You would expect your sewage to be flowing in one direction – away from your home, right? Unfortunately, there are situations in which this isn’t true. When there is a large drop in water pressure this could create a situation called backflow where sewage ends up traveling in the wrong direction. This could be because of a leak on a water main, or a fire hydrant that is being used by the fire department.
Of course, none of us want raw sewage to be sucked back into our home, but fortunately, there is something that is built to prevent this called an atmospheric vacuum breaker. It allows air to come back into the pipe and stops the backflow in its tracks.
You might see one of these pipes sticking out of the ground near your home, but maybe you weren’t aware of the essential purpose it serves when you looked at it at that time.

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