What is backflow testing for?

cleaning sewage

Testing your system

The word ‘backflow’ sounds simple and understated but is a serious health hazard to humans. Backflow is when unwanted water, usually wastewater, flows in an opposite direction, contaminating potable water with wastewater. To assure this isn’t happening, cities and communities perform backflow testing

That unwanted backflow water can contain dirty water from dishwashers, showers, sinks, and human waste. It can be filled with fertilizer, pesticides, and swimming pool chlorine. Think of everything you use water to rinse and wash off is what backflow contains. Not only is this a health issue, but it is also harmful to the pipes, causing them to corrode and leak.  With backflow testing, you can be assured there isn’t any backflow, or if there is, then you know to bring in a professional plumber. 

Having a safety device installed that prevent backflow  is available and helpful in case of any dramatic or unexpected change in water pressure. This backflow prevention device stops contaminated water from entering your clean water supply. If this device isn’t professionally installed and regularly tested, it allows contaminated water to enter the businesses and homes, creating health hazards. 

What causes backflow?

Backflow is caused by cross-connections within a plumbing system that may allow contaminants into the clean drinking water system. This occurs when the pressure in a tank is lower than the water system pressure, allowing the  contaminated water into the clean water system. 

Backflow also occurs when back pressure is created by higher water pressure used  in a fire protection system forces contaminated water  into the public clean water system. Backflow testing detects these possible contaminations happening so that they can be corrected before the contaminated water has the chance of harming any humans.

Is backflow testing necessary?

Our drinking water comes from underground by pressurized pipes that direct the water in one direction.  A cross connection safeguards that potable water is separated from non-potable water so that we have  clean, fresh water. Backflow testing is necessary to make sure there isn’t any water flowing the wrong direction. When water is allowed to run backwards, which can happen because of several things, our drinking water is contaminated and unsafe for consumption. 

Backflow testing is required by every business and multi-unit residential settings at the cross-connection point annually. This is done by a backflow test and gauge device. If local regulations do not require it, the business or multi-unit complexes can purchase a device and perform their own backflow testing. Backflow testing is imperative for maintaining a healthy environment any place that water is consumed or used for drinking. 

How often is backflow testing required?

In the state of Georgia, backflow testing equipment is required to adhere to the following: 

  • RPZ (Reduced Pressure Zone) assembly is required to be tested annually and the assembly to be rebuilt every five years. 
  • DCV (Double Check Valve) assembly is required to be tested every three years.

Does every house have a backflow preventer?

This is dictated by every local or state regulations.  Today, plumbing fixtures, backflow protection is typically built-in during manufacturing.  One example is a faucet spout is designed to terminate above a sink or tub’s flood rim level. In this manner, when a sink or tub has reached its flood level of contaminated water, like backed-up sewage, an air gap is created at the elevated spout, preventing it from backflowing. Every water using device in the home has a form of backflow prevention, including the dishwashers, refrigerator/ice makers, washing machines. Some appliance brands employ a built-in air gap for a backflow prevention method. 

septic system

How long does a backflow test take?

Once a professional plumber arrives, equipped with everything need to perform backflow testing and repairs, they will connect the backflow gauges to the backflow device. The water is turned off for approximately twenty minutes. Each device in the business or home is then tested, and if needed, repairs are completed at that time. Once all the backflow testing is completed and repairs are made, the water is turned on. 

Even landscaping drainage and water should have backflow testing each spring.  Before you hire a plumbing company or contractor to perform backflow testing, make certain the are trained and certified to perform backflow testing for irrigation systems.  Not all plumbing companies and contractors00 are trained and certified to perform backflow testing and repair backflow devices. 

As with any contractor work, you should ask to see their certification, licenses, and insurance as well as recent references. Your due diligence in checking the recent references could be the difference in a job well done and job you thought to be done and wasn’t.  Any error in backflow testing and repair could be the difference in your business or home being a healthy and safe place. Call 404-475-3009 today for your backflow testing in Marietta, GA.