There are many different devices that can be used to prevent backflow, below are explanations of a few.
Air Gap - In a water supply system it is the unobstructed vertical distance through the free atmosphere between the lowest opening of a water service pipe or fixed outlet supplying water to a fixture or receptacle and the highest possible water level of such fixture or receptacle.
Double-Check Valve - A device to prevent backflow caused by backpressure, and which has two independently operating force loaded non-return valves and incorporates specific test points for in-service testing.
All Australian councils require most back flow valves to be tested annually to find out if your valves need to be tested contact a licensed technician.
Here you can find out how backflow occurs and how a containment device will protect water supplies.
Backflow is a reversal of the normal direction of water flow in your water supply plumbing system. It presents a hazard where your water supply is inadvertently interconnected with a source of pollution. Those pollutants could then enter your water supply.
Backflow can only occur when the water delivery main is at a lower pressure than your plumbing system. For example, when there is a burst or ruptured main; or excessive demand during fire fighting operations and the like. Backflow can also occur if a pump is connected to your water plumbing system.