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FAQs


What forms of payment are accepted?
Why does the backflow assembly test need to be completed annually?
What happens after the backflow assembly test has been completed?
Where is my irrigation backflow prevention device located?
Where is my fire prevention backflow device located?
If the backflow prevention device is located outside, do I need to have it on?
Does the water need to be turned off?
What if repair is needed on my backflow prevention assembly?


Things to consider when hiring a backflow testing company

The backflow industry is the same as any other industry, there are companies that follow the law and have all their ducks in a row, and there are those who cut corners and can cost customers money and heartaches. I’ve heard of companies who have charged is little as $11 per test. I’ve also heard of companies who charged over $200 per test. Most small business backflow testing companies who have all their ducks in a row will generally charge between $45 and $55 per test for residential inspections. These companies will most likely have all of the items listed below.

  1. BAT certification
  2. contractor’s license and bond in good standing’s with Washington state L&I
  3. plumbing contractor insurance (covers damages to property including water damage)
  4. specialty plumbers license (required by L&I to make repairs on backflow assemblies inside a building)
  5. state business license
  6. city business license for which they operate
  7. commercial vehicle insurance (Washington state requirement)
  8. properly maintained vehicle, fully stocked with repair parts
  9. show up when they say they will
  10. locally owned and operated  and supporting your local community.  Be aware  of out-of-state companies  with prices  too good  to be true.

The above combined with corporate, state, and city taxes are why the price bottoms out where it does.

There are hundreds of backflow assembly testing companies out there that only have the minimum requirements required by the water districts”.

  1. BAT certification
  2. state business license
  3. Insurance (the insurance these companies carry is consulting insurance; it’s extremely cheap only $500 – $800 a year but it does not cover any water damage to your home/business or property.
  4. Some do not have auto insurance, the ones who have auto insurance do not have a commercial writer on their policy. The insurance company considers this the same as not having insurance if they are using the vehicle for commercial purposes.
  5. These companies generally charge $15-$35 per test. You will find most of them will admit they cannot do repairs because they do not possess the specialty plumbers’ license and contractors  license, bond & insurance which covers repairs, but some companies still do even though it is unlawful and they don’t have the proper coverage to do so.

I am providing you with this information so you can make an informed and educated decision in your search. Unfortunately many people end up in an undesirable situation each year because they were unaware of the proper things to look for on the company’s website or ask them in person. Good Luck 🙂

Please note “This articles pricing pertains to small backflow testing companies”.

It’s important to understand that large mechanical companies and fire service companies’ rates may be higher because their overhead is much higher. They have employees, offices, vehicle fleets, shops, etc. and their rates reflect that. The fact is their profit margins on backflow assembly tests are most likely not much different than small backflow testing corporations that follow the law.

Also the large mechanical and fire service companies offer a much broader range of services which go well beyond just backflow testing and repair. You can rest assured they are in 100% in compliance with the laws, as well as provide honest and reliable service.


Certified, licensed, Insured, and registered!

  • DOH-certified Backflow Assembly Tester [Certification #B5596]
  • L&I-certified Backflow Plumber [License #SALTEJW901QN]
  • Fully Licensed, Bonded and Insured [Registration #POPSBBT862RU]
  • City of Seattle [License #777789]
  • Vehicles Insured for Commercial Use

What forms of payment are accepted?
We accept cash or check. Sorry, NO credit cards are accepted at this time. (back to top)


Why does the backflow assembly test need to be completed annually?
Washington state law requires a backflow assembly tests to be completed every year. This ensures the backflow preventer is working as it’s supposed to: preventing contaminants from reaching your drinking water. Any water passing through the backflow preventer will be kept in its proper place and not be brought back into the domestic line for contamination. (back to top)


What happens after the backflow assembly test has been completed?
We will send a copy of your backflow assembly test report(s) to your local authorities with the results from the test to assure you are in compliance with state and local codes. A waterproof date-punched tag will be left on the backflow prevention device as proof of test, and a PDF copy of your backflow assembly test report(s) will be emailed to you for your records as well. (back to top)


