The Importance of Backflow Testing
The reversal of the usual directional flow of water in a piping system is referred to as backflow or back siphonage. It happens when the pressure in the water delivery main falls below that of the internal plumbing system. Backflow can also occur due to the bursting of the water main or during a period of high water demand such firefighting situations.
Back siphonage also arises when a bore pump, attached to the internal piping system, pumps water at a higher pressure than the water mains pressure. Backflow is risky because it can lead to the entry of contaminants during periods of high pressure.
Installing a backflow preventing gadget
Polluted water poses serious health concerns to consumers and the society at large. This situation emphasises the need to install backflow prevention devices to prevent water contamination.
The water services Act 2012
- Due to the potential risks associated with backflow incidents, the regulations acts require all affected parties to install the devices at your property’s boundary.
- Failure to comply attracts penalties of up to $5000 or a daily fine or $500 for non-compliance. Only a licensed plumber can do the installation.
- The regulations also provide us with the power to restrict or disconnect water supply to prevent the contamination of drinking water.
When should you install the device?
Below is a list of building application types that qualify for backflow risk assessments:
- New building developments
- Redevelopments of already existing structures
- Alterations to any existing water channels
- Commercial structures or community residential areas where no water service applications are included (applies when there is a current meter)
- Fire service applications
- Applications where the water service size is more than 25mm except fire services where service size does not affect the application.
- When approval is made, the applicant will be notified of the property’s backflow risk rating depending on site-specific activities. Modern corporation meters measuring 20mm and 25mm in size do come with integrated dual check valves to keep track of water pressure.
Risk ratings explained
Backflow risk can be classified as either high, medium or low.
- Low risk refers to any connection in the drinking water supply that causes a nuisance but is not significant to pose health risks.
- Medium risk is any practice or connection in the plumbing system that can endanger people’s health.
- High risk is any practice or device in the plumbing system that is capable of causing death.
Determining backflow risk
Site-specific activity is what determines the rating. Commercial and industrial facilities tend to have a high initial risk rating.
Applicants can appeal if they feel disagree with the rating assigned to their property. Appeals should be addressed to the water corporation within 28 days.
Registration and maintenance of backflow prevention device
Any backflow device installed at the boundary must be registered and the information submitted to the water corporation by a recognised plumber. Backflow Testing and maintenance are mandatory after every 12 months after which a report is to be filed online within five days of conducting the test.