FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Why do I need a "Backflow Prevention Assembly" on my Sprinkler Irrigation System?
- The water that is used by your irrigation system is supplied by the same source as the water you drink, cook and bathe with. Pesticides, fertilizers and/or animal feces can collect in water pooled around your sprinkler heads, creating a potential for the contaminants to be drawn back through the sprinkler irrigation system (by means of Backflow or backsiphonage) and into your home. It is for this reason that you must have a properly functioning Backflow Prevention Assembly protecting your drinking water.
Why do I need my "Backflow Prevention Assembly" tested annually?
- Backflow Prevention Assemblies and Devices break or wear out, just like the parts of a car. By having your Backflow Prevention Assembly tested annually, you will help to ensure that the drinking water supplied to your home remains safe. Because of this many lower mainland cities have created this By-law to help insure the safety of your drinking water. We have Certified Backflow Assembly Testers on staff who have attended rigorous training, and are certified by the American Waterworks Association, British Columbia Section, to test your Backflow Prevention Assembly. Certified Testers can inspect, test, repair or replace all Backflow Prevention Assemblies and Devices.
Why have I never had to test my Backflow before?
- When your Backflow was installed it was tested prior to plumbing inspection, but because of the volume of Backflow preventers being installed and the large number of existing Backflow preventers in various lower mainland cities it is not easy for municipalities to keep you informed of when your Backflow is due to be tested. However, due to increased awareness of the importance of protecting our water many cities are taking better steps to inform people when their annual test is due.
What is a cross-connection?
- A cross-connection is any temporary or permanent connection between a public water system or consumer's potable (i.e., drinking) water system and any source or system containing non-potable water or other substances. An example is the piping between a public water system or consumer's potable water system and an auxiliary water system, cooling system, or irrigation system.
What is a Backflow preventer?
- A Backflow preventer is a means of mechanism to prevent Backflow. The basic means of preventing Backflow is an air gap, which either eliminated a cross-connection or provides a barrier to Backflow. The basic mechanism for preventing Backflow is a mechanical Backflow preventer, which provides a physical barrier to Backflow. The principal types of mechanical Backflow preventers are the reduced-pressure principle assembly, the pressure vacuum breaker assembly, and the double check valve assembly. A secondary type of mechanical Backflow preventer is the residential dual check valve.
What is an air gap?
- An air gap is a vertical, physical separation between the end of a water supply outlet and the flood-level rim of a receiving vessel. This separation must be at least twice the diameter of the water supply outlet and never less than one inch. An air gap is considered the maximum protection available against back pressure Backflow or backsiphonage, but is not always practical and can be easily bypassed
What is a reduced principle (RP) assembly?
- An RP is a mechanical Backflow preventer that consists of two independently acting, spring-loaded check valves with a hydraulically operating, mechanically independent, spring-loaded pressure differential relief valve between the check valves and below the first check valve. It includes shutoff valves at each end of the assembly and is equipped with test cocks. An RP is effective against back pressure and backsiphonage and may be used to isolate health or non-health hazards.
What is a pressure vacuum breaker (PVB) assembly?
- A PVB assembly is a mechanical preventer that consists of an independently acting, spring-loaded check valve and an independently acting, spring-loaded, air inlet valve on the discharge side of the check valve. It includes shutoff valves at each end of the assembly and is equipped with test cocks. A PVB may be used to isolate non- health hazards, but is effective against backsiphonage only.
What is a double check valve assembly?
- A DCVA is a mechanical Backflow preventer that consists of two independently acting, spring-loaded check valves. It includes shutoff valves at each end of the assembly and is equipped with test cocks. A DC is effective against back pressure Backflow and backsiphonage but should be used to isolate only non- health hazards.
How much will the test cost and does the City Charge a fee for Backflow testing?
- Our Price is $65 for the initial test and $55 for any additional test on the same premises for assemblies up to 1.25" and $85 for 1.5" and above. Some Cities will charge a fee that is additional to the price of the Backflow test. All prices exclude GST
Do your part and test your Backflow Preventer, to help ensure safe drinking water for all British Columbian's!