Cross Connection

Backflow Prevention Fact Sheet

What Is Backflow Prevention?

A cross connection is any connection between your drinking water supply and anything else that could allow something to flow back into that drinking water supply causing the water to become contaminated or polluted.  The reversal of flow through an unprotected cross connection into the drinking water system is called backflow.

Backflow prevention is the elimination of unprotected cross connections or protecting cross connections that cannot be eliminated with an approved method of backflow prevention.  The ultimate goal of backflow prevention is to protect your health and safety by protecting the quality of your drinking water supplies after they have been delivered to you.

What Is A Backflow Prevention Assembly?

A backflow prevention assembly is an approved mechanical unit installed on the water supply line between your drinking water system and any unprotected cross connection.  It forms a mechanical barrier to prevent pollutants or contaminants from entering into your drinking water system.

Pressure Atmospheric Vacuum Breakers (PVB), Spill Proof Atmospheric Vacuum Breakers (SVB), Double Check Valve Assemblies (DCA), and Reduced Pressure Zone Principle Assemblies (RP) are classified as backflow assemblies.

Do Backflow Prevention Assemblies Need To Be Tested?

Backflow prevention assemblies must be tested upon installation, when repaired, and annually by a certified backflow technician.

Only “High Hazard” air gaps (those involving toxic chemicals, biohazards, connections to sewer lines, etc.) must be inspected. We routinely inspect high hazard air gaps located on our water system.

Why Must Backflow Prevention Assemblies Be Tested?

National industry standards have been established for the testing of backflow prevention assemblies.  Backflow prevention assemblies are mechanical assemblies, and as such, are subject to failure.  Testing frequency standards were established to reduce both the assembly owner and public drinking water purveyor’s liability.  Owners are exercising “Reasonable Vigilance” when complying with testing and maintenance requirements relating to backflow prevention assemblies.

Testing requirements are mandated by the Utah State Rules for Public Drinking Water Systems and the Universal Plumbing Code as adopted by the State of Utah.

Who Can Test My Backflow Prevention Assembly?

Backflow prevention assemblies must be tested by a certified backflow technician.  These technicians have been trained and certified through an accredited certification program to test backflow assemblies.  The Utah Division of Drinking Water or your water purveyor can provide you with a list of those certified to test backflow assemblies in your area.

What Happens After My Backflow Assembly Has Been Tested?

Backflow assemblies must meet a certain testing criteria.  If the assembly fails the test, it must be repaired and retested.  The backflow technician completing the testing must complete a Backflow Assembly Test Report.  One copy of the report should be given to you, the assembly owner.  One copy is retained by the technician.  A third copy must be sent to your water purveyor.  The water purveyor is required by the Utah Rules for Public Drinking Water Systems to maintain an inventory of all backflow prevention assemblies.  They must also keep a record of all tests and repairs made on those assemblies for a time period.