Backflow occurs when there is water that flows opposite the direction it is intended to in all piping containing water. Backflow is often a concern of the municipal water company for fear that the potable water supply (i.e. drinking water) will be contaminated. This inspection is required for the domestic water and fire water systems. This is just one of the many inspections that a fire protection system needs.

What is Done to Prevent Backflow?

In order to prevent backflow from occurring, a backflow prevention assembly is installed. In the event of new construction, this assembly is installed between the city water supply and 1) the domestic water system, 2) irrigation system and 3) fire sprinkler system for a building. This assembly works to ensure that no water flows in the opposite direction and thus back into the city water supply.

Why is a Backflow Inspection Important?

Without inspections and regular maintenance, backflow assemblies can fail. This can occur if there is any sediment or any kind of buildup inside the backflow assemblies. Even a very small piece of debris or a small pebble can damage the backflow assembly. This can lead to water in the sprinkler system leaking back into the city water supply as a contaminate to the drinking water. Also, an impaired assembly can prevent a fire safety system from functioning properly. If backflow is occurring, the system will not have enough water to function properly and could be insufficient to contain a fire. In addition to the problems that backflow could cause, not having a backflow inspection is against the NFPA 25 Standard for the Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems. The standard states that the backflow assembly must be tested and inspected at least annually.

When are Backflow Inspections Performed?

When backflow prevention assemblies are installed, modified, or repaired, they are inspected. If there are no modifications or repairs needed, they should still be inspected at least once a year. Some states and municipalities have different laws and regulations about backflow inspections, but it is always best to be on the safe side. In Indianapolis, backflow forms must be filled out with information regarding inspection, testing, and repair to ensure that regulations are followed. This is a common practice across the country. No matter where you are, the local water company will have requirements that need to be met every year, or in some cases multiple times per year. Ryan Fireprotection will be happy to handle all of the required paperwork for backflow inspections, testing, and maintenance for you. It is never okay to let a backflow inspection date pass by without having your backflow assembly inspected. Backflow inspections are just a part of building maintenance and should be included on your calendar to ensure that your building is safe and secure.