If you’re reasonably new to owning and operating a business, there are probably many new challenges that crop up from week to week. One of these surprises that often confuses business owners is when they receive a notification in the mail from the city that they must have blackflow prevention testing. What does this mean? Why is it important? And what do you do about it?
We’re the local experts when it comes to commercial plumbing in Elgin, IL and throughout Chicagoland, and we can give you the lowdown on backflow prevention testing—as well as take care of the necessary testing and certification when you need it.
What Is Backflow Prevention?
You may never have encountered backflow prevention before since many residential homes don’t require it (unless they have an internal sprinkler system). Backflow prevention is only necessary in a building where there are cross-connections in the plumbing that make it possible for wastewater to contaminate the freshwater if it flows the wrong direction (backflow). These cross-connections are common for commercial facilities, which is why it’s necessary to have a device called a backflow preventer to stop backflow from occurring.
The backflow preventer works as a check valve at the cross connection. It only allows water to flow one direction: from the freshwater side to the wastewater side. A situation called back siphonage can occur where there’s a sudden drop in pressure on the freshwater side (such as when the fire department needs to use a large amount of water from hydrants). The pressure imbalance can pull wastewater the wrong direction, and this backflow will cause contaminated water to enter the freshwater supply. This is a serious situation because this contamination can enter the general freshwater supply and contaminate the water for multiple buildings. The backflow preventer shuts off the cross-connection in any situation where backflow is occurring.
Why Did I Receive This Notice?
You didn’t do anything wrong: backflow testing is a regular municipal requirement. The notice will give you a timeframe in which you need to have your facility’s backflow preventer tested and certified. To do this, you’ll need to contact a commercial plumbing contractor with the proper certification to do the test. The notice will usually provide a list of contractors to call—and yes, Althoff Industries has certified backflow testers. Contact us and we’ll arrange a time to do the testing.
What Happens During the Test?
The test itself is simple and won’t take long. We’ll be able to quickly determine if your backflow preventer is working correctly. If it passes the test, we’ll take care of sending the certification notice to the city so you’ll remain code compliant. You won’t have to worry about this again until the city sends you another notice.
What If the Backflow Preventer Fails the Test?
If your facility’s backflow preventer fails the test, it will either need to be repaired or replaced. This is also a job that we can take care of for you. We’ll make sure your business is code compliant.