A backflow preventer is a small device that prevents water from traveling the opposite way in a pipe. Basically, this appliance is put into place to ensure that sewage or drain water never flows back up the drainpipe and into the sink or device that drain pipe is connected to.
There are few places where backflow preventers are as essential as in a restaurant. When you're cooking and serving food, you simply cannot afford to take risks when it comes to contamination. Here are four spots in your restaurant where you should definitely have backflow preventers.
1. The vegetable prep sink
Most restaurant kitchens have a dedicated sink where vegetables are washed. The point of having this separate sink is that you can keep it relatively clean, therefore enabling you to put veggies right down inside of it when you wash them. This sink must have a backflow preventer because any raw sewage backup would directly contaminate vegetables you place in the sink, possibly leading to illnesses like E. coli and salmonella.
2. The ice machine
Ice machines have the reputation of becoming quite dirty before someone thinks to "look under the hood" and give them a good clean. They're also pretty time-consuming to take apart and clean, which means that having yours flood with sewage could be a major inconvenience, and one that goes unnoticed for far too long. If your ice machine has a drainage tube, which most do, it needs a backflow preventer.
3. Coffee machines
Some newer espresso makers and coffee machines are hard-plumbed into the water supply. These are often closed systems, so a backflow of sewage could go overlooked until your coffee comes out smelling unsavory. Some coffee machines come with a backflow preventer at their water outlet, but if yours does not, you need to separately install one on the drainpipe leading away from the coffee maker.
4. Soda machines
If your soda machine has a water drain pipe for condensation and spilled drinks, check that it had a backflow preventer. If sewage were to back up in your soda machine, it would collect in the drains that catch any spilled or excess beverages, which may not lead to immediate drink contamination, but would still be smelly.
A good plumber should be able to check over your restaurant kitchen and ensure you have backflow preventers everywhere that they are needed. Find a provider of backflow prevention in your area to learn more.