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21 W. Broadway Rd Tempe, AZ 85282
City Wide Plumbing & Service Company
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Frequently Asked Questions about Backflow Prevention

Why do I need a Backflow device?

City and state code require annual testing of every backflow assembly device. You should receive a letter from your municipality stating the due date and the device must be tested within 30 days of the due date or the city may turn off your water. After testing the device, City Wide completes and remits the proper certification paperwork to the city.

Enclosures for your backflow device will add another layer of protection against vandalism or theft of the device. City Wide will customize an enclosure for your particular assembly location.

Typical Arizona City Rules and Procedures:
(excerpt taken from: City of Chandler)

ARTICLE 4 : Backflow and Cross-Connection Control Program
The adoption of Code in this chapter does not authorize any use or the continuation of any use of a structure or premises in violation of any City Ordinance on the effective date of this Code. Where discrepancies occur between Unified Development Manual text and Municode text, Municode text shall prevail.

52-34. Cross-connection control; purpose.

[The purpose of cross-connection control is:]

A. To protect the public potable water supply of the City of Chandler from the possibility of contamination or pollution by isolating within its customers' internal distribution system(s) or its customers' private water system(s) such contaminants or pollutants which could backflow into the public water supply system;

B. To promote the elimination or control of existing cross-connections, actual or potential, between the customers' in-plant potable water system(s) and nonpotable water systems, plumbing fixtures and industrial piping systems; and

C. To provide for the maintenance of a continuing program of cross-connection control which will systematically and effectively prevent the contamination or pollution of all potable water systems.

52-34.1. Responsibility.

The Director of Public Works shall be responsible for the protection of the public potable water distribution system from contamination or pollution due to the backflow of contaminants or pollutants through the water service connection.

52-34.2. Requirements.

If, in the judgment of the Director of Public Works, an approved backflow prevention device is required at the City's water service connection to any customer's premises for the safety of the water system, the Director of Public Works or his/her designated agent shall give notice in writing to the customer to install, operate, test, and maintain such an approved backflow prevention device at each service connection to his/her premises. The customer shall immediately install such approved device or devices at his/her own expense; and failure, refusal or inability on the part of the customer to install the device or devices immediately shall constitute a ground for discontinuing water service to the premises until such device or devices have been properly installed and tested for proper working order.

52-34.3. Exceptions.

In the case where residential homes incorporate the use of reclaimed wastewater as a water conservation measure, a backflow prevention device shall be installed by the City at the homebuilder's expense at the time of water meter installation. The device shall be installed in City right-of-way at the downstream side of the City water meter. The device shall be tested and maintained by the City. A reduced pressure principle device is the approved backflow prevention device where reclaimed wastewater is available as an auxiliary water supply.

(Ord. No. 2149, § 1.B, 9-13-90; Ord. No. 3060, § 2, 11-18-99)

52-35. Water system.

The water system shall be considered as made up of two (2) parts: the utility system and the customer system.

A. The utility system shall consist of the source facilities and the distribution system and shall include all those facilities of the water system under the complete control of the utility up to the point where the customer's system begins.

1. The source shall include all components of the facilities utilized in the production, treatment, storage and delivery of water to the distribution system.

2. The distribution system shall include the network of conduits used for the delivery of water from the source to the customer's system.

B. The customer's system shall include those parts of the facilities beyond the termination of the utility distribution system which are utilized in conveying utility delivered domestic water to points of use.

(Ord. No. 2149, § 1.B, 9-13-90; Ord. No. 3060, § 2, 11-18-99)

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52-36. Policy.

A. No water service connection to any premises shall be installed or maintained by the City unless the water supply is protected as required by State laws and regulations and this article. Service of water to any premises may be discontinued by the City if a backflow prevention device required by this article is not installed, tested, and maintained; or if it is found that a backflow prevention device has been removed or by-passed; or if an unprotected cross-connection exists on the premises. Service will not be restored until such conditions or defects are corrected.

B. The customer's system should be open for inspection at all reasonable times to authorized representatives of the City to determine whether cross-connections or other structural or sanitary hazards, including violations of these regulations, exist. When such a condition becomes known, the Director of Public Works may deny or immediately discontinue service to the premises by providing for a physical break in the service line until the customer has corrected the condition(s) in conformance with the State and City statutes relating to plumbing and water supplies and the regulations adopted pursuant thereto.

C. An approved backflow prevention device shall also be installed on each service line to a customer's water system in all cases before the first branch line leading off the service line wherever the following conditions exist:

1. In the case of premises having an auxiliary water supply which is not or may not be of safe bacteriological or chemical quality and which is not acceptable as an additional source by the Director of Public Works, the public water system shall be protected against backflow from the premises by installing a backflow prevention device in the service line appropriate to the degree of hazard.

2. In the case of premises on which any industrial fluids or any other objectionable substance is handled in such a fashion as to create an actual or potential hazard to the public water system, the public system shall be protected against backflow from the premises by installing a backflow prevention device in the service line appropriate to the degree of hazard. This shall include the handling of processed waters and waters originating from the utility system which have been subject to deterioration in quality.

3. In the case of premises having a) internal cross-connections that cannot be permanently corrected and controlled, or b) intricate plumbing and piping arrangements or where entry to all portions of the premises is not readily accessible for inspection purposes, making it impracticable or impossible to ascertain whether or not dangerous cross-connections exist, the public water system shall be protected against backflow from the premises by installing a backflow prevention device in the service line.

D. The type of protective device required shall depend upon the degree of hazard which exists as follows:

1. In the case of any premises where there is an auxiliary water supply and it is not subject to any of the following rules, the public water system shall be protected by an approved air-gap separation or an approved reduced pressure principle backflow prevention device.

2. In the case of any premises where there is water or substance that would be objectionable but not hazardous to health, if introduced into the public water system, the public water system shall be protected by an approved double check valve assembly.

3. In the case of any premises where there is any material dangerous to health which is handled in such a fashion as to create an actual or potential hazard to the public water system, the public water system shall be protected by an approved air-gap separation or an approved reduced pressure principle backflow prevention device. Examples of premises where these conditions will exist include chemical manufacturing plants, hospitals, mortuaries, plating plants, sewage treatment plants and sewage pumping stations.

4. In the case of any premises where there are "uncontrolled" cross-connections, either actual or potential, the public water system shall be protected by an approved air-gap separation or an approved reduced pressure principle backflow prevention device at the service connection.

5. In the case of any premises where, because of security requirements or other prohibitions or restrictions it is impossible or impracticable to make a complete in-plant cross-connection survey, the public water system shall be protected against backflow from the premises by the installation of a backflow prevention device in the service line. In this case, maximum protection will be required; that is, an approved air-gap separation or an approved reduced pressure principle backflow prevention device shall be installed on each service to the premises.

6. In the case of water tankers and spray tanks, an air-gap separation or an approved reduced pressure principle backflow prevention device is required.

E. Backflow prevention assemblies shall have at least the same cross-sectional area as the water service and/or meter. If the water supply cannot be temporarily interrupted for the testing of assemblies, in those instances where a continuous water supply is necessary, two (2) sets of backflow prevention assemblies shall be installed in parallel.

F. Any backflow prevention device required herein shall be of a model and size approved by the Director of Public Works. The term "approved backflow prevention device" shall mean a device that has been manufactured in full conformance with the standards established by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) entitled "AWWA C506-78 Standards for Reduced Pressure Principle and Double Check Valve Backflow Prevention Devices"; and have met completely the laboratory and field performance specifications of the Foundation for Cross-Connection Control and Hydraulic Research (FCCC & HR) of the University of Southern California; and has a local parts and service center. Backflow prevention assemblies connected to fire lines must also carry UL-FM approval.

The AWWA and FCCC & HR standard and specifications have been adopted by the Director of Public Works. Final approval shall be evidenced by a certificate of approval issued by an approved testing laboratory certifying full compliance with the AWWA standards and FCCC & HR specifications. The following testing laboratory has been qualified by the Director of Public Works to test and certify backflow prevention assemblies:

Foundation for Cross-Connection Control and Hydraulic Research
University of Southern California
University Park
Los Angeles, California 90007

Backflow prevention assemblies which may be subjected to back-pressure or back-siphonage that have been fully tested, and have been granted a certificate of approval by FCCC & HR may be listed on the current list of "Approved Backflow Prevention Assemblies," which will be made available upon written request to the Department.

G. It shall be the duty of the customer/user at any premises where backflow prevention devices are installed to have certified inspections and operational tests and repairs made at least once per year. In those instances where the Director of Public Works deems the hazard to be great enough, he/she may require certified inspections at more frequent intervals. These inspections, tests and repairs shall be at the expense of the water user and shall be performed by the device manufacturer's representative, or by a certified tester approved by the Director of Public Works.

H. Assemblies shall be specified and located on the construction plans for all new buildings, additions with new services, and changes of use of existing buildings. Approval shall be obtained prior to issuance of the building permit. This section does not apply to building permits applied for prior to the effective date of this article [November 1, 1990].

I. All presently installed backflow prevention devices which do not meet the requirements of this section but were approved devices for the purposes described herein at the time of installation and which have been properly maintained shall, except for the inspection and maintenance requirements, be excluded from the requirements of these rules so long as the Director of Public Works is assured that they will satisfactorily protect the utility system. Whenever the existing device is moved from the present location or requires more than minimum maintenance or when the Director of Public Works finds that the maintenance constitutes a hazard to health, the unit shall be replaced by a backflow prevention device meeting the requirements of this section.

J. The Director of Public Works or his/her designated representative shall maintain a list of approved backflow prevention assemblies, by type and manufacturer, and a list of certified, approved and recognized individuals to test or perform servicing of those assemblies. The list shall be furnished to any customer required to install or maintain a backflow prevention assembly.

(Ord. No. 2149, § 1.B, 9-13-90; Ord. No. 3060, § 2, 11-18-99)

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52-37. Inspections and testing.

A. In the case where a facility handles, stores or uses hazardous materials which may pose a risk to the water system, the Director of Public Works shall require that certified inspections and testing of the backflow assemblies be performed by an independent agent selected by the City.

B. Inspections and tests performed by such independent agent shall verify that the backflow prevention assembly is in full conformance with performance standards set by FCC & HR, and the independent agent shall be paid for the performance tests by the City. The City shall assess the water user a surcharge to recover the costs associated with performance testing. A schedule of fees set by the Director of Public Works shall be assessed at the time of performance testing and shall be based upon City costs for such testing.

C. Should repairs or replacement of the backflow prevention assembly be needed to achieve compliance with the performance standards set by the FCC & HR, the customer/user, at his/her expense, shall select from a list of certified testers approved by the Director of Public Works to have the work done. The certified tester performing repairs or replacement shall retest the assembly prior to returning the assembly to service operation.

D. Failure to perform testing, repairs or replacement of a backflow prevention assembly not in compliance shall be grounds for discontinuance of water service at the discretion of the Director of Public Works.

E. It shall be the duty of the Director of Public Works to see that these timely tests are made. The customer/user shall notify the Director of Public Works in advance when the tests are to be undertaken so that he/she or his/her representative may witness the test, if so desired.

F. Records of such tests, repairs and overhaul shall be kept and made available to the Director of Public Works.

52-37.1. Exceptions.

A. When performing testing to ensure a backflow prevention assembly is in compliance with FCC & HR performance standards, the customer/user shall be notified by the Water Department prior to the commencement of such work. Scheduling of tests shall be done in such a manner to minimize service interruption to the facility and the customer/user.

B. In the case where backflow prevention assemblies are tested, repaired or replaced on fire lines, the Fire Chief or his/her designated representative shall be notified prior to the commencement of such work. These devices shall be repaired, overhauled or replaced by a certified individual or agency at the expense of the customer user whenever such devices are found to be defective.

(Ord. No. 2149, § 1.B, 9-13-90; Ord. No. 3060, § 2, 11-18-99)

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52-38. Discontinuance of service.

Whenever in this article reference is made to discontinuance of service, the customer/user shall receive written notice of the violation and be advised in writing of the opportunity to meet with designated personnel to present any objections; however, discontinuance may occur immediately if there is an immediate danger to the public health, safety or welfare in which situation notice and an opportunity to be heard will be given as soon as practical after discontinuance.

(Ord. No. 2149, § 1.B, 9-13-90; Ord. No. 3060, § 2, 11-18-99)

52-39. Existing water connections.

All existing water connections which may be deemed by the Director of Public Works to be subject to backflow prevention will, upon written notice, have an appropriate backflow prevention device installed and inspected within sixty (60) days of notification.

(Ord. No. 2149, § 1.B, 9-13-90; Ord. No. 3060, § 2, 11-18-99)

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Call City Wide Backflow Prevention at 480-755-0120 today for a free estimate or for more information.

Phoenix, AZ
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