Where is my irrigation backflow device located?
Typically irrigation backflow preventers are located outside of the home or business as close to the water meter as possible. Some backflow prevention assemblies are located inside if requested by the customer. (back to top)


Where is my fire prevention backflow device located?
All fire protection backflow prevention assemblies are located inside the location or in a vault. This will ensure that the device will not freeze year-round, maintaining your fire prevention needs. (back to top)


If the backflow prevention device is located outside, do I need to have it on?
Yes and No. For all outside irrigation backflow assembly tests the backflow device must be pressurized with water for the test to be completed successfully, however we do not need to pressurize the irrigation system.  (back to top)


Does the water need to be turned off on domestic lines?
Yes. The water does need to be turned off, but only for a very brief period of time. Typically, backflow assembly testing takes just a few minutes with the water shutoff, with little or no interference to the water supply. (back to top)


What if repair is needed on my backflow prevention assembly?
Minor repairs will be completed at the time of the test so no trip charge is involved to pass the test. For any repair requiring an extended time or price, we will contact you with a proposal for approval.

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603.0 Cross-Connection Control.

Cross-connection control shall be provided in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. Backflow prevention devices or backflow prevention assemblies for protection of the public water system must be models approved by the department of health under WAC 246-290-490. The authority having jurisdiction shall coordinate with the local water purveyor where applicable in all matters concerning cross-connection control within the property lines of the premises.

No person shall install any water operated equipment or mechanism, or use any water treating chemical or substance, if it is found that such equipment, mechanism, chemical or substance may cause pollution or contamination of the domestic water supply. Such equipment or mechanism may be permitted only when equipped with an approved backflow prevention device or backflow prevention assembly.


603.1 Approval of Backflow Prevention Devices or Backflow Prevention Assemblies.

Before any backflow prevention device or backflow prevention assembly is installed for the prevention of backflow, it shall have first been approved by the authority having jurisdiction. Backflow prevention devices or backflow prevention assemblies shall be tested for conformity with recognized standards or other standards acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction.

All backflow prevention devices or backflow prevention assemblies installed in a potable water supply system for protection against backflow shall be maintained in good working condition by the person or persons having control of such devices or assemblies. Such devices or assemblies shall be tested at the time of installation, repair, or relocation and at least on an annual schedule thereafter, or more often when required by the Authority Having Jurisdiction. If found to be defective or inoperative, the backflow prevention device or backflow prevention assembly shall be repaired or replaced. No backflow prevention device or backflow prevention assembly shall be removed from use or relocated or other backflow prevention device or backflow prevention assembly substituted, without the approval of the Authority Having Jurisdiction. Backflow assembly testing shall be performed by a certified backflow assembly tester.


603.3.3 Backflow prevention devices and backflow prevention assemblies

For backflow prevention devices and backflow prevention assemblies other than those regulated by the Washington department of health in conjunction with the local water purveyor for the protection of public water systems, the authority having jurisdiction shall ensure that the premise owner or responsible person shall have the backflow prevention assembly tested by a Washington state department of health certified backflow assembly tester: At the time of installation, repair or relocation; and  At least on an annual schedule thereafter, unless more frequent backflow assembly testing is required by the authority having jurisdiction.


603.3.4 Backflow prevention devices and backflow prevention assemblies

Access and clearance shall be provided for the required backflow assembly testing, maintenance, and repair. Access and clearance shall require a minimum of one (1) foot (305 mm) between the lowest portions of the backflow prevention assembly and grade, floor, or platform. Backflow prevention assembly installations elevated more than five (5) feet (1524 mm) above the floor or grade shall be provided with a permanent platform capable of supporting a Washington state department of health certified backflow assembly tester or maintenance person.


603.4.6.1 Potable water supplies to systems having no pumps or connections for pumping equipment, and no chemical injection or provisions for chemical injection, shall be protected from backflow by one of the following devices: Atmospheric vacuum breaker. Pressure vacuum breaker assembly. Spill-resistant pressure vacuum breaker assembly. Reduced pressure backflow assembly. A double check valve assembly may be allowed when approved by the water purveyor and the authority having jurisdiction.

