What To Expect During A Backflow Prevention Device Test

Category: Save Water

Although for most business owners it’s a necessary part of running a commercial business, no one wants to deal with plumbing issues. One of the things you want to avoid if possible is for your plumbing system to backflow. If left undealt with, backflow is a serious matter because it can cause contamination to your building or neighbourhood’s water supply and reach a point when water becomes unsafe for drinking. The key to keeping your plumbing working properly on your business premises is preventative maintenance and monitoring. Here’s what you need to know about backflow and what to expect during a backflow prevention device test.

1. What is backflow?

Water supply systems are designed to ensure that water flows into your commercial property at a consistent pressure so that it can flow consistently from the tap or other fixture. If the pressure is not maintained then pressure in the pipe may allow contaminated water from your business premises to be drawn back into the main water supply system. This is known as backflow.

Backflow can only occur when the water delivery main is at a lower pressure than your plumbing system. This will happen when there is an increased demand for water or when your there is a ruptured or burst water mains.

The disturbing thing about backflow is that there are few signs to detect there is a problem in the first place. There may be discolouration or a smell from tap water however without the proper checks is it likely that no one will notice until it’s too late and the consumption of polluted water leads to nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and other ill-effects. That’s why following statutory requirements for backflow prevention device testing is a must for your health and others.

2. Why does your plumbing system need to be tested for backflow?

Backflow testing is an essential component of business maintenance. It is a requirement of most councils for business owners to perform backflow testing if they have any of the following on their commercial site:

  • An irrigation system
  • Fire hose reels or hydrants
  • Water outlets that are in proximity to pollutants, grease traps or chemicals
  • An underground rainwater tank that has mains to the water backup
  • Undertake commercial activity or run machinery that is connected to the mains.

3. Types of backflow prevention devices

To safeguard and conserve safe drinking water, backflow prevention devices are required by Australian Standards, National Plumbing and Drainage Code (AS 3500.1), the national plumbing standard.

Backflow prevention devices help to ensure that where there is a cross connection to the water supply, the drinking water is protected against possible contaminants and are installed where there is a risk of contaminated fluids entering the water supply pipes. As a condition of connecting to the water supply, all commercial and industrial properties are required to install a backflow prevention device at the main meter. They are available in three hazard ratings: high, medium and low depending on the risk of the property of backflow:

  • Low risk - The water supply could constitute a nuisance but not endanger health or cause injury
  • Medium risk - The water supply could endanger health
  • High risk - The water supply has the potential to cause death or result in long term health effects

All high and medium backflow prevention devices must be inspected annually.

4. Removing or replacing a device

You should have regular backflow testing to determine whether your backflow prevention device is working correctly. If it is, then there will be clean water supplied to your commercial property with no contaminants like animal faeces, pesticides and fertilizers. If not, then you may be putting the health of your employees, visitors, customers and nearby properties at risk by being exposed to contaminated drinking water and becomes a potential OHS legal liability.

A testable backflow device will require annual testing by a licensed plumber with backflow accreditation. You need to ensure that the plumber you engage with has the correct licence endorsement as not all plumbers are licensed to carry out the testing of backflow prevention devices. It is the responsibility of the plumber to forward the results of the backflow prevention test to the Council or regulatory authority within 10 days after testing the device.

To avoid expensive plumbing repairs and keep on top of things, you should always be proactive in getting a professional commercial plumber in to see whether you need to remove or replace a backwater prevention device so you can catch the problem before it can wreak havoc on your business premises and wallet. Better still, it’s best to partner with a plumbing company that has been around for a long time and has a number of experienced certified backflow professionals to assist when you need an annual inspection of your backflow prevention devices.

Do you want to ensure that your water is not contaminated and is safe to drink? For your continued well-being and to save money on future plumbing bills give us a call today and Laser Plumbing can perform a backflow prevention device inspection.