Is It Time to Test Your Residential Backflow Preventer?
Backflow is a term used to describe the cross-contamination of a freshwater supply with bacteria and contaminant-filled sewage water. Backflow is a major concern for commercial buildings, where cross-connections between the freshwater supply and the wastewater system can lead to water flowing the wrong direction and sewage entering the potable water. This can occur because of a sudden drop in pressure on the freshwater side—an event known as backsiphonage—as a result of an abrupt large demand on water, such as from firefighting or sprinklers. However, backflow can result from an increase in pressure from the wastewater side as well.
To prevent cross-contamination, a device known as a backflow preventer closes a valve to stop water flowing the wrong direction. This is a basic device for businesses, but it sometimes is used for residential buildings as well. Although there are fewer cross-connections for homes, it’s possible for the freshwater system to draw up contaminated water from exterior connections, such as a hose sitting in a stagnant pool of water, through backsiphonage.
If your house has a backflow preventer, you may not even realize it… until you receive a notification from the city that the device requires testing. If you receive such a notification, you can’t do the check yourself! This job must be done by a certified plumber who can look over the backflow preventer and give it an official clean bill of health. Should your backflow preventer fail the test, the plumber can offer repairs or a replacement for the unit.
If you find that you require a backflow prevention check, repair, or replacement in Rockville, MD or the surrounding areas, you can contact our plumbers to handle it. They are certified for commercial and residential backflow prevention testing as well as any other services you may require.
Mallick Plumbing & Heating is the Service Contractor of Choice in Silver Spring, MD and Montgomery County.
Certified Backflow Testers - Montgomery County
In New York State, individuals who test backflow prevention devices for the purpose of protecting the public water supply are required to hold a valid certification issued pursuant to 10 NYCRR Section 5-1.31. Below is a current list of New York State certified backflow prevention device testers. For more information on contacting any of these individuals, please contact your County Health Department or State District Office, or email the Bureau of Water Supply Protection.
|Amsterdam||Aaron D. Greenhalgh||11496||7/31/2022|
|Amsterdam||George R. McCumber||13103||7/31/2022|
|Esperance||Jeremy J. Wison||11561||8/31/2022|
|Fort Plain||Leigh C. Kakos||10936||4/30/2024|
|Johnstown||Russell H. Jones||6721||4/30/2023|
|St. Johnsville||Tony Possemato||10754||11/30/2023|
Limitations for homeowners
Owners of single-family homes and townhomes can only install or replace “non-testable” backflow devices including atmospheric vacuum breakers (std. no. ASSE 1001); hose bibb vacuum breakers (std. nos. ASSE 1011 and 1019); dual check valves (std. no. ASSE1024); and dual check valves with atmospheric vent (std. no. ASSE 1012). Piggyback style townhomes and other forms of multi-unit construction are not included; these type properties contain shared plumbing systems and are commercial in nature, requiring licensed plumbing service firms to perform plumbing work.
Plumbing Service Firms
Besides being the water purveyor for much of Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties, MD, WSSC Water is also the plumbing inspection jurisdictional authority as established under Maryland law (Public Utilities Article). Per MD law, and subsequently, the WSSC Water Plumbing Code, only plumbing firms trading under the license of a registered/insured master plumber may provide plumbing services which include the installation, testing, and replacement of any “testable” backflow assembly.
Under the supervision of the registered master plumber, the firm may employ other licensed master plumbers or journeyman plumbers to perform general plumbing services. These individuals must be further certified to provide cross connection-related services such as testing and repairing/rebuilding “testable” backflow assemblies.
Courtesy List of Plumbing Service Firms
The following link is a list of certified firms who have declared they provide this specialty line of services. WSSC Water has validated their licensing credentials, but does not endorse these firms; you are free to choose any licensed firm.
Courtesy List of Cross-Connection Trainers
The following link is a list of certified instructors who are trained and certified to provide training to the plumbing service providers. Existing Master Plumbers and Journeyman Plumbers or candidates seeking either of these two licenses must obtain their training and certification from an approved trainer.
Initial training for first-time cross-connection technicians shall be a minimum of a 32-hour course and the certification is good for three years. Individuals seeking re-certification must complete an 8-hour course, which is also good for three years.
WSSC Water’s automated backflow tracking system does not permit for any grace period; you must be current with your certification and registered with the WSSC Water licensing department in order to submit test reports. For those who have taken a hiatus from providing services and have allowed their certification to lapse, recertification must be obtained within 12 months of expiration, or you will have to complete the full 32-hour course, in order to re-register.
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Backflow, Cross Connection & Thermal Expansion
Water is essential for life! We all know this for a fact, but we also depend on it to make our lives more comfortable, especially during the warmer months of the year when our usage increases. During the summer we are busy with many outdoor chores involving water such as filling a swimming pool, giving the family pet a bath, washing our cars, cleaning house siding and decks and watering or treating lawns and plants. But regardless the activity or time of year, it is important to keep in mind that it is everyone’s responsibility to protect our safe drinking water supply throughout the year.
Drinking Water Quality
Numerous tests are performed on Clarksville’s water by the expert staff at the water treatment plant to provide citizens with the safest and highest quality drinking water possible. We are proud to report that our drinking water meets and exceeds all federal and state drinking water standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The department goes even further to ensure the safety of our drinking water supply with our ongoing backflow and cross-connection prevention program. This program is mandated through federal and state regulations and City code.
Preventing Threats to Drinking Water
Both backflows and cross connections can pose serious threats to our drinking water supply. This page will explain why and how we can work together, as a responsible community, to prevent these threats. First it is important to know how a backflow or cross connection can occur and how they can result in contaminated water.
Winterize Backflow Preventers
Please remember to winterize your backflow preventer to protect it from freezing temperatures. A damaged backflow preventer cannot do its important job of preventing water from traveling backwards into your water system or even possibly allowing contaminated water to enter the City’s safe drinking water supply. Costly repairs and inspection fees for damaged backflow devices are the owner’s financial responsibility.
Backflow preventers are required on all water meters at commercial businesses, some home businesses and all residential irrigation systems. Call the cross-connection office at 931-553-2489 for help locating your device.
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