We get this question like clockwork every year when our customers receive the notice that annual testing of their backflow assembly is coming due. We get many incoming calls asking, “why?” So, let us dive into at least three answers to this question – 1) design and operation of the backflow assembly, 2) common sense, and 3) state regulations and manufacturer recommendations.
Backflow assemblies are manufactured with epoxy coated or stainless-steel bodies and internal checks and O-rings that are made with a different variety of rubber compounds. Some don’t perform as well with our soft water supply and it impacts their performance. Some assembly bodies are notorious for scaling and severe rusting that will foul the checks. Backflow assemblies with hinged checks instead of poppet checks are known for collecting sand and debris and becoming non-operational due to this fouling. All of these factors are the reason that an ongoing inspection maintenance program is necessary for proper operation.
In essence, backflow assemblies are simple mechanical devices. For proper operation, a maintenance program is necessary for your automobile, heating and cooling units, lawnmowers, etc. Why shouldn’t the same thought process apply to your backflow prevention assembly? The backflow assembly is installed to protect the public water supply. Without ensuring it is operating properly, a backflow incident could put the quality of the water supply at risk.
Because of the design and operation of a backflow prevention assembly, and the importance of protecting the water supply, all manufacturers recommend annual testing. The Oregon cross-connection regulations and the Sunrise Water Authority ordinance go one step further and require annual testing to assure that the devices are in operation and performing as they were designed.
While annual testing of your backflow device is required by state regulations, it is important to remember that doing so contributes to the safety of the water supply for your family, neighbors and every customer that uses Sunrise water. Visit www.sunrisewater.com/BackflowInfo for more information about backflow and cross-connection.