The cost of a backflow prevention device for residential protection can be anywhere from $100-$200.00 dollars plus the cost of having a licensed plumber install it. Backflow devices for other applications may be substantially more expensive.
Contamination or pollution of a water system is usually brought about by a cross-connection to any systems containing auxiliary water supplies which may be polluted or contaminated; irrigation systems which may be polluted or contaminated with fertilizers, pesticides or other objectionable materials. Thus, using a hose-attached sprayer for application of pesticides, solvents, cleaning products, etc; flushing a car’s cooling system with a garden hose; or filling a swimming pool can all create situations where cross-connection can occur. Without proper protection, devices as useful as your garden hose have the potential to poison your home’s water supply. In fact, over half of the nation’s cross-connections involve unprotected garden hoses!
The state regulations and/or the Uniform Plumbing Code require testing all assemblies annually. But regulations aside, keeping all of your assemblies in good condition not only reduces your legal liability exposure, it also lowers your actual maintenance costs as well. It’s smart to catch problems while they’re minor, rather than wait until an emergency arises, such as when a device starts to dump hundreds of gallons of water per minute out it’s relief valve into an office or room. Annually testing your devices is the only way to guarantee that all internal components of your device are working.
On-site assemblies are devices installed in your facilities at the point of cross connection to prevent on-site backflow occurrences. It is these devices that actually provide protection to your staff and/or customers, rather than the assemblies at the meter, which protect the city main lines. The plumbing code requires that on site assemblies be tested annually also.
Water purveyors have started cross-connection control programs, and must mandate the installation and annual testing of backflow devices at the user’s meter for system protection, wherever an actual or a potential backflow hazard exists on site.
YES! Property owners who fail to maintain their plumbing systems up to code, or fail to install backflow assemblies where needed or to test these assemblies annually are generally liable for backflow incidents on site, regardless of the actual cause of the incident. Landlords who do not adequately monitor the activities of tenants on site are generally responsible for damages or injuries to other tenants.
Although there is no perfect solution to eliminate the theft of the units, and, in fact, those who have taken the
measures outlined below have still experienced the loss of the valves, the following actions are being recommended
by law enforcement, landscapers and plumbers:
Enclose your backflow valve(s) with a protective cage (if you haven’t already).
Secure it with a non-tamperproof lock (a breakaway lock is easily opened and not recommended).
In case of emergency, your maintenance crew should have a copy of the lock’s key.
The cage should be securely mounted to the ground.
Have the cage spot-welded to the bolts to prevent its removal.
Stamp, label or identify the metal with a recognizable code or name of your own.
Post a visible warning sign with something to the effect of: “Theft and damage to this unit will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Camouflage the unit by planting screening landscape a foot or so from the backflow cage. This will make the unit less visible while still allowing for maintenance access if needed. * Inform your onsite building management, security or other staff of the problem and make sure they keep an eye out for thieves. It’s also a good idea to inform tenants so they can contact you should they see something suspicious near these valves.
Today, thousands of dollars are spent replacing or fixing stolen or damaged backflow preventer devices and backflow valves. Left unprotected, your backflow device is extremely vulnerable for theft. The Guardian Enclosure cage™ is designed to shield your backflow device safely and aesthetically. A backflow preventer with a security box can protect your company’s backflow device from theft easily.Guardian Enclosure cage™ s are backflow enclosures that are designed for any backflow preventer, whether you use Wilkins Backflow, Watts Backflow, Febco or any others.
Installation of an approved backflow preventer is required at the service connection to any premise where there is an auxiliary supply or system – even if there is no connection or cross-connection. For example, anyone with an alternate source of water such as a well, spring, stream, etc., or anyone with an irrigation system, or two or more meters serving one parcel must have a backflow prevention device. Commercial and professional buildings with fire sprinklers, lab equipment, boilers, etc, are further examples of premises that require a backflow preventer.
Each Municipality in each State, has Rules and Regulations governing backflow preventer requirements. Most require the owner of any premises on which protective devices are installed to have certified annual inspections made of such devices for their water tightness and reliability. The device shall be serviced, overhauled, or replaced whenever found to be defective. Certified records of such inspections and/or repairs are required to be submitted to their respective Districts. You may engage any Backflow Prevention Tester who is USC and AWWA certified to perform the test.
YES! Backflow incidents across the country often lead to property damage, injuries and even death. In the worst backflow incident on record, over 1500 persons became ill and 98 persons died. Trade journals and magazines reveal new cases every month.
