What is Backflow?
Put simply, backflow is the return of any substance into the system from which it exited. For example, water could flow into your irrigation system, but then that water may push or settle back into your main water pipe. That could be a problem if dirt or contaminants somehow entered your irrigation piping, whether that is because of a break in a pipe or just due to the openings in your sprinkler heads. You don’t want that contaminated water going back into your clean water, and the city doesn’t want it going back into theirs!
What is Cross Connection?
Cross Connection is the point at which the public water supply can or does meet any other polluting element. The water faucet for a hose is a cross connection point because a polluting element could potentially enter through the hose and continue into the clean water supply.
What is a Backflow device?
A backflow device, technically called a Backflow Prevention Assembly Device, is any device that prevents backflow at a cross connection point. There are many different makes and models of these devices depending on the hazard they are connected to.
Why would my Device fail?
These devices have many things working against them that could cause a failure. If you do not winterize your device and irrigation system (which is blowing the water out in preparation for freezing temperatures), the water in your device could freeze which actually may crack the body of your device. This is usually irreparable and the whole device would need to be replaced. There could be debris in the water that passes through the device, parts may start to rust and corrode, rubber components on the inside could begin to wear over time, or you could have an old device or an old model. Sometimes the repair will be simple, easy, and quick. Other repairs require more, or more expensive, parts. And other issues cannot be fixed, requiring a full device replacement. We are able to provide all of these solutions and we will communicate clearly with you about what is needed.
Where can I find information about my backflow?
You have a couple of options. Your water department should send you notices, which will list the law or policy about backflow testing, due date, contact information for your water department, your account information, and/or specific information about your backflow device. If any of that information is not listed, you can use their contact information to reach out and inquire. Your water department will be happy to provide your information. Certain water departments also require additional information included on the test report, submitted by your backflow tester. If you are in Bellevue, Bellingham, Chelan County, Covington, East Wenatchee, Mercer Island, Wenatchee, Woodinville, or Issaquah areas, you will need to provide your specific code upon scheduling your test. This will either be a Tester Access Code, Hazard ID Number, Assembly ID, or Account Number.
What happens if I don’t test?
The Washington State Department of Health requires your backflow device to be tested once per year. Your water department enforces that law. They will be the ones setting your due date, sending you your notices, and eventually providing the repercussions. Most water departments in Washington State have a system of a 3-notice structure. Once your first notice is received, you have 30 days to submit your backflow test, or by the end of that month. If you miss that deadline, you move into your second notice, which will usually include a warning as to the repercussions to come. Once your second deadline is missed, there is more variation between water departments. You could receive a final notice which has a date set for either receiving fines or having your water fully shut off. Others do not send a 3rd notice at all. It is always best to have your device tested during your 1st notice, or even early. You never know if there will be complications or if your device may need repair. In those cases, another visit will need to be scheduled which pushes the date of the final submission.