Understanding Your Annual Backflow Inspection

Understanding Your Annual Backflow Inspection

Backflow is a condition which arises when a water system’s hydraulic conditions stray from normal, allowing contaminated water into the drinking water system. To prevent this, in most localities, the Water Utilities Department requires large meter customers as well as non-residential customers to install/maintain testable backflow prevention assemblies. These assemblies coupled with annual backflow inspections protect each area’s public drinking water distribution systems.  

The Causes of Backflow

Backflow is caused by backsiphonage or backpressure. Backsiphonage occurs when the public drinking water distribution system experiences an abrupt reduction in water pressure. This scenario, in which alter flow is reversed, can occur when a water main breaks or during extensive firefighting activity occurs.  The result is potentially contaminated water entering the drinking water system. Backpressure occurs when a private non-drinking water system has excess pressure greater than that of the connected public drinking water system. A common source of backpressure is a recirculating system which contains acid, soap, or antifreeze from which the pressure forces contaminated water into the public drinking water system. 

Preventing Backflow

In most cases, local water utilities departments, like the one in Palm Beach County, require an RP (Reduced Pressure Principle) Assembly on non-residential accounts as well as buildings more than three stories high and new residential services with 1.5 inches or larger potable water meters. For Class one to four fire-line systems, the minimum requirement is a DCDA (Double Check Detector Assembly), and for Class five and six fire-lines systems, the requirement is a RPDA (Reduced Principle Detector Assembly).  

Installation, Testing, and Maintenance of Backflow Prevention Assemblies

In Palm Beach County, the Water Utilities Department accepts and approves testable backflow prevention assemblies which have successfully completed the testing procedure of the Foundation for Hydraulic Research and Cross Connection Control at the University of Southern California. Backflow prevention assemblies must be in compliance with the testing requirements by the date shown on the compliance notification letter. A follow-up notice will arrive after 30 days, and after 60 days water service may be discontinued if compliance has not been achieved. Backflow prevention assemblies can only be installed by Backflow Prevention Technicians who are State or County Licensed Plumbing Contractors or their employees who have Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester certification. These individuals are also recognized by the Water Utilities department in the performance of annual testing and maintenance of backflow prevention assemblies.  

Annual Backflow Testing is Required

The customer, as the owner of the Backflow Prevention Assembly,  is responsible to ensure installation, testing, and maintenance of the assembly is satisfactory.  Local municipalities require backflow inspections be performed on an annual basis. 

Back flow certifications are required for the following customers:

  • New construction connected to a newly installed water service; customer will be notified of the requirement of a backflow prevention assembly before service is activated.
  • New customers, who are connecting to the water service with an installed backflow prevention assembly, will be notified of the annual testing requirement for the backflow prevention assembly. 
  • Current customers with installed backflow prevention assemblies will also receive notification of the annual testing requirement. 

Backflow is testing following the installation of a backflow prevention assembly or following the repair or replacement of a backflow prevention assembly. After initial testing, the backflow prevention assembly must be tested annually. 

When you need an annual backflow inspection, call on the team at Flamingo Plumbing and Backflow Services, where you will find certified and licensed backflow prevention assembly testers approved to install backflow prevention assemblies and perform the needed annual testing and maintenance. Call today to schedule your backflow prevention assembly inspection, installation, or maintenance.