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Did You

  • The cost of one bottle of water from a vending machine is equivalent to the cost of drinking 8 glasses of tap water every day for a year.
  • A gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds.
  • The Water Authority maintains almost 1500 miles of drinking water pipes. If you put them end-to-end, they would stretch from Roanoke to Colorado Springs, CO.
  • At one drip per second, a faucet can leak 3,000 gallons of water per year.
  • Water is the only substance naturally found on earth as a solid, liquid and gas.
  • Over 713 gallons of water go into the production of one cotton T-shirt.
  • The Authority’s Water Pollution Control Plant is regarded as one of the best bird-watching areas in the mid-Atlantic region.
  • The Water Authority maintains over 6,000 fire hydrants in our service area. Fire hydrants are connected to the public drinking water distribution lines, so water from a fire hydrant is drinking water.
  • There are over 23,000 manholes in our service area.
  • Carvins Cove Natural Reserve is the second largest municipal park in the United States.
  • The Authority’s Water Pollution Control Plant covers over 100 acres of land.
  • More people in the world have a mobile phone than have a toilet.
  • The Water Authority treats 19-million gallons of drinking water a day although we have the capacity to treat 56-million gallons per day.
  • The Authority’s Water Pollution Control Plant treats almost 37-million gallons of wastewater a day from all across the Roanoke Valley.
  • There are 51 drinking water storage tanks in our service area. They each hold between 500,000 – 2-million gallons of water.
  • Most of the treated drinking water used in a home is for toilet flushing.

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Backflow Prevention

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Protect Your Drinking Water

Help us identify potential areas where backflow can occur on your property by completing this short survey.

Working together to protect your drinking water supply. The Western Virginia Water Authority and all our customers share the responsibility to help safeguard the public water supply. We are working closely with the Virginia Department of Health and our customers to identify potential backflow issues so your drinking water maintains the highest possible quality.

What is Backflow?

A plumbing cross-connection is an actual or potential connection between the public water supply and any source of contamination or pollutant. Through this connection, contaminated substances could backflow into the public system and your drinking water supply without proper plumbing precautions.

Water traveling through the Authority’s distribution system is pressurized. If the water system loses pressure, such as during a water main break, maintenance of the system or flowing of a fire hydrant, the flow of the water may be reversed. If a customer has made a cross-connection with hazardous substances or even non potable water, these substances can backflow into the public water system and create a risk to public health.

Where Can the Contamination Occur?

  • In tubs, sinks and buckets... Hoses left submerged in swimming pools, kitchen or laundry sinks, bath tubs, animal watering troughs or buckets can pull untreated water into your drinking water.
  • Through your garden hose... If your outside faucet is not protected by a hose-bib vacuum breaker, chemical sprayers such as weed killers that are attached to a hose can backflow through your hose into your home’s plumbing system.
  • Through your faucet... A faucet submerged into another liquid can be a cross-connection whereby the substance could backflow into your plumbing.

How Can You Prevent Backflow from Occurring?

Per building codes, a hose-bib vacuum breaker should be attached to all outside spigots. This device, available at home-improvement and hardware stores, prevents water from backflowing if water pressures drop. When using a hose or faucet, always leave at least a one inch (1”) gap between the end of any water hose/faucet and the source of any potential contamination.

  • Help us identify potential locations in our service area where backflow can occur by taking the backflow prevention survey through the link at the top of the page.
  • If necessary, contact the Water Authority to schedule a free assessment with our staff to assist you in finding and removing any potential cross-connection sources.
  • Remove any cross-connections you find or install backflow prevention devices (available at hardware stores) where needed. A Water Authority representative is available to assist you with this process if needed.
  • If you have a backflow prevention device installed by a certified plumber, have it tested annually or after any repairs.

Need help?... Whether you found a cross- connection in your home or you aren’t even sure where to start looking, we can help. We have licensed technicians who are available to help you identify where backflow can occur on your property. The service call is free!


Contact the Western Virginia Water Authority at 853.5700 or email us at