YES! Backflow is a constant possibility in virtually any plumbing system, and cannot generally be engineered out of a systemwithout the installation and maintenance of appropriate backflow devices or measures. Backflow incidents most often are caused when water pressure is lost temporarily, which allows back-siphonage to occur.
Water is ordinarily distributed in one direction: from the water supplier to the consumer. However, it is not uncommon for this to be changed by various hydraulic conditions. The flow of water may be reversed in times of low pressure or flow interruption, flowing from the consumer back to the water supplier. If this consumer happens to have non-potable substances (those not suitable for human consumption) on the premises, these substances could make their way into the customer’s water pipes when backflow occurs. These substances could then get in to the water distribution system. This causes contamination or pollution of the water distribution system.
The physical connections between drinking water pipes and substances not meant for consumption are called cross-connections. To control these cross-connections and prevent backflow, a backflow preventer must be installed at the point of the cross-connection. These backflow preventers must be tested or inspected upon installation to assure they are operating properly. Additionally, the cross-connection controls must be tested or inspected annually to determine their continued capability to prevent backflow. For more information, check out West Coast Backflow and the Irrigation Association.
Any permanent or temporary connection between the potable water and any other non-potable fluid or substance is a cross-connection. A feed line to a cooling tower, a lawn sprinkler system or a hose dropped into a pesticide tank are some examples.
During the event the city water main has a break in the pipe, the pressure in the pipe can change and cause a backflow and cause things to siphon into the water mains. When a house is on fire, the fire department connects to the fire hydrant and starts pulling water from the system, this can cause a difference in pressure and cause a backflow in nearby buildings connected to the same water system. Fire sprinkler systems are fed and supplied from the same water for drinking. Water that supplies a fire sprinkler system is stored in the pipe waiting to put out a fire. Water that sits in a sealed system not being used becomes stagnate and grows bacteria. This water is supplied from the same pipe that supplies fresh drinking water and a backflow device is needed to keep the filled stagnate water from ever going backwards and contaminate the system in the event of a backflow . Every year you notice the city going around and flushing out the fire hydrants on the side of the road. Twice a year each fire hydrant is flushed to ensure it works, but also to flush out that stagnate water.
Water mains are fed from water sources and then feed buildings; this is a confusing network of pipes. The water supplier supplies water in a city water main to towns, buildings and houses. The water leaves the water tower then travels in water mains throughout the neighborhoods to each building in town. From the street back to the city is known as water main, from the street to each building is known as a water service. Then from the meter to the rest of the house is known as a water distribution system. Backflow devices are used once you have a water supply in a building and then connected to the system before feeding different applications.
Most people have seen a backflow device and never even knew it. A vacuum breaker on the end of a hose spigot is a form of backflow device. After you shut off the hose, the remaining water discharges on the lawn threw this vacuum breaker, like wise in the event of a backflow the vacuum breaker will pop open and break the siphon and not allow any water to go backwards into the building and into the water main system. Not all hose spigots have this built in vacuum breaker, and if your hose spigot is older than twenty years then there is a good chance you do not have this built in safety.
Backflow is simply the reversal of the normal flow of potable water. It can be harmful or deadly if chemicals or bacteria are back-siphoned into the potable water through a cross-connection with a non-potable source.
Backflow devices are used in fire sprinkler suppression systems, Lawn irrigation sprinkler systems, and domestic water for all residential and commercial buildings when required based on local plumbing code.
Backflow devices are all around us in everyday life, but most people have never seen one or know nothing or little about them. Domestic water mains feed our buildings; water is then used for the fire suppression systems, lawn irrigation systems, manufacturing equipment, commercial equipment, hair solons, dentist and medical offices, etc. Since the clean supplied water pipe feeds are connected too so many different applications in our everyday life’s, then the protection of a backflow device is needed. Backflow devices are installed to keep all the different applied applications from contaminating the water supply through backflow and or back pressure, protecting the water mains and drinking water.
Backflow is when a difference in water pressure or the change of water pressure throughout a section of pipe connected to other pipes. The change in pressure on a connected sealed system can cause water to flow backwards. When you turn the faucet on this is called the intended direction of flow. Backflow is when the difference in water pressure changes in a sealed water system and causes the flow of water backwards away from you, known as the wrong intended direction. This action will cause a siphon and pull and push water. When a pull out spray nozzle is left in a full sink of dirty water, in the event of a backflow could result in the chemicals or waste products in the sink to be pulled into the water pipes, then into the water service feeding that building then into the water main which then feeds other buildings. Resulting in other buildings connected to the same water system the risk of getting contaminated water. Backflow is also when you leave your garden house in your pool and in the event of a backflow, the pool water will be sucked into the system and contaminate the system by a siphon effect.