603.4.10 Potable Water Make Up Connections to Steam or Hot Water Boilers shall be protected by an air gap or a reduced pressure principle backflow assembly.


603.4.12 Potable Water Supply to Carbonators shall be protected by a listed reduced pressure principle backflow assembly as approved by the authority having jurisdiction for the specific use. The backflow preventer shall be located in accordance with Section 603.3.4. The piping downstream of the backflow preventer shall not be of copper, copper alloy, or other material that is affected by carbon dioxide.

603..4.14 Backflow prevention assemblies shall not be located in any area containing fumes or aerosols that are toxic, poisonous, infectious, or corrosive.


603.4.16.1 Except as provided under Sections 603.4.16.2 and 603.4.16.3, potable water supplies to fire protection systems that are normally under pressure, including but not limited to standpipes and automatic sprinkler systems, except in one or two family residential flow-through or combination sprinkler systems piped in materials approved for potable water distribution systems, shall be protected from back-pressure and back-siphonage by one of the following testable devices: Double check valve assembly. Double check detector assembly. Reduced pressure backflow assembly. Reduced pressure detector assembly.

Potable water supplies to fire protection systems that are not normally under pressure shall be protected from backflow and shall meet the requirements of the appropriate standard(s).


604.15 Plastic water service piping may terminate within a building, provided the connection to the potable water distribution system shall be made as near as is practical to the point of entry and shall be accessible. Barbed insert fittings with hose clamps are prohibited as a transition fitting within the building.


608.5 Reduced pressure backflow assemblies relief valves located inside a building shall be provided with a drain, not smaller than the reduced pressure backflow assemble relief valve outlet, of galvanized steel, hard drawn copper piping and fittings, CPVC, or listed reduced pressure backflow assembly relief valve drain tube with fittings which will not reduce the internal bore of the pipe or tubing (straight lengths as opposed to coils) and shall extend from the reduced pressure backflow assembly relief valve to the outside of the building, with the end of the pipe not more than two (2) feet (610 mm) nor less than six (6) inches (152 mm) above the ground or the flood level of the area receiving the discharge and pointing downward. Such drains may terminate at other approved locations. No part of such drain pipe shall be trapped or subject to freezing. The terminal end of the drain pipe shall not be threaded.

EXCEPTION: Replacement water heating equipment shall only be required to provide a drain pointing downward from the reduced pressure backflow assembly relief valve to extend between two feet (610 mm) and six inches (152 mm) from the floor. No additional floor drain need be provided.

Backflow prevention assemblies permit application instructions

NOTE: Along with the permit application, you are required to fill out the City of Seattle Backflow Prevention Assemblies Information Form. This form must be completed and turned in with the permit application prior to permit issuance for installations within the City of Seattle only. The form is available on the website with the application or may be obtained at the permit counter.

Project Location: List the site address of the installation. Please include unit or suite numbers if applicable.

Property Owner Name(s) and Phone: The person or firm that owns the property and the phone number for them.

Parcel Number: The 10 digit property parcel number listed by the King County Assessor. This information should be on your latest property tax statement. If you do not know the number, you may contact the Assessor’s office at 206-205-3415.

Building Type: Single family is a single home/residence on a property that may also include an attached or detached garage or other accessory building on the property. Multi-family is any building containing multiple living units, such as a duplex, apartment or condominium. Buildings that do not contain living spaces are considered commercial. For buildings with mixed occupancies, such as retail spaces on one floor and living spaces on another are also considered commercial.

Building Phase: New buildings are considered new construction. Additions and remodels are considered alterations. A change-out of an existing backflow device or assembly is considered an alteration.

Contractor Name, Phone & Registration Number: If you are the contractor, please include your company name, phone and registration number. If you are the owner and you intend to perform the work yourself you need only include your name or “same as above” to indicate such. If you are paying for the services, please list the contractor’s company name, phone and registration number. Staff will check for current contractor registration prior to permit issuance.

Device/Assembly Description: If you do not see the specific device or assembly listed in the table, you write it in the blank spaces.

