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Backflow FAQ’s

Who is requiring backflow assemblies?

The United States Department of Environmental Protection adopted the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1974(revised it in 1986 and 1996) Public Law 99-339. In Georgia the cross-connection Control regulations are set forth in The Georgia Rules for Safe Drinking Water Chapter 391-3-5-.13. This made it the responsibility of the local water purveyors to enforce the cross-connection laws. To meet these responsibilities, The State of Georgia required each city to put together a cross-connection backflow prevention program in 1996. All new construction, both commercial and residential isrequired to install backflow devices at this time and will begin working with retrofitting residential locations in the future. To view the entire state law click: Georgia Backflow Regulations

What is backflow?

Backflow is a water condition that must be avoided at any cost. Simply put, backflow occurs any time the flow in your water system reverses flow direction. For example, occasionally a car will strike a fire hydrant on a street. Water will gush out of the hydrant at full water pressure, causing a huge drop in water pressure at all buildings on the same circuit. With this drop of pressure, the direction of water flowing through pipes can cause a siphon effect and actually reverse flow direction. Whenever flow reverses, there is a strong likelihood of fresh water contamination. With this in mind, you clearly want to avoid mixing fresh water with non-potable water. This is what a backflow valve is designed to prevent.

What is a cross-connection? 

A cross-connection is a permanent or temporary connection between potable, or drinking water, and anything which can pollute or contaminate the water supply. Cross connection control is simply a program that is designed to take safeguards necessary to protect each County’s water supply. Potentially all water services are affected by possible cross connections, including residences for a number of reasons including water heaters, because of thermal expansion, and a typical garden hose. A cross connection can be corrected in several different ways. One is by disconnecting the source of potential contamination. Another is to install a backflow preventer, which allows water to flow in only one direction. A backflow assembly looks like a complicated and intimidating piece of equipment, but is a simple and very sound way of eliminating a direct or permanent link to a potential hazard. There are several types of backflow devices and the application is dependant upon the degree of hazard placed on the system. Pine Enterprises has extensive experience installing all the State approved makes and models.

What is the purpose of a backflow prevention assembly?

The backflow prevention valve prevents contamination of the city’s water main. Imagine, for example, you have a garden hose in a bucket of soapy water. The water pressure supplied to your property may drop unexpectedly. When this happens, the water flow to the water hose in the bucket of soapy water could reverse and siphon the contents of the bucket into the city’s water main. When the water pressure is restored, the soapy water from the bucket can contaminate the City’s water main. Every building on your street could then have soapy water flowing out of their water faucets. Obviously, on an industrial system, things could get even more extreme. Facilities that process acids, toxic chemicals or sewage need to prevent this backflow condition at any cost. This is where a backflow device comes in. During a time of water pressure fluctuation, the valve will prevent the facility’s materials from flowing into the city’s water system.

How do I know if I need to install a backflow assembly?

All commercial businesses in the State of Georgia and Florida require at minimum a Double Check Valve Device. Most homes in Georgia will have a different device which is referred to as a Dual Check Backflow Device. Your local water authority can assist you with the correct backflow assembly required if you do not currently have one installed.

Who can install a backflow assembly?

Only a State Licensed Master Plumber can legally install or repair a backflow device which then must be tested by a certified backflow tester. Some municipalities allow Utility Contractors to install backflow assemblies as well. Pine Enterprises has you covered either way, we are a licensed Utility Contractor and have many licensed Master Plumbers!

How much does a backflow assembly cost?

Backflow valves range in size from 1/2 of an inch (homes and small businesses) to 12 inches (for Large Facilities). Valve prices vary according to line and meter size and size of device required. Pine Enterprises will be glad to provide you with a free estimate for your specific site.

What maintenance and inspection is required for backflow?

Backflow valves must be tested and certified when installed and at least once per year thereafter. Most commercial devices can be tested in about one hour. After completion of test, the owner of the backflow device is given a certified test report. Most valves pass inspection, but, if the device fails, you have thirty days to have it repaired or replaced. All newly installed devices must be tested within five days and the test results sent to the County’s Utilities Department within 10 days which the county keeps on file. The tester also keeps a copy of the test results for their record.