What causes back pressure?

Heating systems, elevated storage tanks, boilers, and other pressure producing systems can create pressure in the customer's plumbing that exceeds the supply pressure. This hydraulic condition can push contaminated water back into the fresh water supply. 

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1. What causes back pressure?
2. What is a backflow assembly?
3. What does "approved" mean when selecting an assembly?
4. Is it necessary for every water customer to have backflow protection?