Why Is Backflow Testing Important?
Preventing backflow is not only important for protecting the health of the community and water system, it’s also the law! Clearwater Leak Detection can help you by understanding and maintaining all the necessary standards of backflow prevention.
Backflow Assembly – What is the Law?
Backflow occurs when the intended direction of water’s flow is reversed, and waste water and/or contaminated water is pushed back into the water system, allowing contaminants to enter the public water system or the homeowner’s plumbing. Usually this is caused by a change in pressure on either side of the tap.
Have you ever held your finger over the opening of a faucet and watched the water struggle to escape? That’s a simplified example of backflow, and one which presents no risk because the water being forced back into the system is potable. When biological, chemical, or physical contaminants enter the drinking water supply through backflow, it is very serious, and can cause injury, illness, or death. These are known as “backflow incidents,” and hopefully you’ll never be a part of one!
Possible backflow contaminants include:
- Untreated river, sea or lake water
- Pesticides, herbicides, fungicides
- Propane gas
- Boiler water with chemicals
- Worms and micro bacteria
- Heavy metals
Where and How Does Backflow Occur?
Backflow often occurs at places along your plumbing line known as “cross-connections.” This is where a potable water system is connected to a non-potable water system, like where your sprinkler system branches off from your water main. Other possible sites of cross-connection include wash basins and service sinks, laboratory equipment, “gray water” systems, fire sprinkler systems, food and beverage processing equipment, and boilers. Between 1981 and 1998, the Center for Disease Control documented 57 waterborne disease outbreaks due to cross connections that resulted in 9,734 illnesses, and though those numbers have gone down as awareness has increased, cross-connections still present serious danger to the community and need to be carefully monitored for disrepair or disfunction.
What is the law?
In Washington State, all backflow assemblies need to be tested by a certified technician at the point of installation, and re-inspected once per year. At Clearwater, we offer certified testers that will meet both initial and annual inspection requirements. We take care of many customers by testing their backflow every year, and if you choose Clearwater for backflow inspections, we’ll send you a reminder card every year so you don’t forget to have this important procedure done!
What Do I Need to Know About a Backflow Preventer?
If you have a cross-connection, you need a backflow preventer by law, and there are a lot of options on the market and it’s important you choose the right one. We can help you make sure that the device you’re using is on the Washington State Department of Health’s Approved Backflow Prevention Assembly List, which varies depending on if your facility is considered high hazard or low hazard. Household cross-connections are rarely high hazard.
Your existing backflow device might also fail, break, or underperform. We are able to repair, replace or install new assemblies, and if you choose us to conduct the installation of your repaired or replaced device, we will be able to test it right away.
You can also call us to test your device if someone else has installed it or you have installed it yourself. Finally, you can also call us to consult on whether or not you need a backflow device. If you’re receiving notifications from your water company that your test is due, give us a call. Clearwater Leak Detection is fully certified to perform backflow assembly testing and cross connection control.
Find a legitimate and trusted professional that has the years, education and experience to perform anything involving the safety of your drinking water and plumbing.
If you need anything from repair to resolution, Clearwater Leak Detection will assess every situation professionally and timely. The average leak takes two hours to fix but our jobs depend on the scale of the building and severity of the problem.