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Backflow Photo Gallery

Welcome to Pop’s Backflow Testing, serving all of Seattle, Eastside, and Tacoma (and surrounding areas). This is our photo gallery of some of the backflow preventer assemblies that we’ve encountered on our jobs. If you go to the Backflow Blog you can read the stories behind some other photos.

Here we have a Reduced Pressure Backflow Assembly (RPBA) on a fire sprinkler system in a condo on Alki Beach in West Seattle.

This 4” Wilkins 475 backflow prevention assembly failed the first test so we had to break it down and repair it. I’m the tall one, Solomon is the short one. Click to enlarge.

Wilkins 475_01  Wilkins 475_05  Wilkins 475_02  Wilkins 475_04  Wilkins 475_06  Wilkins 475_07  Wilkins 475_08  Wilkins 475_09  Wilkins 475_10  Wilkins 475_12  Wilkins 475_11  Wilkins 475_13

Alki Beach, Condo Fire Sprinkler SystemWilkins 475_10

Here I’m rebuilding a 4” Ames 2000SS. #1 Check Valve Leaked (0.0 PSID). #2 Check Valve Closed Tight but with low (0.5 PSID). Both cam check valve must be repaired. In this case both cam checks had to be replaced.

#1 check valve no longer closed as seen in photo #2. Photo #3 shows the new #1 cam check in the closed position. Photo #4 shows the newly installed #2 cam check. Click Photo to Enlarge.

Top Left: Let’s see what we find in this 35 year old 6” Febco 805Y Backflow Prevention Assembly.

Top Right: Scale build-up in Shut Off Valve #1.

Bottom Left: Check Valve #1 & #2 Seat bushings are badly worn.

Bottom Right: Top arrow-Check rod worn. 2nd Arrow-Epoxy coating chipping off. 3rd Arrow-Check cover bushing worn. 4th Arrow-Check cover O-Ring needs to be replaced. Click Photo to Enlarge

1) The problem with this fire service DCDA backflow prevention assembly in this vault is, it is subject to flooding and test cock caps are not installed on the 4″ backflow assembly. Renton.

2) This 2″ DCVA backflow prevention assembly in Renton is installed below ground and may be subject to flooding. Test cock caps should be installed. Click to enlarge.

Is this an improper new residential RPBA backflow prevention assembly installation in West Seattle. 1) An unprotected bypass, Open the ball valve and the backflow preventer is useless. 2) The backflow prevention assembly is more than 5 feet of the ground.


My supervisor with the lollipop is pointing out a problem with the installation of this RPBA backflow prevention assembly. Can you see what it is? If you said insufficient air gap, you are absolutely correct!

In no circumstance is an air gap ever to be less than 1” from the overflow rim of the receiving vessel.

Redmond, Washington

This 3” Wilkins 975 Reduced Pressure Backflow Assembly (RPBA) has a leaking NRS SOV #2 with flow downstream. As you can see I attached a large bypass hose from TC #1 to TC #4 because my test kit could not compensate for the leak. Click to enlarge.

Left: We have a 10” Hersey #2 backflow prevention assembly on a fireline in a federal building.

Right: Upon inspection we have discovered plumbing attached to test cock #1 hidden on the back side of this assembly. This had been there for many years. Yet previous Backflow Assembly Testers have either failed to (Inspect) the BPA, or failed to inform the water purveyor if they had.

This is what a typical commercial mechanical room looks like. This one is located in a tower in the heart of downtown Seattle.

I have included some of the backflow assemblies that Pop’s Backflow Service tests and maintains here. It’s rare to be able to access all the backflow assemblies in a building of this size without having climb over, under, or into something.    Click to Enlarge.


1) We are ready to test check valve #1 on this domestic water DCVA backflow prevention assembly, in Seattle.

2) We’re ready to record our PSID for check valve #2 for this DCVA backflow assembly for residential fire service, in Seattle. Click to enlarge.

Here we have an 8” Wilkins DCVA backflow prevention assembly for a warehouse fire prevention service. The good news here is it did pass the annual backflow assembly test with very good readings.

Which is good because when it comes time to rebuild this assembly I may not be able to get the check valve modules out due to lack of clearance, as seen in the right photo.

The 6” Wilkins 450DA (DCDA) pictured below failed its annual backflow assembly test. If you look closely at the last picture you can see a small pit in the check valve disk, which is all it takes to make this midsized giant fail.

After repairs this assembly did pass the backflow test with good PSID. Click to Enlarge.

This is a good example of a backflow prevention “device”. Installed in 1990 for a commercial buildings fire service. It is not testable and does not meet current codes.

A backflow prevention “assembly” must have 2 properly located shut off valves and properly located test cocks.

Here we have 3 RP Backflow Assemblies in a residential mechanical room in Seattle.

A new RP Backflow Assembly install for a restaurant commercial dishwasher in Seattle. Difficult to test, would be extremely difficult to repair this backflow assembly. Click to enlarge

2 DCVAs in a home 1 for domestic water, and 1 for the fire suppression system, Seattle.

In the plumbing code this type of bypass is allowed. However in the cross connection regulations this is considered an unprotected cross connection.

It does not matter if it’s been there for 20 years. A backflow assembly tester must check “Improper Installation” and note it in the “Remarks”.

8 inch Febco 860 Reduced Pressure Backflow Assembly for a fire sprinkler system in a tower in downtown Seattle. After repairs it passed the backflow test.

