Backflow is a term that refers to unwanted water or other substances flowing in the wrong direction into the piping of a public water system or consumer’s potable (drinking) water system.
Some of the reasons why backflow may occur include water main breaks or fire hydrant use. It may also happen when the pressure in the property owner’s equipment is greater than the pressure in the drinking water line.
A backflow preventer is a device designed to protect potable water and the city water supply from being contaminated or polluted by backflow.
In 1974 our federal government implemented the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) which mandates that individual states are responsible for enforcing the standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA has specific requirements regarding backflow prevention within the SDWA.
It is the legal obligation of each state to monitor and protect their water supply through the testing of backflow prevention systems. They are required to be tested annually to ensure that all internal seals, springs, and moving parts have not been damaged due to fouling, wear, or fatigue.
Backflow preventers must be tested every year, and test results must be submitted to the appropriate city in order to stay in compliance.
If you do not fulfill with your cities requirements on testing your backflow preventer, they do reserve the right to shut off your water supply until you comply in order to protect the public water system.
Domestic and Irrigation backflow assemblies must be tested by a technician that currently holds a certification that is approved by the Public Works Director. In addition to that, your testing company must be registered with each city building department in order to submit permitting and testing requirements as well as be a licensed plumbing contractor or fire contractor.
Feel free to visit these additional links for more information on cross connection control and backflow prevention programs: