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Why Business Owners Should Test Backflow Prevention Devices

Updated: Feb 15, 2023




Backflow prevention devices are an integral component of a business’s water system. They ensure that the water provided to customers is safe and free from contaminants. It is important for business owners to have their backflow prevention devices tested regularly to so they are functioning properly. Backflow prevention device testing should be done at least once a year, and the testing should be done by a certified backflow prevention technician. The technician will be able to identify any potential issues, and make sure that the device is functioning properly. With regular testing, business owners can ensure that their customers are provided with safe and clean water.


Here are 5 specific reasons why a business owner should get their backflow prevention device tested:

  1. Legal requirements: Many cities and states have regulations that require backflow prevention devices to be tested annually to ensure that they are functioning properly. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines and penalties.

  2. Protecting public health: Backflow prevention devices are installed to prevent contaminated water from entering the public water supply, which can pose a risk to public health. Regular testing helps ensure that the device is functioning properly and providing the necessary protection.

  3. Protecting your business: Backflow prevention devices are designed to protect your business from the potential harm of contaminated water, such as damage to equipment, loss of revenue, and liability issues. Regular testing helps guarantee that your business is protected.

  4. Avoiding costly repairs: If a backflow prevention device fails, it can result in costly repairs to the device and the surrounding piping. Regular testing helps identify potential problems before they become more serious and expensive to fix.

  5. Maintaining insurance coverage: Some insurance policies may require regular testing of backflow prevention devices as a condition of coverage. Regular testing keeps your business is in compliance with these requirements and that your insurance coverage remains in effect.

Overall, regular testing of backflow prevention devices is an important part of maintaining the safety and protection of your business and the public water supply.


Backflow Prevention Device Testing Frequency

The frequency of testing for backflow prevention devices depends on local regulations and the specific type of device. In general, backflow prevention devices should be tested annually. Some states and localities may require more frequent testing, while others may allow for testing to be conducted less frequently. The testing of backflow prevention devices should be completed by a certified backflow prevention technician.



Who should Test My Backflow Prevention Device?

To become certified, technicians typically need to complete a training program and pass an exam. They must also demonstrate that they have the necessary experience and knowledge to test and maintain backflow prevention devices. After becoming certified, technicians must often complete continuing education courses to maintain their certification. If you are looking to hire a certified backflow prevention technician, ask for a copy of their license certification paperwork to prove that they are properly certified and up to date with their continuing education requirements.

There is also usually a certification required for technicians to test backflow prevention devices installed on fire service water lines. The specific certification requirements can vary by jurisdiction, but many states and local governments require technicians to be certified by a recognized testing organization.

In the United States, the American Backflow Prevention Association (ABPA) offers a certification program for backflow prevention device testers, which is recognized by many states. Training Research and Education for Environmental Occupations (TREEO) is another organization that offers a certification program for backflow prevention testers. There are also independent companies that have received approval by those certifying agencies to train backflow prevention testers on the proper testing procedures and requirements and to certify testers to perform backflow prevention device tests.

But remember, It is important to note that the specific requirements for backflow prevention device testing certification can vary depending on the jurisdiction, so it is recommended to check with local authorities to determine the specific requirements in your area.



Proper Backflow Prevention Device Testing Equipment

Backflow prevention testers are typically required to use calibrated testing equipment to perform backflow device tests. Calibrated testing equipment is necessary to ensure accurate and reliable results, which are critical for protecting public health and the environment.

The specific requirements for testing equipment calibration can vary by jurisdiction, but many states and local governments require testing equipment to be calibrated at regular intervals, such as annually. Some states and local governments also require testing equipment to be calibrated before each use, while others require it to be calibrated at least once per day of use.

In addition to calibrated testing equipment, backflow prevention testers are often required to use specific test procedures, which are outlined in industry standards, such as the American Water Works Association (AWWA) manual M14. These procedures help ensure that backflow device tests are conducted in a consistent and reliable manner and provide a standard against which the results of the test can be compared.

Overall, the use of calibrated testing equipment is an important component of the backflow prevention device testing process and helps ensure that the tests are performed accurately and effectively, and that the public health and the environment are protected.



What to Do if Your Backflow Prevention Device Fails Test

If a business owner's backflow prevention device fails a backflow prevention test, they should take the following steps:




  1. Contact a licensed plumber or backflow prevention specialist: They will be able to diagnose the problem and make any necessary repairs or replacements to the backflow prevention device.

  2. Notify the local water authority: Most water authorities require notification when a backflow prevention device fails a test, as they need to know that the public water supply is no longer being protected.

  3. Schedule a follow-up test: After the necessary repairs or replacements have been made, a follow-up test should be scheduled to ensure that the backflow prevention device is functioning properly.

  4. Keep records of the repair and testing: The business owner should keep records of the repair and testing, including the date of the test, the results of the test, and any repairs or replacements made to the device. This information may be needed for future reference or for compliance with local regulations.

It's important for business owners to take the failure of a backflow prevention test seriously, as it can pose a threat to public health and the environment if not addressed promptly. By taking the steps outlined above, business owners can help ensure that their backflow prevention devices are functioning properly and protecting the public water supply.

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