Backflow prevention
5 water glasses

EWEB water is reliably outstanding. However, contamination can occur within your own piping system.

If you are aware of potential water contamination hazards, or "cross connections," you can help keep your water safe and drinkable.

Any time the drinking water supply comes in contact with an objectionable or harmful substance, a cross connection is created. For example, placing a hose in a bucket of detergent while washing a car creates a cross connection and a potential health hazard.

If the water pressure within EWEB's water system suddenly changes due to unforeseen circumstances, such as the need to fight a fire, water may flow backwards. This reversal of flow, called "backflow," can allow contaminated water to flow back into the water supply.

All cross-connections hazards require some type of backflow protection. Most modern plumbing fixtures and appliances are made to guard against backflow. However, some water-using fixtures and equipment have no built-in backflow prevention features and require added protection. . Some types of added protection, backflow protection assemblies, must be tested annually to make sure they continue to protect the drinking water supply.

EWEB facilitated backflow prevention assembly testing

The State of Oregon and EWEB require the installation and annual testing of all backflow prevention assemblies to protect the public water supply from contamination. You can request EWEB facilitated annual backflow prevention assembly testing using this online form.

Common cross-connection hazards
  • Underground sprinkler systems
    Chemicals common to landscaped areas and pet waste can flow into sprinkler piping through sprinkler heads or cracked piping. For this reason, all sprinkler systems in the State of Oregon must be equipped with an adequate, correctly installed backflow protection.
  • Pools and spas
    Chemicals used to keep pools and spas sanitary can also be harmful to drinking water. Therefore, a pool or spa with a direct piping connection to the EWEB water system must have proper backflow protection.
  • Heating, cooling and fire sprinkler systems
    Many common systems in use today have chemicals that stop algae growth or keep fluids from freezing. These chemicals can be a hazard if allowed to enter the public water system. Therefore, heating, cooling and fire sprinkler systems must have adequate and correctly installed backflow protection when connected to the public water supply.
  • Wells
    Due to the unknown quality of water in privately owned wells, proper backflow protection is required anytime a private well is connected to EWEB's water system.

If you have any of these systems in your home or workplace and have additional questions, call EWEB's Backflow and Cross-Connection Program at (541) 685-7000.