Backflow Testing & Prevention
One of the greatest risks to contamination of your drinking water may be you and your neighbors. Experts recognize that the manner in which end users improperly connect to, under protect, and/or utilize the water are the leading causes of contamination.
Contamination of the drinking/potable water system results from backflow through cross-connections with private plumbing fixtures, appliances, water utilization equipment, or in general, under protected water system outlets. A cross-connection is the physical connection between the potable water system and an end use where a potential hazard exists. Backflow is the undesired reverse flow of contaminants into the potable water from such hazards and is typically driven by common but unfavorable hydraulic events in either the public or private water distribution system.
Over the last 30 years or so backflow prevention assemblies have been installed on residential properties to mitigate the hazards of cross connections. A backflow prevention assembly is a one-way appurtenance (an assembly of check valves), that only allows water to flow in the desired direction and physically impedes reverse flow. However, there is a limited life expectancy for the working components of a backflow prevention assembly. These assemblies can fail for a number of reasons: sediment or debris can block their proper function, unprotected cross-connections may exist stemming from an oversight during original construction, or detrimental plumbing changes may have been made to the property over time. As a result, federal and state regulations require purveyors to have a viable cross-connection control program (CCP) to ensure that adequate backflow protection is not only in place, but that it is also maintained in good working order.
Annual testing of backflow prevention assemblies is required to ensure proper functionality. The test is a physical measuring of pressure differentials to ensure the assemblies’ internal working components are still functioning properly. Most plumbing codes require that all property owners maintain records pertaining to their testable backflow prevention assemblies. If you are a property owner and this is not part of your current routine and records, now is a great time to get started. Backflow contamination is a serious problem and the consequences of a backflow event can be dire, including serious property damage, illness, and even death. If you are found responsible for a cross-connection, whether unprotected, improperly protected or improperly maintained, you may be held financially liable for any of the aforementioned consequences.
Maryland State Plumbing Code requires the installation and testing of backflow prevention assemblies to be performed by licensed plumbers who also posses certification as a backflow technician. Sanford Kramer Plumbing holds both of these credentials and we are ready, willing and able to help you with all of your backflow needs.