Applicant Name and Mailing Address: This is the signature of the person who has filled out the application. By signing the application you are thus indicating that you are either the owner, contractor or the authorized agent of the owner or contractor. For non-residential buildings, if you are not the owner, you will need a signed statement from the owner to obtain the permit.

Signature of Applicant: This is for the signature of the person identified under “Applicant Name.” By signing the application, the applicant is thereby indicating that they understand and will adhere to the rules and regulations governing contractor registration and plumber certification. For instance, if you are a property owner and you are paying for someone to perform the work, they must have a valid contractor registration and the person(s) installing plumbing inside a structure must meet the plumbing certification requirements. If you have any questions regarding these regulations, you may contact the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries at 1-800-647-0982 or you can find more information on-line                                        http://www.lni.wa.gov/TradesLicensing/Contractors/HireCon/default.asp

for backflow testing   http://www.instruction.greenriver.edu/wacertservices/


 WAC 246-290-010

 “Acute” means posing an immediate risk to human health.

“ADD” means an average day demand.

“AG” means an air gap.

“Alternative filtration technology” means a filtration process for substantial removal of particulates (generally > 2 log Giardia lamblia cysts and = 2-log removal of Cryptosporidium oocysts) by other than conventional, direct, diatomaceous earth, or slow sand filtration processes.

“ANSI” means the American National Standards Institute.

“Analogous treatment system” means an existing water treatment system that has unit processes and source water quality characteristics that are similar to a proposed treatment system.

“Approved air gap” means a physical separation between the free-flowing end of a potable water supply pipeline and the overflow rim of an open or nonpressurized receiving vessel.

To be an air gap approved by the department, the separation must be at least:

(a) Twice the diameter of the supply piping measured vertically from the overflow rim of the receiving vessel, and in no case be less than one inch, when unaffected by vertical surfaces (sidewalls); and

  (b) Three times the diameter of the supply piping, if the horizontal distance between the supply pipe and a vertical surface (sidewall) is less than or equal to three times the diameter of the supply pipe, or if the horizontal distance between the supply pipe and intersecting vertical surfaces (sidewalls) is less than or equal to four times the diameter of the supply pipe and in no case less than one and one-half inches.

“Approved atmospheric vacuum breaker (AVB)” means an AVB of make, model, and size that is approved by the department. AVBs that appear on the current approved backflow prevention assemblies list developed by the University of Southern California Foundation for Cross-Connection Control and Hydraulic Research or that are listed or approved by other nationally recognized testing agencies (such as IAPMO, ANSI, or UL) acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction are considered approved by the department.

“Approved backflow preventer” means an approved air gap, an approved backflow prevention assembly, or an approved AVB. The terms “approved backflow preventer,” “approved air gap,” or “approved backflow prevention assembly” refer only to those approved backflow preventers relied upon by the purveyor for the protection of the public water system. The requirements of WAC 246-290-490 do not apply to backflow preventers installed for other purposes.

“Approved backflow prevention assembly” means an RPBA, RPDA, DCVA, DCDA, PVBA, or SVBA of make, model, and size that is approved by the department. Assemblies that appear on the current approved backflow prevention assemblies list developed by the University of Southern California Foundation for Cross-Connection Control and Hydraulic Research or other entity acceptable to the department are considered approved by the department.

“As-built drawing” means the drawing created by an engineer from the collection of the original design plans, including changes made to the design or to the system, that reflects the actual constructed condition of the water system.

“Assessment source water monitoring” means an evaluation of groundwater sources that may be at risk for fecal contamination. Assessment source water monitoring involves the collection of source water samples at regular intervals and analysis of those samples for fecal indicators as directed by the department.

“Authority having jurisdiction” (formerly known as local administrative authority) means the local official, board, department, or agency authorized to administer and enforce the provisions of the Uniform Plumbing Code as adopted under chapter 19.27 RCW.

“Authorized agent” means any person who:

(a) Makes decisions regarding the operation and management of a public water system whether or not he or she is engaged in the physical operation of the system;

(b) Makes decisions whether to improve, expand, purchase, or sell the system; or

  (c) Has discretion over the finances of the system.

