Safe drinking water is something we rely on. But what regulates our faucets and plumbing to ensure that wastewater doesn’t contaminate our drinking water? The answer is a backflow prevention device and it does a lot to protect waterways and drinking water from contamination. That is why it is important to work with your local government or water board to make sure you are compliant with their backflow regulations.
If you have a backflow prevention device but aren’t sure what it does, then keep reading to learn why backflow prevention devices are so important and what needs to be tested in order to keep them functional and compliant.
When undesirable wastewater flows in the reverse direction it is called backflow. If the wastewater mixes with potable water, it could cause major health problems.
Backflow might occur when there is low water pressure due to a water main break, frozen pipes, or high demand in the water supply. A backflow prevention device protects potable water from contamination due to backflow. Most backflow prevention devices are in commercial properties, or before the first branch line leading off a service line. Most residential homes are not required to have backflow prevention devices unless they have an irrigation system or are certain home-based businesses. Most businesses have backflow prevention devices installed during construction of the building.
In the event of backflow, your backflow prevention device should work automatically. To ensure your device is working properly, it should be tested once it is installed, relocated, repaired, and on a yearly basis.
As a business owner, you or your landlord are responsible for getting your backflow prevention devices inspected. You will probably get a letter from your local water board or city government reminding you that your inspection is due. Fire safety services and plumbers are common businesses that employee these inspectors, or you may find a local freelance inspector.
A backflow prevention device is equipped with 2 check valves that are designed to work automatically in the event of backflow. A tester will inspect these valves as well as the air gap. An air gap is a physical separation between the potable and contaminated water by a vertical air space.
There are many pieces and parts of a backflow prevention device that need to be tested to ensure the device is operating properly, but the valves and the air gap are what testers primarily check on. If your device doesn’t pass the test, the technician conducting the test should work on the backflow prevention device until it does pass. If it cannot pass, then it will need to be replaced.
Once your backflow prevention device passes the inspection, it is given a tag that indicates when the test was conducted and who it was conducted by, as well as what the backflow prevention device is connected to, and other specific information about the device.
Conducting backflow device testing can take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, but it involves special equipment that takes time to set up. Once your inspection is complete, you may have to fill out paperwork that needs to be sent to the local governing body as proof of inspection.
Shave time off inspections with Formlink’s Backflow Testing Software to record data from backflow prevention devices quickly and efficiently. Our system is especially helpful when you are surveying a site with multiple devices. Compliance paperwork can be quickly sent electronically to your local water board, so there’s no more worrying about missing papers and forgetting to mail important documents to those who need it.
If you’re interested in saving time and money when it comes to completing backflow prevention tests, contact us today to learn more.