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Common Questions and Answers of Backflow Testing


ANSWER :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 nonpotable 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. 
ANSWER : Backflow is the undesirable reversal of flow of non-potable water or other substances through a cross-connection and into the piping of a public water system or consumer's potable water system. There are two types of backflow... backpressure backflow and backsiphonage.
ANSWER : Backsiphonage is backflow caused by a negative pressure (i.e., a vacuum ~ or partial vacuum) in a Public water system or consumer's potable water system. The effect is similar to drinking water through a straw. Backsiphonage can occur when there is a stoppage of water supply due to nearby fire fighting, a break in a water main, etc.
ANSWER : Backflow into a public water system can pollute or contaminate the water in that system (i.e., backflow into a public water system can make the water in that system unusable or unsafe to drink), and each water supplier has a responsibility to provide water that is usable and safe to drink under all foreseeable circumstances. Furthermore, consumers generally have absolute faith that water delivered to them through a public water system is always safe to drink. For these reasons, each water supplier must take reasonable precautions to protect its public water system against backflow.

ANSWER :  Water suppliers usually do not have the authority or capability to repeatedly inspect every consumer's premises for cross-connections and backflow protection. Alteratively, each water supplier should ensure that a proper backflow preventer is installed and maintained at the water service connection to each system or premises that poses a significant hazard to the public water system. Generally, this would include the water service connection to each dedicated fire protection system or irrigation piping system and the water service connection to each of the following types of premises:

  1. premises with an auxiliary or reclaimed water system:
  2. industrial, medical, laboratory, marine or other facilities where objectionable substances are handled in a way that could cause pollution or contamination of the public water system;
  3. premises exempt from the State Plumbing Code and premises where an internal backflow preventer required under the State Plumbing Code is not properly installed or maintained;
  4. classified or restricted facilities; and
  5. tall buildings.

Each water supplier should also ensure that a proper backflow preventer is installed and maintained at each water loading station owned or operated by the water supplier.

ANSWER : A backflow preventer is a means or mechanism to prevent backflow. The basic means of preventing backflow is an air gap, which either eliminates 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 preventer 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.
ANSWER : 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 backpressure backflow or backsiphonage but is not always practical and can easily be bypassed.

gap

ANSWER : 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 backpressure backflow and backsiphonage and may be used to isolate health or nonhealth hazards.

gap

ANSWER : A PVB is a mechanical backflow 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 eqipped with test cocks. The PVB may be used to isolate health or nonhealth hazards but is effective against backsiphonage only

gap

ANSWER : A DC 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 backpressure backflow and backsiphonage but should be used to isolate only non-health hazards.

gap

ANSWER : An assembly containing an independently operating internally loaded check valve and independently operating loaded air inlet valve located on the discharge side of the check valve. The assembly is to be equipped with a properly located resilient seated test cock, a properly located bleed/vent port, and tightly closing resilient seated shutoff valves attached at each end of the assembly.

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ANSWER : Mechanical backflow preventers have internal seals, springs, and moving parts that are subject to fouling, wear, or fatigue. Also, mechanical backflow preventers and air gaps can be bypassed. Therefore, all backflow preventers have to be tested periodically to ensure that they are functioning properly. A visual check of air gaps is sufficient, but mechanical backflow preventers have to be tested with properly calibrated gauge equipment.
ANSWER : One excellent reference manual is the ninth (1993) edition of the University of Southern California's Manual of Cross-Connection Control, which is available from the Foundation for Cross- Connection Control and Hydraulic Research; University of Southern California; KAP-200 University Park MC-2531; Los Angeles, California 90089-2531; 213/740-2032; http://www.usc.edu/dept/fccchr. Another excellent reference manual is the second (1990) edition of the American Water Works Association's (AWWA's) Manual M14, Recommended Practice for Backflow Prevention and Cross-Connection Control, which is available from the AWWA Bookstore; 6666 West Quincy Avenue; Denver, Colorado 80235; 800/926-7337; http://www.awwa.org. Most information on this page is from the American Backflow Prevention Association and is a great resource; (877) 227-2127;http://www.abpa.org.



Fire Alarm System FAQ's


ANSWER :Yes. According to the NFPA 72 (National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code book) states that all Fire Alarm systems shall be tested annually.
ANSWER : During a fire alarm inspection, some of the things we will do are:check the panel for any supervisory or trouble signals, test all smoke and heat detectors, activate all manual pull stations, activate all audio/visual components, and load test the batteries, all in accordance with NPFA 72.
ANSWER : In the event of a power loss or outage, batteries act as a secondary/standby power supply which will keep your fire alarm system operating. Most batteries are suggested by the manufacturer to be replaced after 3-5 years from the manufacture date. The batteries are to be tested annually with a battery load tester.
ANSWER : Yes. Fire sprinkler systems are highly effective for fire protection once a fire has already started. Fire alarm systems, especially smoke detectors, have the ability to detect smoke and other gases before the flames start. This can give occupants extra time to escape the building. Fire alarm systems can also automatically notify the fire department, saving you valuable time that could save your building and the contents in it.

ANSWER :  Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is produced by certain gas-powered appliances and engines. If a gas leak occurs, carbon monoxide can build up in certain areas. If a person is exposed to the gas for an extended period of time, they can suffer serious complications up to and including death. For this reason, many residential and commercial buildings have carbon monoxide detectors installed to prevent injury or death to occupants.

ANSWER : Different types of buildings are at risk for different types of fires. For example, restaurants are at risk of grease fires or other accidents in the kitchen. Fires that start in apartments or homes are often caused by smoking materials, electrical and heating appliances, and candles.