BACKFLOW PREVENTION TESTING KEEPS LIFE & PROPERTY SAFE
Every morning as you prepare to begin your day you go about your usual routine. You shower, brush your teeth, set the coffee maker, and perhaps drink a refreshing clean glass of water. It almost seems like magic right? Every time you turn a valve, clean water is accessible and readily available. Water is maintained clean and safe for human consumption due to a variety of modern safety components, one being backflow preventers.
Backflow preventers keep the potable water supply clean and free from pollutants and contaminants by stopping them from passing through “cross-connections”. Cross connections in a water-based system are the point where clean potable water meets water that contains other substances which may pollute or contaminate the water.
Local municipal codes require annual backflow prevention testing to certify the operational capacity of the assemblies. Testing is conducted by a certified backflow prevention device tester who must comply with all related laws, regulations, and policies when conducting testing.
HOW DOES BACKFLOW OCCUR AND WHY IS IT A CONCERN
Backflow describes the occurrence of contaminated or polluted water reversing in flow and entering the potable water supply. This can occur at any cross-connection between potable and non-potable water lines and is typically caused by a significant change in water pressure — such as a water main break or firefighting efforts.
Backflow may contain chemical contaminants, fertilizers, human waste, or flammable gases that can contaminate or pollute the potable water supply. These occurrences don’t only pose a public health hazard but can also cause major damage to structural elements inside a business or property.
Two conditions may cause backflow: Back Pressure or Back Siphonage.
Back Pressure is the result of a system with a pressure higher than that of the potable water supply, this may occur when the system’s water pressure is increased by some means such as a fire pump or water boilers. Without a proper backflow prevention device, backflow will occur, and liquids will be forced upstream into the potable water supply.
Back Siphonage is backflow that occurs when there is negative pressure in the potable water supply. This often occurs when there is a loss of water pressure in the potable water supply causing water that is downstream to rush to fill the void.
HOW BACKFLOW PREVENTERS KEEP THE POTABLE WATER SUPPLY CLEAN
Backflow preventers keep the potable water supply clean and free of pollutants and contaminants by maintaining the water in these cross-connections from reversing in flow. The key components of backflow prevention assemblies are the one-way valves that allow water to flow in one direction only.
These valves create a physical barrier between the potable and non-potable water supply. Water enters the backflow prevention assembly through the one-way valves, commonly referred to as check valves, and continues onward toward its intended use: agricultural irrigation systems, fire lines, fire sprinkler systems, and business/domestic water uses.
WHY BACKFLOW PREVENTION TESTING IS REQUIRED
Backflow preventer assemblies are composed of various mechanical components such as check valves, relief valves, and air inlets, with each component made up of several individual parts: check discs, springs, disc holders, and so on. Over time, backflow preventers can become damaged, degraded, or simply wear out, which can compromise their ability to prevent backflow. For this reason, it is important to periodically perform backflow prevention testing. This ensures that the assemblies are functioning properly and will protect the potable water supply.
Testing typically involves a physical inspection of the backflow prevention assembly, followed by a series of tests to verify that the backflow preventer is operating as intended. These tests can include the measurement of pressure differentials across the assembly, as well as the verification of proper valve operation and inspection for any leaks or defects.
Regular backflow prevention testing is required by most building codes and water regulations. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in fines or penalties. By ensuring that backflow preventer assemblies are properly maintained and tested, we can help to protect the public health and safety of our local communities and businesses.
ANNUAL BACKFLOW PREVENTION TESTING
Testing of backflow preventer assemblies is handled by a certified backflow prevention device tester. These individuals possess years of industry experience and go through a thorough application process and certification exam that analyzes their knowledge and certifies their competency.
Important information for facility managers, property managers & business owners:
Only currently certified backflow prevention device testers may test a backflow prevention assembly.
In Orange County, California tester certifications are only valid for a 2-year period. For those residing elsewhere please check with your local authority having jurisdiction to gather more information about your area.
It is the tester’s responsibility to ensure that he/she has all the required business licenses, their contractor’s license, insurance, etc.
WHY CHOOSE FIRE SAFETY FIRST TO HANDLE YOUR BACKFLOW PREVENTION TESTING
Backflow prevention testing can be very complex and difficult to understand for those unfamiliar with the process. Fortunately, we are here to help! Fire Safety First services commercial, industrial, and multi-residential properties. We work with our clients every step of the way, identifying problems and providing trustworthy solutions to keep our communities and clients safe.
Fire Safety First has a California Plumbing (C-36) Contractors License meaning we provide a variety of residential and commercial backflow prevention services across Southern California to make sure your property is supplied with clean potable water 24/7.
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