Here we have a 2″ Double Check Valve Assembly backflow preventer (aka DCVA) for the domestic water in a condo on Alki Beach in West Seattle.

This is not a good sign. Contractors have built tenant storage lockers in front of the backflow prevention device for the domestic water. Door #6 is locked, fortunately unit #7 is unlocked… lets go in and see what we find. Click to enlarge.

1226 Alki Watts Domestic Water, 1 of 4  1226 Alki Watts Domestic Water, 2 of 4  1226 Alki Watts Domestic Water, 3 of 4  1226 Alki Watts Domestic Water, 4 of 4

1: This is a typical mechanical room for a residential radiant floor heating system in Seattle’s Montlake neighborhood.

2: This is a ½” Wilkins Reduced Pressure Backflow Assembly (RPBA) is isolating the homes drinking water from contaminates in the boiler, and in the floors heating system. This backflow prevention assembly in Montlake passed the test.

Backflow assembly, East Seattle 2Backflow assembly, East Seattle

This is a ½” Watts 009QT RPBA Backflow preventer on a boiler in Seattle’s’ University District.

The backflow prevention device is located in the back of a very small crawl space. Click to enlarge.


Here we have 3 RP Backflow Assemblies at a Dentist faculty in Tacoma. All was going well the first two backflow prevention devices passed the test, but the last Reduced Pressure Backflow Assembly failed. The relief valve failed low psid, and CV #1 failed low psid. We disassembled and cleaned the backflow assembly and it passed the second test. Click to enlarge.

Look at this residential fire service DCVA backflow preventer in Seattle. Do you see a problem? Look closer. Click to enlarge.


This is a 6” Wilkins DCVA Backflow Prevention Assembly with a smaller Detector Backflow Prevention assembly in the fire sprinkler riser room at the wonderful Melbourne Tower built in 1928 in downtown Seattle.

The Melbourne Tower residents can rest assured in knowing their drinking water is protected by backflow prevention assemblies that have passed their annual test.

This 2” Wilkins DCVA backflow preventer is temporarily installed with a water meter on a fire hydrant to supply water to Spiritridge Elementary Schools construction site in Bellevue. This protects the community’s water from backflow contamination.

This is an RP Backflow Assembly for a soda machine in Ballard Seattle.

Here we have a 4” Ames 2000SS Silver Bullet DCVA backflow assembly on a fire system in Seattle. These backflows have a good track record however when they fail the check valves in this backflow device can sometimes be difficult to remove. If it should fail the 1st test, restart flush procedures and open the test cocks fully and flush well. Doing this may clear the debris, and the backflow preventer may pass the 2nd test saving your costumer money on a costly repair.

A typical irrigation DCVA backflow prevention assembly this one is in Tacoma. Click to enlarge.

This is a text book install of a 2” Febco 805Y DCVA backflow prevention assembly for an irrigation system in Tukwila.

Photo #2 is a text book install of the ground key-stop isolation valve for the backflow assembly located just upstream of the 2” Febco backflow prevention assembly. This photo shows the valve in the off position.

This is a 4” double check (DCVA) backflow preventer for the domestic water in a residential building located in downtown Renton Washington. The backflow assembly shown here has NRS (non-rising stem) gate valves.

Flushing test cocks are important; particularly with a backflow prevention assembly on a domestic line with high use. In the bottom right of the first photo you can see the dirty water that I flushed from this backflow assembly prior to connecting my gauge.  Click to Enlarge.

This Wilkins 975 RPBA failed the annual backflow assembly test over a year ago. The backflow tester shut off the valves and the assembly was left to rust. The scale build up you see here is common in systems with high water demand. At some point someone had stripped out the relief valve clover bolts too, in an attempt to fix something that was not broke.

Regardless after extensive cleaning and new parts this backflow prevention assembly has passed the test and is back in service.

We are in the process of pumping out this flooded vault in Fife with a Febco DCDA fire service backflow prevention assembly. Our pump puts out enough water for my son to build waterfalls and have leaf races in the water currant.

The ¾” Febco 805YB failed the backflow test so we cleaned it and rebuilt it with new parts; check valve #1s seat had cut into the disk. This backflow prevention assembly in Fife passed the test after the repairs were made.   Click to Enlarge.

Pop's Testing Field Crew

It all starts with a dynamic team of backflow testers. Meet James “Pop” Salter and Solomon “Solo” Salter. (Solo accompanies Pop sometimes, when he’s not in school and is finished with his homework).

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Bob permalink
    May 10, 2013 4:01 am

    Hi I am a backflow tester in New Zealand and am having lots of failed test on Ames s/s backflows, checks sticking open, are you having this problem to? Regards Bob

    • onewayflow permalink*
      May 10, 2013 5:51 am

      Hi Bob,
      The cam checks on the large Silver Bullet do tend to have that problem from time to time. If the device is on a fire system I have had pretty good luck about 50% of the time with hooking up a ¾” garden hose to the test cocks and flushing the system. However I have not had them fail anymore than other devices.
      If you don’t already have the check valve removal tools, I’d recommend you head over to and get them. They make repairing the large size Ames 2000SS a breeze.

  2. Jean permalink
    February 3, 2017 7:41 pm

    Enjoyed the journey with the dynamic duo. Thanks for keeping our potable safe to live.

  3. Bob permalink
    July 10, 2017 7:22 pm

    Do you find the larger DCVAs or RPs with Gate Valves have issues? I wish they made them with Ball Valves this size.

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