Backflow Prevention and Compliance
Misunderstood, Important…and It’s the Law.
Backflow prevention devices are designed to protect the public water supply against contamination.
Q. What is Backflow?
A. Backflow, as the term describes, is the opposite of normal water flow, where non-potable water or liquids flow back into the public water supply or back into your home or business drinking water system.
Q. Are Backflows Hazardous?
A. Considering that water in your home or business could be siphoned backwards into the public water main and cause public health threats, yes, backflows are potentially very hazardous.
Q. How Do Backflows Occur?
A. Backflow situations most often happen when water main breaks or damaged hydrants create low or negative street pressure.
Q. Are There Different Types of backflow prevention devices?
A. Yes. There are many types of devices but the most common residential deice is a Double Check Valve (DCV).
Responsibilities Under The Law
The Albertson Water District (AWD) is charged by New York State and the Nassau County Department of Health to enforce the use of protective backflow devices. Public Health Law § 225, New York State Sanitary Code, Part 5, § 5-1.31 (Cross-connection control), and Nassau County Public Health Ordinance, Article 6, § 15 (Cross-connection control) govern the use of underground irrigation systems and specify backflow regulations, including:
- Installation (or modification) of an underground irrigation system requires a permit.
- Installations must include a backflow prevention device.
- Inspection of completed systems prior to the issuance of a permit is mandatory.
- Annual testing by a NYS certified backflow tester is mandatory.
- Proper paperwork and test results must be submitted to the District.
Inaccurate or Incomplete Backflow Test Results Are Not Acceptable
Once the test has been performed and the device has passed, copies of the completed Report on Test and Maintenance of Backflow Prevention Device, must be submitted to the Nassau County Health
Department and the Albertson Water District. Rejection of backflow test result submissions are most often inaccurate or incomplete because:
- Water meter readings do not properly correspond to AWD records.
- Check valve serial numbers are incorrect.
- The recorded system pressure is inaccurate.
- The test form is not signed by the consumer.
For these reasons as well as other irregularities, the test form may be rejected by the District.
Tips For Your Protection
- Always use certified backflow testers.
- All certified testers should have a backflow test kit (see image) and assorted tools, not just a pad and pencil!
- A proper backflow test should take a minimum of 15 minutes.
- Pay your tester to avoid any delay in the test being submitted to the District.
- Many testers will not submit the test results until payment is received or your check clears.
- For a list of certified backflow testers, click here.
Remember: Backflow testing is not only the right thing to do, it is the law.