Believe it or not, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection does not simply sit around and look for a new policy to implement just for fun and games. Every test, certification, and procedure is put in place to protect you and every other citizen in the greater New York City area. The Certified Backflow Testing policy is no exception.
The fresh water supply that flows into your New York City home or business, is intended to flow in one direction only. That direction is into the building in question, not from. The fresh water flows in one direction to keep from being contaminated by different variants that could possibly enter the fresh water system if not for a backflow device.
Today, we take an in depth look into exactly what backflow is, why your building may or may not need one, and the testing and certification of your backflow device.
So, let us first `examine exactly what backflow is.
What is Backflow, and Does My Building Need One?
Your New York City fresh water supply system is designed to flow in only one direction, and under pressure. This ‘one way only’ flow is to prevent certain types of business’ from depositing any contaminants into the water system. If the water flows into a building, and is the contaminated, then allowed to backflow from the building into the main water supply system, then there are problems.
The devices that prevent backflow are an integral part of the drinking water protection program which is mandated by the New York City Sanitary Code.
This is why backflow preventers are installed.
According to what type of property is in question, backflow preventers are mandated. That is to say there are certain business entities in which a backflow preventer is required by law.
Some common properties that require a backflow prevention device are;
- Properties with irrigation or sprinkler systems
- Auto Repair Shops
- Beauty and Barber Shops
- Car Washes
- Medical, Dental, Laboratory, and Veterinary Facilities
- Laundry and Dry Cleaners
If you are wondering if your building is one in which a backflow preventer is required, refer to this list from New York City Environmental Protection.
The best way of determining if your building needs a backflow device installed is by hiring professionals that posess the proper licensing and experience to provide NYS Certified Backflow Testing.
Certain buildings may be exempt from having a backflow device installed. In order for your building to qualify for this exemption, you must again retain the services of a Licensed Master Plumber who can then assist you in filing the correct forms to legally exempt your building.
The key issue here is, do not automatically assume that your building does or does not require backflow prevention. This is one of those issues best left to those who are qualified to make the proper decisions and implement the proper protocol.
Once it is determined that you need a backflow prevention device, again enlist the proper Licensed Master Plumber to not only install, but to sign off on the testing results once the device has been tested.
You have been warned! Installing the proper backflow prevention device is not a DIY project!
Once your backflow prevention device is installed, it is the time to have it tested. There are certified testing professionals located within each county of the state of New York. To find a certified tester for your location, www.nyc.gov will direct you to the testing professional in your area.
If you have a newly installed backflow prevention device, you must contact the testing professional and have them test the device and then the testing results are to be signed by both the tester and the installer within 30 days of the device being installed. Failure to do this by the 30-day time frame will result in significant fines, and/or disconnection of your water services.
It also bears worth mentioning that once you have installed and properly tested your backflow preventer the fun does not end there! You are responsible for repeating the testing process every 12 months from there on after. The annual test must again be signed by the Licensed Master Plumber who installed the device and the testing professional doing the NYS Certified Backflow Testing.
My Building Needs a Backflow Preventer… What is Next?
Perhaps you are just totally lost, or you have recently purchased a piece of property in the greater New York City area, and you are wondering how to go about finding the right people, to install the right device, and then have the whole thing properly tested and certified.
All of these tests and certifications can seem a bit daunting at times, but they are there for very specific reasons. And, as mentioned before your building may be exempt. On the other hand, your building may already have the proper device and the testing and certification is all that you need.
The whole process begins with either a Licensed Master Plumber to initiate everything, or a professional engineer or registered architect. The latter two being the ones for identifying your building as being exempt. The best place to start is with The Association of Contracting Plumbers of The City of New York, Inc. for a listing of any Licensed Master Plumber. This association can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.acpcny.org. You can also contact the Master Plumbers Council at (212)584-4580 or for registered architects or professional engineers go to The American Institute of Architects New York Chapter.
These are the people who know what to do, and the associations of those people as well.
If your building has a backflow device installed already, but the Department of Environmental Protection has no record of it, you in this case will need to contact the building’s original designer. The professional engineer or the registered architect who originally drew the plans for the building must present a copy of the original plan showing the installation and testing of the original backflow device for consideration.
There are probably some issues that you may have concern with that are not listed or discussed in this post. If that is the case dial 311 to have your inquiry forwarded to the appropriate Department of Environmental Protection representative.
The costs of having a backflow prevention device installed can be rather significant depending on the size of the building in question. We will not be looking at the cost issue in this post since the costs of parts and labor seem to fluctuate with the ever-changing weather patterns. To get a good idea about these costs, again refer to the Frequently Asked Questions on the DEP website. There you find a good starting point as far as your installation costs are concerned.
Hire a True Professional for Your Backflow Prevention Device Installation
The only thing you need now is someone that you can trust to handle the installation procedures of your backflow prevention device.
If your building in question is located in the greater New York area, the only name you need to know is Aladdin. Aladdin is a Brooklyn based Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning professional and can guide you through the backflow prevention process!
Why not take just a moment and either call or go by the Aladdin website and get the ball rolling on your NYS Certified Backflow Testing today!