe from objectionable impurities and health hazards that could be introduced into the water distribution system.