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What is backflow? 
What causes backflow? 
What causes backsiphonage? 
What is backpressure? 
How can backflow be prevented? 
What is a backflow assembly? 
How is an assembly approved? 
Who is required to have a backflow prevention assembly? 
How do I know I need a backflow prevention assembly? 
Is there a general compliance schedule and process? 
My property is served with reclaimed water. Do I need backflow protection? 
Who can install a backflow prevention assembly? 
Where should a backflow prevention assembly be located? 
Who is responsible for the testing and maintenance of the backflow assembly? 
How do I find an approved Certified Tester?

 
What is backflow?
A: Tempe's Water distribution system is designed to keep the water flowing from the distribution system to you the customer. However, when hydraulic conditions within the system deviate from the "normal" conditions,water flow can be reversed. When this backflow happens, contaminated water can enter the distribution system. 

What causes backflow?
A: Backflow is possible in two situations, backsiphonage and backpressure.

What is backsiphonage?
A: When there is a sudden reduction in the water pressure in the distribution system, such as during firefighting or when a water main breaks, water flow can be reversed. This can create a suction effect, drawing the non potable substance into the potable water system. 

What is backpressure? 
A: Backpressure is created when pressure in a nonpotable system, such as in a recirculating system containing soap, acid, or antifreeze, exceeds that in the potable system that provides make up water to the system. This can force the potable water to reverse its direction of flow through the cross connection. Nonpotable substances can then enter the potable water system. 

How can backflow be prevented? 
A: Tempe recognizes four methods of backflow prevention:
-Air Gap
-Double Check Valve Assembly
-Reduced Pressure Principal Assembly
-Pressure Vacuum Breaker Assembly

The Environmental Services Section will determine which type of protection is required based on the degree of hazard that the property represents to the potable water supply.

What is a backflow assembly?
A: A backflow preventer is an approved, testable assembly which uses valves, in different configurations, to prevent polluted or contaminated water from reversing direction and flowing backward. 

How is an assembly approved?
A: An approved backflow prevention assembly has gone through an approval process at the Foundation for Hydraulic Research and Cross Connection Control at the University of Southern California. This is a two step process consisting of laboraton/tests and a twelve month field test. Only assemblies completing the entire testing procedure are recognized by Tempe Water as approved backflow prevention assemblies.

Who is required to have a backflow prevention assembly?

A: Federal and State law require that water suppliers protect their water systems from contamination. State regulations exempt single family residences used solely for residential purposes from assembly requirements. However, residences used for other purposes, as well as commercial and industrial customers, are required by Chapter 33, Article V of the Tempe City Code, and Arizona Administrative Code rule R18-4-215 to install and maintain backflow prevention assemblies. Copies of City Code are available in the Tempe City Clerk's web page. [Insert link to City Clerks page] When a determination is made by an Environmental Compliance Inspector that the potable water system may be subject to contamination through backflow, a backflow prevention assembly will be required. Tempe Environmental Services Section makes these decisions on a case by case basis.

How do I know if I need a backflow prevention assembly? 
A:
A Tempe Environmental Compliance Inspector will visit your property to do an evaluation for backflow requirements. If a concern is identified, the inspector will notify the responsible party (party paying the water bill) in writing identifying what actions will be necessary to protect the public water supply.

Is there a general compliance schedule and process? 
A: Yes. Unless you make other arrangements with Tempe Public Works Department, Water Utilities Division, the backflow assembly must be in compliance within 60 days from the date of the initial compliance notification. You will receive a follow up notice after 30 days. After 45 days, you will receive a notice informing you that your water service may be discontinued unless you achieve compliance. If at any time during this process you have a problem meeting this compliance schedule, it is extremely important that you contact the Environmental Services Section immediately, at 350-2678, and make special arrangements for an extension.

My property is served with reclaimed water. Do I need backflow protection?
A: Yes. Customers receiving reclaimed water must install a Reduced Pressure Assembly (RPA) backflow preventer on all potable water connections, including fire services.

Who can install a backflow prevention assembly? 
A: The installation of the backflow prevention assembly is the responsibility of the customer. The assembly may be installed by a property owner, plumbing contractor, or a general contractor, subject to the Rules and Statutes of the Arizona Registrar of Contractors. Permits are required to install or replace these assemblies. Permits are issued by Tempe's Community Development Department, Building Safety Divsion. Please call 350-8341 for additional information on permits.

Where should a backflow prevention assembly be located? 
A: Generally, the backflow prevention assembly must be located as close as possible to the water service connection, but must remain on private property. Contact Tempe's Backflow Prevention Section for information on variances. 

Who is responsible for the testing and maintenance of the backflow assembly? 
A: It is the sole responsibility of the water service customer to ensure their assembly is in satisfactory operating condition at all times. A notice of the annual test due date will be issued to the responsible party in the monthly utility bill 60-days prior to the annual due date. The customer must contact a certified Backflow Assembly Tester to perform the test. If any repair work or maintenance is performed on the assembly, a certified Tester must retest the assembly immediately and submit the test results to the Environmental Services Section.

How do I find an approved Certified Tester?
A: Tempe's publishes a list of registered testers on a monthly basis. Please visit the tester list. Due to the fact that test prices vary among testers, you may want to call several Certified Testers to obtain quotes for your test. Backflow test results will not be accepted if the tester is not registered in our Compliance Data System (“CDS”).

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Last updated: 2/24/2014 8:22:17 AM