- Casey Madsen
Backflow: What you need to know!
Depending on your area you have probably received a letter notifying you that it is either time to have your backflow assembly tested, or the test is due. At this time you might ask yourself “What is a Backflow, why do I need one, why do I have to have it tested, and who do I reach out to for testing?”. Don’t panic, we are here to help take away your worries and provide a simple solution.
What is Backflow and a Backflow Assembly?
Backflow can be defined as the reversal of flow in a piping system from the normal direction of flow occurring with one of two conditions backsiphonage or backpressure. Some examples would be a break in a line that is at a lower point and the use of booster pumps or elevated piping.
A Backflow Prevention Assembly is designed to be testable and installed at cross connection sources. It is a means of backflow prevention into the potable water supply. Most common for an irrigation system would be a Double Check Assembly.
Why do I need a Backflow Preventer?
The number one and most important reason is that it helps protect the potable water supply source that you, your family, and your surrounding community utilize on a daily basis. Protection against certain degrees of hazards such as Health/High Hazards ( a potential threat of contamination of a physical or toxic nature that would be a danger to someones health) and non heath/low hazards (aesthetic effects on odor, taste and color but does not present a danger to health). Some examples would be lawn fertilizer, herbicides and E. Coli.
Why do I need to have mine tested?
With the Safe Drinking Water Act, state and local authorities are responsible for creating and maintaining a cross connection control program which with other protection programs, backflow testing falls under this category. It is the water consumers responsibility of preventing contaminants from entering their potable water system or the public water system and starts at the point when it becomes the consumers. Approved testable assemblies have thresholds that need to be met and maintained. The only way to know if these assemblies are functioning properly is through testing. Only a properly trained and licensed Backflow Assembly tester can legally test and report findings/results to the consumer and water purveyor. Bottom line is that the only way to know if you are doing your part in helping protect your water source is through testing which is normaly annually.
Who do I contact for more information on Backflow and Backflow Assembly testing?
Local authorities and Water Purveyors are a great sources for information and tend to put this info into their lettered notices along with a list of acceptable testers. Other information sources would be Health Authorities (Oregon Health, DEQ, and EPA) plumbing Officials and Backflow testing companies.
Lets all do our part and ensure the heath and longevity of our water sources by ensuring we are protecting them to the best of our abilities by protecting them through proper backflow prevention. After all, our bodies are 60% water and 71% of the earth is water.