This is part three of three in the series of blog articles to explore why backflow prevention is important for us all, who has or should have a backflow preventer, and why certification of that device is needed.
Certification is needed!
Just like all working systems, they perform best when maintained and certified regularly. Backflow into a public water system can pollute or contaminate the water in that system and each water supplier has a responsibility to provide water that is usable and safe to drink under all foreseeable circumstances. Furthermore, consumers generally have absolute faith that water delivered to them through a public water system is always safe to drink. For these reasons, each water supplier must take reasonable precautions to protect its public water system against backflow.
Mechanical backflow preventers have internal seals, springs, and moving parts that are subject to fouling, wear, or fatigue. Also, mechanical backflow preventers and air gaps can be bypassed. Therefore, all backflow preventers have to be tested periodically to ensure that they are functioning properly. A visual check of air gaps is sufficient, but mechanical backflow preventers have to be tested with properly calibrated gauge equipment.
The consumer has the responsibility of backflow prevention. It is at the consumer’s expense in most areas that they shall install, operate, test and maintain approved backflow prevention assemblies as directed by the authority having jurisdiction. Check your records and make sure your backflow preventer is certified! Remember to look for a plumber who is certified to complete your inspection, make the repairs, and notify the water authority of your compliance.