Backflow Testing FAQ

Q: What is backflow?
A: Backflow is the undesirable reversal of the flow of water and/or mixtures of other liquids, gases or other substances into the distribution pipes for the potable supply of water from another source.

Q: What is a backflow prevention device?
A: An assembly containing two independently-acting, spring-loaded check valves with two tight closing shutoff valves attached at each end of the assembly. This device prevents backflow from other sources into the potable water supply. The assembly is fitted with test cocks for attaching the test equipment.

Q: How often should backflow devices be tested?
A: The state of California requires that backflow devices be tested annually.

Q: Who is responsible for the Backflow Prevention Program?
A: The California Department of Environmental Health has primary responsibility for ensuring the safety of the potable water supply, and your local water supplier is responsible for maintaining the public water system in compliance with federal and state drinking water standards.

Q: Who is the administrative authority of the Backflow Prevention Program?
A: Usually, your local city or Water District, but in some areas, the Department of Environmental Health has jurisdiction. The consumer is responsible for maintaining records of all tests and repairs made to backflow prevention devices on their property.

Q: What are the most common reasons backflow devices fail to pass annual certification?
A: Accumulation of debris, rust, and compression of the rubber valve seats and springs. Wear to the backflow body (mostly in older devices). A weakening of valve springs over time.

Q: Why does the water need to be turned off while testing?
A: All Backflows are fed directly from the water meter. Therefore, to perform a test or repair, the water must be shut down.

Q: Why do backflow devices need freeze protection?
A: Backflow devices are made of soft brass metal. When water freezes – it expands, which can cause the device to warp and fail.

Q: Are backflow cages necessary?
A: They are optional, although they can protect against vandalism, theft and accidental damage.

Q: I received a notice informing me that my backflow device is due for testing what do I do?
A: Call 800 891- 7710 or fax us the notice and test form(s) and we’ll ensure your tests are completed.

Q: I received a shut-off notice in the mail, what do I do now?
A: Let us notify the water purveyor that you have contracted us to perform your testing.