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About Backflow Prevention

About Backflow Tech

About Testing

About Backflow Prevention

What is backflow?
Backflow is an undesirable reversal of the flow of water in a water system (potentially causing non-potable water to flow into the potable water supply). When unprotected backflow occurs it can pose a significant health hazard to water consumers; causing illness and death.

It is caused by two conditions: backsiphonage and backpressure. Backsiphonage occurs when there is a drop in supply line pressure which has the same effect on water in the pipes as sucking on a straw. Backpressure forces a reversal in flow and most often results from the weight of water above the point of use, from expansion in the volume of water in the system due to a rise in water temperature, or from the creation of downstream pressure due to the use of pumps or similar mechanical devices.

What is a Backflow Prevention Assembly (BPA)?
A BPA is a hydro-mechanical device designed to prevent backflow.

Where are BPAs located?
BPAs are most often found on a location's main service line where they prevent on-site contaminants from polluting the public supply of drinking water. They are also found at various locations within a building to protect the building's occupants from contamination in one part of the building from affecting the water supply throughout the building. A very common application is to use a BPA to protect the drinking water in a building from the tainted water contained in the fire sprinkler system.

Why does a BPA need to be tested each year? (link to state & water district regs?)
BPAs are precision mechanical devices which are subject to significant pressures, temperature changes, and chemical exposures (even clean drinking water contains chlorine, bromine, fluoride and other chemicals which can degrade rubber, plastic and metal BPA components). Testing to ensure that a BPA is functioning properly and within appropriate tolerances is essential to safeguarding the health of water consumers.

What would cause a BPA to fail the test? How long do they last?
BPA performance can be compromised by accumulated debris in internal check valves, by component failure or degradation, or by structural breaches (most often the result of freeze-related damage. If located in a warm, ventilated and well drained environment a properly-maintained BPA can perform effectively for decades.

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About Backflow Tech

How long have you been in business?
Backflow Tech has served customers in Colorado for more than 35 years --- since 1985.

Who certifies your testers?
Out testers are certified by ASSE (American Society of Sanitary Engineering), ABPA (American Backflow Prevention Association) or both.

What does a tester need to know?
Testers must master testing procedures from their certifying body for all types and sizes of BPAs and must learn how to properly maintain/repair/replace all of the components of all types and sizes of BPAs. All Backflow Tech testers complete additional training in properly testing backflow assemblies installed on fire suppression systems.

Are you insured?
Backflow Tech maintains greater-than-average business liability and worker's compensation insurance.

Do you install or replace BPAs also?
We contract with licensed BPA plumbing specialists to support our customers with high-quality installation and replacement.

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About Testing

How do I know if I need a test?
In most cases, your water company will send you an annual notice that you must test a backflow assembly; usually specifying if it is on your domestic, irrigation, or fire line. Generally they will also advise you to use that tester's visit to ensure that you have adequately protected your drinking water from on-site sources of contamination. Those additional devices also require annual testing.

What if my BPA fails the test?
If your assembly fails the test, Backflow Tech will repair the device (if possible) and then re-test it. In some cases, the assembly might require replacement. It is our statutory obligation to notify your water company of a device in a temporarily failed state, but we will work with you and them to ensure that you continue to receive water until a replacement assembly can be installed and tested.

What do you test for?
We test the internal mechanical components of the assembly to make sure that water flows to your building when you need it, and that the assembly is protecting you and the public water supply from contamination in the event of backflow.

Do I need to do anything to prepare for a test?
Please provide us with clear and detailed directions to your BPAs (if you can), and advise us if it will be necessary to work in a confined-entry space or in a location requiring special safety measures, if it will be necessary to take a fire or safety alarm service off-line, if there are any unusual access considerations (time of day, security measures, special parking), and if a brief disruption to your water supply might pose a significant inconvenience or hazard.

How long will a test take?
Typically less than one half hour per device if no repair is necessary.

Will you shut off the water during a test?
It is necessary to shut off the water during a test, but Backflow Tech testers are trained to minimize inconvenience to our customers. If multiple devices need to be tested at a location, our testers restore service between device tests. In the event that an assembly needs repair, our testers carry a large inventory of parts so that service disruption can be minimized.

Will a test or repair make a mess?
Testing a BPA demands some flow of water, but a proper BPA installation should provide for adequate drainage. It is a standard and required practice for Backflow Tech testers to remove excess water and discarded parts from any work site. Our goal is to leave any job site at least as well-maintained as it was before our visit.

Do you disable my fire sprinkler system during a test?
It is necessary to temporarily disable fire sprinkler systems water during a test, but Backflow Tech testers are trained to properly notify monitoring companies and fire departments, to minimize the duration of shut-off, to implement fire watch procedures when necessary, to perform a main drain test as needed, and to confirm that the fire alarm system has been restored to a ready state at the conclusion of the testing process.

How will the water company know I have passed the test?
We will notify your water company of your test results; typically within three days of the completion of your test. When it is necessary, or at a customer's request, we would be pleased to contact the water authority sooner by phone or to expedite the transmission of your test results.

Will I get a copy of the test report?
Absolutely. If a customer is present at the time a test is conducted, we provide a copy of the report which will be sent to the water company. Otherwise, we send a copy to the customer at the same time we forward one to the water company.

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