Why am I required to have my backflow prevention assembly tested?
Backflow prevention assemblies have internal seals, springs, and moving parts that wear out. Regular testing is required to ensure backflow prevention assemblies are functioning properly and have not been bypassed. A visual check of air gap assemblies is sufficient, while mechanical assemblies must be tested with special equipment.
How often do backflow assemblies need to be tested?
State rules requires that all backflow prevention assemblies must be tested at least annually and immediately following any repair, maintenance, or relocation. Assemblies that repeatedly fail may require more frequent testing or replacement.
Who is responsible for the testing and maintenance of the backflow prevention assembly?
It is the responsibility of the property owner to ensure the assembly is in good operating condition. A person who is state-certified in backflow assembly testing must perform the test and submit the results to the City of Tigard. If any repair work or maintenance is performed, the assembly must be retested immediately. All test results must be submitted to the City of Tigard within 10 days.
The Certified Tester should mail original test results to the City at:
City of Tigard
Water Division - Cross Connection Program
13125 SW Hall Blvd.
Tigard, OR 97223
What is a Certified Backflow Assembly Tester and how can I find one?
A Certified Backflow Assembly Tester is someone who has completed a state-approved, 40-hour training course in backflow prevention assembly testing and has passed a proficiency test to prove his/her knowledge. Many plumbing, fire sprinkler, and lawn irrigation companies, as well as backflow prevention testing companies, are listed in local telephone directories and provide testing services in the Tigard area. As a convenience, the City of Tigard maintains a partial list of companies offering the services of Certified Backflow Assembly Testers.
What does it cost to test a backflow prevention assembly?
Backflow prevention assembly testing is done by private companies who set their own rates. Testing costs vary, so getting quotes from several companies is recommended.
What happens if I do not have my backflow prevention assembly tested and maintained as required?
Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR) Chapter 333-61-070 mandate the City of Tigard establish and maintain a cross connection control program. The OARs and the Tigard Municipal Code, Chapter 12.10.110, require the city to terminate water service should a property owner fail to comply with cross connection regulations. This includes testing and maintenance of backflow prevention assemblies.
For more information regarding cross connection and backflow, please contact email@example.com, Cross Connection Specialist or phone 503-718-2603.
What if I choose not to use my current in-ground irrigation system?
Property owners may choose to discontinue using their lawn irrigation system for a variety of reasons, but backflow prevention requirements are still in effect and enforced unless the system is permanently disconnected.
To permanently disconnect your system:
- It is recommended that you consult with and/or hire a licensed plumber or professional irrigation company.
- Determine if you have outdoor garden hose spigots that are tied to the lawn irrigation system. This will be important to know where to cap the system.
- Contact the City of Tigard Cross Connection Control Program at 503-718-2603 for more information.
- A building permit is not required to remove a backflow prevention device and/or to disconnect a lawn irrigation system.
- A shut-off valve is not a sufficient method for backflow prevention.
Contact the City of Tigard Cross Connection Control Program at 503-718-2603 for more information.
Protecting Our Water
Meet Hung Nguyen. As the city’s Cross Connection Specialist, he spends his time ensuring that water delivered to city customers is safe to drink.
For Hung, this has become part of his life’s work. He’s worked for the City of Tigard for 31 years, and in the water division since 2000. “I come from Vietnam and have experienced firsthand the effects of poor water quality,” he tells me. “Back home the water was not suitable for drinking—from rivers and wells—but we had no choice. “What is most meaningful about my job is protecting people from health hazards. Kids, elders, that is why I do what I do—and why I continue to bug everyone.”
Water systems depend on water pressure to keep water flowing in the intended direction through the pipes. Anything that causes a change in water pressure (like water main breaks, firefighting, etc.) can create a reverse flow, from the customer’s plumbing system back into the public water system. This is called backflow.
“Backflow protection prevents the mixing of irrigation water, for example, with our drinking water,” says Hung. “This is important because that irrigation water may have been exposed to fertilizers and other outdoor chemicals that can be harmful.” Additional cross connections where backflow devices may be installed include fire sprinkler systems, boilers used for heating, and more.
All Tigard Water Service Area customers are required to have their backflow prevention devices tested each year by June 1. Hung receives, tracks and reports on the tests from residential and commercial property owners. All told, about 6,000 residential customers and 500 commercial customers in the Tigard Water Service Area have a backflow prevention device that requires annual testing. Last year, 77% of residential customers completed the required test.
“We cannot survive without water,” Hung reminds us. “There was a time in my life when water was divided up by the teaspoonful.”
“Everyone has the same water source so we need to work together. It is not the city’s water—it’s our water.”