The idea of dirty, contaminated water entering our potable supply is very scary; unfortunately, this scenario does happen, thanks to a phenomenon known as backflow. Backflow endangers the public by polluting drinking water supplies, but it also threatens the health of your plants. Read on to learn why backflow prevention is important for gardening.
What Is Backflow and Backflow Prevention?
In the simplest of terms, backflow is when contaminated water reverses flow and enters pipes with clean water supplies. This occurs when water mains rupture and cause pressure loss, leading water to flow backward into city lines. Agricultural runoff, pollutants, waste, and other chemicals enter potable water and put the entire community at risk of consuming dangerous water.
Backflow prevention ensures that, in the event of lost pressure, this contaminated water remains separate from potable water supplies. Devices known as backflow preventers are installed into plumbing systems, and they utilize one-way valves and redundancies to keep public water supplies protected at all times. Preventers are used for many different applications, including fire prevention systems and even residential sprinkler systems.
Before diving into why backflow prevention is so essential to gardening, it’s important to understand public safety in relation to the water supply. Unfortunately, backflow affects everyone. When water mains rupture, everyone located at a lower point than you is at risk of receiving your contaminated water flow.
In most states, having any appliance that draws from public water systems is legally required to have a backflow preventer installed, especially your residential irrigation system (sprinklers, hoses, etc.) If you want to ensure the health and safety of your community, it’s absolutely imperative that you have the proper backflow prevention solutions in place. This includes each and every gardening spigot, hose-end fertilizer and pesticide devices, and hoses connected to sprinkler systems.
Backflow prevention is the responsibility of everyone within a community. When someone fails to protect water supplies, it can impact your garden growth when it comes to watering. Yes, you can technically water plants with non-potable water without many issues. However, this is highly unrecommended for watering edible plants like fruits and vegetables.
If non-potable water touches the edible parts of your vegetation, that plant is no longer safe for consumption. Ultimately, if everyone does their part and ensures the proper backflow prevention solutions are in place, the chances of you accidentally using non-potable water in your garden are much less likely.
Not knowing why backflow prevention is important for gardeningis one of the many things people get wrong about backflow prevention. Ensure your garden and the entire community are protected by installing the proper devices and maintaining them when needed.