If water distribution systems were designed with the intention of the liquid flowing in one direction only, then the exact opposite of that would be pretty catastrophic, right? Well, it happens often enough for there to be a name for it – it’s called ‘backflow’.
It just doesn’t sound like something that you’d want to happen, does it? To us, it just sounds wrong – maybe because we know exactly what it is and entails, but you should, too.
So in an effort to make sure you don’t get stuck with your tail between your legs, here’s why you don’t want backflow:
- It pushes harmful substances like used water, industrial fluids and/or gases back into the plumbing system, thus infiltrating pipes that distribute potable (drinkable) water
- Toilet odours, vapors, and even solid contents can be drawn into household plumbing
- It’s plain-old dangerous, harmful to your health and for lack of a better word, gross
In fact, Western Australian law now requires that a backflow prevention device be installed on all properties with a medium to high risk of contamination of potable water. This will stop things like the reverse flow of chemicals and/or other contaminants that we’re sure you already know all too well about since you’re a human being.
So, where do we step in?
Or should we say, come running in at full speed with an expression of unimaginable excitement on our face?
Plumbdog is your one-stop backflow prevention expert in the Perth metro, with a multitude of professional services that include:
- Backflow prevention testing, inspection, repairs and maintenance
- Installation of Australian Standard 2845.3 compliant backflow devices and backflow prevention valves
- Liaising with water utilities (pretty much barking back and forth)
Who is at risk of backflow?
Backflow prevention is most important in commercial plumbing where the safety of employees and the general public is paramount. For example, where there is a risk of chemical-contaminated water entering drinkable tap water in company cafes, tea rooms, bathrooms or drinking fountains. Common sources of contamination are industrial workshops, manufacturing operations, and commercial agriculture practices that utilise pest control chemicals and fertilisers. Other sources include foot spas, swimming pools, and areas where there is a medium to high risk of contaminated water backflow.
“What are my obligations?”
Backflow prevention devices must be installed at the property boundary’s water meter, protecting the potable water supply for the entire property. This method of boundary protection is called containment. A backflow preventer eliminates the risk of contamination at any cross-connection points in the plumbing system, ensuring the safety and health of your family, employees, and any thirsty puppy that makes a stop at the office – you know it happens.
Backflow prevention device types vary, with some more common than others. From an Air Gap to an Atmospheric Vacuum Breaker (AVB), or a Chemigation Valve to a Reduced Pressure Zone device, the list goes on. These devices must undergo backflow testing at commissioning, after any maintenance, and at least every 12 months thereafter by a licensed plumber who has permission to test devices utilised in backflow plumbing.
Water Corporation will send an annual letter to the property owner regarding backflow device maintenance. Failure to maintain such a backflow device with the appropriate backflow testing procedures will result in a non-compliance notice and a possible fine of up to $2,000. On top of this, you’ll get a daily penalty for as long as the owner fails to comply with the terms of the notice.
Need some help? Contact Plumbdog
Our experienced team can advise you on all your backflow needs and help keep your backflow devices in top working order, safeguarding your employees and customers. From brand new installations to high-quality repairs, or even just some friendly advice, choose Perth’s specialist.
If any of this gets your tail wagging, give us a whistle. We’re open five days a week from 8am to 4:30pm.