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National industry standards have been established for the testing of backflow prevention assemblies. Backflow prevention assemblies are mechanical assemblies, and as such, are subject to failure. Testing frequency standards were established to reduce both the assembly owner and public drinking water purveyor's liability.
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Many people become sick and some die each year as a result of drinking water that has become contaminated through unprotected cross connections. A cross connection is any connection between your drinking water supply and anything else that could allow the water to become contaminated or polluted.
The reversal of flow through an unprotected cross connection into the drinking water system is called backflow. Backflow prevention is the elimination of unprotected cross connections or protecting cross connections that can't be eliminated with an approved method of backflow prevention.The ultimate goal of backflow prevention is to protect your health and safety by protecting the quality of your drinking water supplies after they have been delivered to you.
A backflow prevention assembly is an approved mechanical unit installed on the water supply line between your drinking water system and any unprotected cross connection. It forms a mechanical barrier to prevent pollutants or contaminants from entering into your drinking water system.
A backflow prevention device is also an approved unit installed on the water supply line to protect your drinking water system against backflow. These devices are not as complex as a backflow prevention assembly, but are effective. Devices are limited to specific applications.
Backflow prevention assemblies must be tested upon initial installation, when repaired, and annually by a certified backflow technician. Backflow prevention devices do not require testing under current codes.
Backflow assemblies must meet certain testing criteria. If the assembly fails the test, it must be repaired and retested. The technician completing the testing must complete a Backflow Assembly Test Report.
One copy of the report should be given to you, the assembly owner. One copy is retained by the technician. A third copy must be sent to your water purveyor. The water purveyor is required by the Utah Rules for Public Drinking Water Systems to maintain an inventory of all backflow prevention assemblies. They must also keep a record of all tests and repairs made on those assemblies.
A cross-connection is a physical connection (piping configuration) between the drinking water system and anything else, including another water supply, that could allow pollutants or contaminants to backflow into the individual or public drinking water system.
Backflow is the reversal of flow of non-potable water or other substances back into the individual and I or public drinking water system. A backflow incident could carry pollutants or contaminants into our drinking water supplies making them unsafe to use.