“Authorized consumption” means the volume of metered and unmetered water used for municipal water supply purposes by consumers, the purveyor, and others authorized to do so by the purveyor, including, but not limited to, fire fighting and training, flushing of mains and sewers, street cleaning, and watering of parks and landscapes. These volumes may be billed or unbilled.

“AVB” means an atmospheric vacuum breaker.

“Average day demand (ADD)” means the total quantity of water use from all sources of supply as measured or estimated over a calendar year divided by three hundred sixty-five. ADD is typically expressed as gallons per day (gpd) per equivalent residential unit (ERU).

“AWWA” means the American Water Works Association.

“Backflow” means the undesirable reversal of flow of water or other substances through a cross-connection into the public water system or consumer’s potable water system.

“Backflow assembly tester” means a person holding a valid BAT certificate issued under chapter 246-292 WAC.

“Backpressure” means a pressure (caused by a pump, elevated tank or piping, boiler, or other means) on the consumer’s side of the service connection that is greater than the pressure provided by the public water system and which may cause backflow.

“Backsiphonage” means backflow due to a reduction in system pressure in the purveyor’s distribution system and/or consumer’s water system.

“Bag filter” means a pressure-driven separation device that removes particulate matter larger than 1 micrometer using an engineered porous filtration media. They are typically constructed of a nonrigid, fabric filtration media housed in a pressure vessel in which the direction of flow is from the inside of the bag to outside.

“Bank filtration” means a water treatment process that uses a well to recover surface water that has naturally infiltrated into groundwater through a river bed or bank(s). Infiltration is typically enhanced by the hydraulic gradient imposed by a nearby pumping water supply or other well(s).

“BAT” means a backflow assembly tester.

“Best available technology” means the best technology, treatment techniques, or other means that EPA finds, after examination for efficacy under field conditions, are available, taking cost into consideration.

“Blended sample” means a sample collected from two or more individual sources at a point downstream of the confluence of the individual sources and prior to the first connection.

“C” means the residual disinfectant concentration in mg/L at a point before or at the first consumer.

“Cartridge filter” means a pressure-driven separation device that removes particulate matter larger than 1 micrometer using an engineered porous filtration media. They are typically constructed as rigid or semi-rigid, self-supporting filter elements housed in pressure vessels in which flow is from the outside of the cartridge to the inside.

“Category red operating permit” means an operating permit identified under chapter 246-294 WAC. Placement in this category results in permit issuance with conditions and a determination that the system is inadequate.

“CCP” means composite correction program.

“CCS” means a cross-connection control specialist.

“CFR” means the Code of Federal Regulations.

“Chemical contaminant treatment facility” means a treatment facility specifically used for the purpose of removing chemical contaminants.

“Clarification” means a treatment process that uses gravity (sedimentation) or dissolved air (flotation) to remove flocculated particles.

“Closed system” means any water system or portion of a water system in which water is transferred to a higher pressure zone closed to the atmosphere, such as when no gravity storage is present.

“Coagulant” means a chemical used in water treatment to destabilize particulates and accelerate the rate at which they aggregate into larger particles.

“Coagulation” means a process using coagulant chemicals and rapid mixing to destabilize colloidal and suspended particles and agglomerate them into flocs.

“Combination fire protection system” means a fire sprinkler system that:

(a) Is supplied only by the purveyor’s water;

(b) Does not have a fire department pumper connection; and

(c) Is constructed of approved potable water piping and materials that serve both the fire sprinkler system and the consumer’s potable water system.

“Combined distribution system” means the interconnected distribution system consisting of the distribution systems of wholesale systems and of the consecutive systems that receive finished water.

“Completely treated water” means water from a surface water source, or a groundwater source under the direct influence of surface water (GWI) source that receives filtration or disinfection treatment that fully complies with the treatment technique requirements of Part 6 of this chapter as determined by the department.

“Composite correction program (CCP)” means a program that consists of two elements – a comprehensive performance evaluation (CPE) and comprehensive technical assistance (CTA).

