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When you turn on your tap, you expect the water to be pure, healthy and tasty. You can keep your water safe and drinkable if you know how water in your pipes can be contaminated.
You create a temporary cross-connection when you put a garden hose into a bucket of soapy water while washing your car. In plumbing, a cross-connection is created when your building's pipes or hoses are connected to a system or container that holds anything other than pure drinking water.
When you turn on the tap to get a refreshing drink, water flows because the pressure in the distribution system pushes the water out of the pipes and into your glass. Unfortunately, a sudden change in water pressure sometimes can cause the water to flow backwards. This unexpected reversal of flow can allow contamination to flow back into your water supply, which is why it is called backflow.
Thankfully, most plumbing fixtures and appliances that you buy have built-in backflow prevention. For example, the faucet on most sinks are installed above the basin, preventing a backflow. But some systems don't have backflow prevention features. Devices and assemblies are added to such systems to protect the purity of your drinking water. If you have a backflow prevention assembly, it must be tested every year to make sure it is working.
The state of Oregon and EWEB requires a properly installed backflow prevention device or assembly where each of the following system connects to the drinking water supply: