A backflow preventer protects the drinking water system from contamination when sudden changes in water pressure, a water main break or the need to fight a fire for example, cause water to run backward in the water supply pipes in the home. Without this device, contaminants such as fertilizer or animal waste may be pulled into the drinking water system through a submerged sprinkler head or other cross contamination location.
Laws and Ordinances
The Environmental Protection Agency Safe Drinking Water Act, Uniform Plumbing Code, Oregon Health Division Rules, Oregon Department of Human Services and City Ordinances require that all irrigation systems have approved backflow protection. The Safe Water Drinking Act requires the water suppliers install backflow prevention devices at each premise.
Diagram of a Backflow Preventer (Click to enlarge diagram)
- Unless stated otherwise by the water supplier, the owner of the backflow preventer is responsible for the costs of installation, testing and maintenance.
- A backflow preventer is required at water service entrance for each premise. The Avion and Roats water companies require that a backflow preventer be installed at the transfer of ownership if not present. The cost of the installation is the responsibility of either home owner or buyer.
- An additional backflow preventer is required for all irrigation (sprinkler) systems if present.
- When installed below grade in a vault, as most are, water tight fitted plugs must be installed over the four test ports on the device to protect them from dirt, debris and moisture.
- The backflow preventer must be protected from freezing when necessary.
- The backflow preventer must be inspected at least once a year by a qualified Department of Human Services certified backflow tester. With the exception of the Redmond Water district, testing these devices is a responsibility of the home owner. The Redmond water district uses a private company to perform these yearly tests for their customers. This program is paid for by a small monthly fee added to each customer’s water bill.
Download our printable flyer on backflow preventers