“Composite sample” means a sample in which more than one source is sampled individually by the water system and then composited by a certified laboratory by mixing equal parts of water from each source (up to five different sources) and then analyzed as a single sample.

“Comprehensive monitoring plan” means a schedule that describes both the frequency and appropriate locations for sampling of drinking water contaminants as required by state and federal rules.

“Comprehensive performance evaluation (CPE)” means a thorough review and analysis of a treatment plant’s performance-based capabilities and associated administrative, operation and maintenance practices. It is conducted to identify factors that may be adversely impacting a plant’s capability to achieve compliance and emphasizes approaches that can be implemented without significant capital improvements.

The comprehensive performance evaluation must consist of at least the following components:

(a) Assessment of plant performance;

(b) Evaluation of major unit processes;

(c) Identification and prioritization of performance limiting factors;

(d) Assessment of the applicability of comprehensive technical assistance; and

(e) Preparation of a CPE report.

“Comprehensive technical assistance (CTA)” means the performance improvement phase that is implemented if the CPE results indicate improved performance potential. The system must identify and systematically address plant-specific factors. The CTA is a combination of using CPE results as a basis for follow-up, implementing process control priority-setting techniques, and maintaining long-term involvement to systematically train staff and administrators.

“Confirmation” means to demonstrate the accuracy of results of a sample by analyzing another sample from the same location within a reasonable period of time, generally not to exceed two weeks. Confirmation is when analysis results fall within plus or minus thirty percent of the original sample results.

“Confluent growth” means a continuous bacterial growth covering a portion or the entire filtration area of a membrane filter in which bacterial colonies are not discrete.

“Consecutive system” means a public water system that receives some or all of its finished water from one or more wholesale systems. Delivery may be through a direct connection or through the distribution system of one or more consecutive systems.

“Construction completion report” means a form provided by the department and completed for each specific construction project to document:

(a) Project construction in accordance with this chapter and general standards of engineering practice;

(b) Physical capacity changes; and

(c) Satisfactory test results.

The completed form must be stamped with an engineer’s seal, and signed and dated by a professional engineer.

“Customer” means any person receiving water from a public water system from either the meter, or the point where the service line connects with the distribution system if no meter is present. For purposes of cross-connection control, “consumer” means the owner or operator of a water system connected to a public water system through a service connection.

“Customer’s water system,” as used in WAC 246-290-490 means any potable or industrial water system that begins at the point of delivery from the public water system and is located on the consumer’s premises. The consumer’s water system includes all auxiliary sources of supply, storage, treatment, and distribution facilities, piping, plumbing, and fixtures under the control of the consumer.

“Contaminant” means a substance present in drinking water that may adversely affect the health of the consumer or the aesthetic qualities of the water.

“Contingency plan” means that portion of the wellhead protection program section of the water system plan or small water system management program that addresses the replacement of the major well(s) or wellfield in the event of loss due to groundwater contamination.

“Continuous monitoring” means determining water quality with automatic recording analyzers that operate without interruption twenty-four hours per day.

“Conventional filtration treatment” means a series of processes including coagulation, flocculation, clarification, and filtration that together result in substantial particulate removal in compliance with Part 6 of this chapter.

“Corrective action plan” means specific written actions and deadlines developed by the water system or the department that the system must follow as a result of either the identification of significant deficiencies during a sanitary survey or the determination of a fecal indicator-positive sample in source water monitoring.

“Cost-effective” means the benefits exceed the costs.

“Council” means the Washington state building code council under WAC 51-04-015(2).

“CPE” means a comprehensive performance evaluation.

“Critical water supply service area (CWSSA)” means a geographical area which is characterized by a proliferation of small, inadequate water systems, or by water supply problems which threaten the present or future water quality or reliability of service in a manner that efficient and orderly development may best be achieved through coordinated planning by the water utilities in the area.

“Cross-connection” means any actual or potential physical connection between a public water system or the consumer’s water system and any source of nonpotable liquid, solid, or gas that could contaminate the potable water supply by backflow.

