Did You Get a Backflow Notice? Here’s what it’s about…

Backflow SystemYou may have gotten a notice from the City of Fort Myers recently telling you that you must have your backflow system tested and certified. What does that even mean? Let’s take a look at it shall we?

First of all, I’ll define what backflow is and why Florida requires that backflow devices be tested once a year. The normal direction of water flow is from the utility water main to your home or business. Backflow happens when water is pulled backward, from your home or business to the utility main pipe, due to pressure loss in the system or perhaps pushed back by a pressure source like a well pump.

Another term used is “cross connection.” Any connection between your drinking water and another source of water that combines the two waters makes a “cross connection.” A large number of pollutants, contaminants or plumbing hazards can enter the County’s water system from cross connection. This means cross connections can cause contaminated water which can make you and your loved ones sick.

Lee County Utilities is committed to helping protect your drinking water system from potential contamination through their active Cross-Connection Control and Backflow Prevention Program. That’s why you may have gotten a notice from them stating that your backflow device needs to be tested and certified.

Backflow preventer devices are mechanical plumbing devices installed in a plumbing system to prevent water from cross connection or backflow into the public water system. Who is required to have a backflow prevention system?

Backflow prevention assemblies are required for properties with any of the following:

  •    An in-ground irrigation system;
  •    A secondary source of water, such as reclaimed water or well;
  •    A swimming pool;
  •    A fountain with a dedicated fill pipe;
  •    A fire sprinkler system;
  •    A flood zone designation;
  •    Property that abuts or includes a body of water, including canal, river, bay, lake or pond;
  •    A solar water heating system;
  •    A commercial, industrial, multistory or multifamily residential facility;
  •    A cross connection found.

Mechanical backflow preventers have internal seals, springs, and moving parts that are subject to fouling, wear or fatigue. Therefore, all backflow preventers have to be tested periodically to ensure that they are functioning properly. Everyone who owns a backflow device is required to test the device annually. If device fails to pass annual inspection, you are responsible for repair or replacement of the device. All testing must be done by a contractor that is registered with the Cross Connection Control office, and possesses a valid, up-to-date plumbing license, current insurance and backflow test/repair certification.

If you’ve gotten a notice from the City of Fort Myers about your backflow system, allow West Coast Plumbing and Water Treatment to give you a quote since we are licensed to permit, install and certify your system. Call us at (239) 232-2411  

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