August 2018 Newsletter
“The Liability Of In-House Fireline Backflow Testing”
Does a Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester License give the tester the authority to test backflow preventers on Firelines? Answer NO! To routinely test backflow prevention assemblies on Firelines, a tester must be a full time employee of a fireline contractor that has been approved by the State Fire Marshall’s Office. There is one exception we will discuss.
San Antonio Water System (SAWS)* developed one of the first Cross Connection Control Programs is this part of the United States. There were no training courses or backflow revention assembly testers available when we developed the program in the early 70’s.
May 2018 Newsletter
Mitigating the Risk of Legionella in Building Water Systems
One of the very interesting sessions at the ABPA Conference in Orlando this year was the threat of the Legionella bacteria in our water systems, and how to mitigate the threat. Watts has produced a document that can be found at http://pages.wattswater.com/Legionella.html that explains Legionella and Legionnaires’ Disease (LD) in detail and how to mitigate it.
Outbreaks of Legionella bacteria can cause Legionnaires’ Disease (LD) in any setting, but is a particular concern in healthcare facilities (hospitals, nursing homes, long term care) and hospitality buildings (hotels, motels, resorts). The bacteria can grow in any part of a water system in a building that is continually wet such as tanks, piping, fixtures, or water features. The Legionella bacteria becomes an infectant when combined with water droplets that become airborne in a manner of aerosol generation, and that moisture reaches a person’s nose or mouth where it is inhaled and settles in the lungs.
July 2018 Newsletter
Why Do Backflow Preventers Need to be Tested Annually?
The current Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) requirement for residential irrigation systems is a double check (DC) backflow prevention assembly that is tested upon installation only. There are two issues that come to mind immediately regarding this requirement. The first is a DC backflow prevention assembly is a low hazard assembly and many of the irrigation systems today have chemical injection or are easily converted to chemical injection by the homeowner with parts from many of the Big Box Home Improvement stores. As soon as any injection system is added, the entire system becomes a high hazard system and then requires a Pressure Vacuum Breaker (PVB), a Spill-Resistant Pressure Vacuum Breaker (SVB), a Reduced Pressure Principal backflow assembly (RP), or an Air Gap (AG). The AG is generally not used because it requires water to be collected into an open tank through an AG, to be pressurized into the irrigation system with a pump. All of the backflow prevention assemblies, whether low hazard or high hazard, are mechanical assemblies, except the AG, which means they will fail at some time in the future.
April 2018 Newsletter
Call 811 for a backflow preventer install? Certainly!
Backflow preventers – just like the jobs they are used on – come in all shapes and sizes. That means you have to carry a lot of tools in your kit.
Fortunately, there’s one tool you can always carry with you that doesn’t have to go into your tool bag. You can carry this one in your head, it won’t ever get your hands dirty, and it’s simple to use.
It’s the number 811.
Wherever you are in the United States, a call to 811 will get underground utilities located for you within 48 hours of the call being made. The call, and the subsequent locating, are both free.
June 2018 Newsletter
The Test & Maintenance Report is a Legal Document
There are many misconceptions floating around about the duties and responsibilities of the licensed BPAT (Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester) and the proper completion of the T&M (Test & Maintenance) report. Let’s first look at the T&M report. TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) has provided a legal T&M report that may be used by any enforcement jurisdiction that has not obtained TCEQ approval for their specific T&M. Here is where there is misunderstanding by many testers in the industry. If an enforcement jurisdiction has their own T&M report, it will be the only report they may accept, regardless of any additional information they require on the report, such as a customer signature, etc. TCEQ approved it and it is that jurisdiction’s legal T&M document. An exception would be if an enforcement jurisdiction has a paper form, which has been approved by TCEQ and an on-line, or electronic submittal form, also approved be TCEQ, both forms are legal forms even if there are differences in the required information. Some enforcement jurisdictions may use outside electronic submittal companies such as Vepo, which also has TCEQ approval, to manage their T&M reports. Use the report or system for each jurisdiction.
March 2018 Newsletter
Lawn Irrigation Systems – High Hazard or Low Hazard
Commentary – By Fred Baird – Bac-Flo Unlimited, Inc.
The following is a review of irrigation systems, their operation and considerations in the determination of high hazard (Health Hazard) cross connection or low hazard (Non-Health Hazard) cross connection classification.
One of the first things the average person must understand is the fact that water pressure goes from a higher pressure to a lower pressure. Water pressure is not always constant and there are many variables that create these backflow situations. These situations can be very minute such as a pressure fluctuation caused by demand or the complete loss of water pressure due to water main breaks, fires in the area, high demand, piping design, etc. Additionally, pumps and elevations can create back-pressure situations.
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