Backflow Testing

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What is a Backflow Device?

All irrigation systems should be equipped with a backflow device as a standard component. These devices are designed to keep the standing water within an irrigation system from mixing with the potable water supply of your home or business. In the event that pressure is ever lost or becomes irregular, flow reversal can occur if no preventative device is in place. A backflow unit may be installed either inside or outside, depending on the system configuration and model used.

Devices come in a variety of models with the three most common being the Double Check Assembly (DCA), the Pressure Vacuum Breaker (PVB) and Reduced Pressure Zone (RPZ). The model used can be dictated by everything from the scale of a landscape to local building codes.


The Importance of Testing

Regardless of the variety, it is important for any backflow device to be tested on an annual basis. Fertilizers, pesticides or other chemicals can be absorbed into the water lines of irrigation systems, endangering a person's health if consumed.Over time, backflow devices can lose their effectiveness or even fail altogether. Siphoning can then occur in the event that a main line breaks, from pump failures, system maintenance, etc.

Testing is efficient and cost effective, especially when combined with another Hydroscapes service. Most devices can be tested within 30 minutes, using a specially calibrated test kit. Property owners should have the test form available that was mailed out by the water supplier. If no form is available, our technicians have extra copies of most supplier forms.


The Laws on Testing

There are no national laws governing the testing of backflow devices, rather, state law determines regulation and enforcement.

Pennsylvania (Hydroscapes' territory) - At the discretion of each water supplier. Both PA American Water and Aqua require annual backflow testing by a certified tester.*

Delaware - Required by state law

New Jersey - Required by state law

Maryland - At the discretion of each municipality (state wide regulation pending)

* Hydroscapes maintains a certification with the American Society of Sanitary Engineering (Cert No. 28178)