The Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works protects public drinking water by requiring ALL homes, businesses, and facilities to install backflow prevention devices. Backflow prevention devices prevent the contamination of your drinking water with non-potable water, solids, or gasses by preventing water from flowing backwards into supply lines at points where cross connections occur. If your home has a lawn irrigation system, the backflow preventer is typically located on the outside of the home. If your home has a fire suppression system, the backflow preventer is typically located in the basement or utility room.
Annual testing of assemblies is required to be performed by certified and County-approved plumbers with an initial test after installation, then annually (or possibly more frequently if deemed necessary with relation to hazard by Anne Arundel County). Anne Arundel Plumbing is certified to test backflow prevention valves in Anne Arundel County.
The Importance of Backflow Prevention
An unprotected point of water use could contaminate the drinking water not only to your business or home, but also the water system connected to neighboring homes and businesses. Severe injuries and even death have resulted from cross contamination events that could have been prevented through backflow protection. Such events have been known to cause outbreaks of Hepatitis A, Gastroenteritis, poisoning, and chemical burns in showers.
How Can Contamination Occur
Non-potable water or chemicals can end up in the drinking water lines as a result of backpressure or backsiphonage. Backpressure occurs when the pressure in a water system is greater than the supply line of potable water. Backsiphonage occurs when the pressure of potable water supply lines drops (due to a broken main or heavy water demand) and contaminants are sucked back into potable water supplies.
County and International Plumbing Code
The International Plumbing Code (IPC) adopted by the County requires protection of all potable water supplies. IPC code mandates the protection of the County water supply and is the law requiring backflow prevention assemblies to ensure protection of the County’s potable water system. The rules and regulations are summarized as follows:
- Install an approved backflow preventer on all point of use water lines where it is deemed necessary. Including residential Fire Suppression Systems and Lawn Irrigation Systems.
- Have the backflow assembly tested after installation, then annually, and/or immediately following repairs.
- A State-certified backflow tester must perform the test and return copies of the test report to Anne Arundel county DPW within 30 days of a passing test. Failed tests should be sent within 72 hours.
- A County licensed and certified plumber should perform all repairs.