“Cross-connection control program” means the administrative and technical procedures the purveyor implements to protect the public water system from contamination via cross-connections as required in WAC 246-290-490.

“Cross-connection control specialist” means a person holding a valid CCS certificate issued under chapter 246-292 WAC.

“Cross-connection control summary report” means the annual report that describes the status of the purveyor’s cross-connection control program.

“CT” or “CTcalc” means the product of “residual disinfectant concentration” (C) and the corresponding “disinfectant contact time” (T) i.e., “C” x “T.”

“CT99.9” means the CT value required for 99.9 percent (3 log) inactivation of Giardia lamblia cysts.

“CTA” means comprehensive technical assistance.

“CTreq” means the CT value a system shall provide to achieve a specific percent inactivation of Giardia lamblia cysts or other pathogenic organisms of health concern as directed by the department.

“Curtailment” means short-term, infrequent actions by a purveyor and its consumers to reduce their water use during or in anticipation of a water shortage.

“CWSSA” means a critical water supply service area.

“DBPs” means disinfection byproducts.

“DCDA” means a double check detector assembly.

“DCVA” means a double check valve assembly.

“Dead storage” means the volume of stored water not available to all consumers at the minimum design pressure under WAC 246-290-230 (5) and (6).

“Demand forecast” means an estimate of future water system water supply needs assuming historically normal weather conditions and calculated using numerous parameters, including population, historic water use, local land use plans, water rates and their impacts on consumption, employment, projected water use efficiency savings from implementation of a water use efficiency program, and other appropriate factors.

“Department” means the Washington state department of health or health officer as identified in a joint plan of operation under WAC 246-290-030(1).

“Design and construction standards” means department design guidance and other peer reviewed documents generally accepted by the engineering profession as containing fundamental criteria for design and construction of water facility projects. Design and construction standards are comprised of performance and sizing criteria and reference general construction materials and methods.

“Diatomaceous earth filtration” means a filtration process for substantial removal of particulates (> 2 log Giardia lamblia cysts) in which:

(a) A precoat cake of graded diatomaceous earth filter media is deposited on a support membrane (septum); and

(b) Water is passed through the cake on the septum while additional filter media, known as body feed, is continuously added to the feed water to maintain the permeability of the filter cake.

“Direct filtration” means a series of processes including coagulation, flocculation, and filtration (but excluding sedimentation) that together result in substantial particulate removal in compliance with Part 6 of this chapter.

“Direct service connection” means a service hookup to a property that is contiguous to a water distribution main and where additional distribution mains or extensions are not needed to provide service.

“Disinfectant contact time (T in CT)” means:

(a) When measuring the first or only C, the time in minutes it takes water to move from the point of disinfectant application to a point where the C is measured; and

(b) For subsequent measurements of C, the time in minutes it takes water to move from one C measurement point to the C measurement point for which the particular T is being calculated.

“Disinfection” means the use of chlorine or other agent or process the department approves for killing or inactivating microbiological organisms, including pathogenic and indicator organisms.

“Distribution system” means all piping components of a public water system that serve to convey water from transmission mains linked to source, storage and treatment facilities to the consumer excluding individual services.

“EPA” means the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Flow-through fire protection system” means a fire sprinkler system that:

(a) Is supplied only by the purveyor’s water;

(b) Does not have a fire department pumper connection;

(c) Is constructed of approved potable water piping and materials to which sprinkler heads are attached and;

(d) Terminates at a connection to a toilet or other plumbing fixture to prevent stagnant water.


Cross-connection control. WAC 246-290-490

(1) Applicability, purpose, and responsibility.

(a) All community water systems shall comply with the cross-connection control requirements specified in this section.

(b) All noncommunity water systems shall apply the principles and provisions of this section, including subsection

(4)(b) of this section, as applicable to protect the public water system from contamination via cross-connections. Noncommunity systems that comply with subsection (4)(b) of this section and the provisions of WAC 51-56-0600 of the UPC (which addresses the installation of backflow preventers at points of water use within the potable water system) shall be considered in compliance with the requirements of this section.

(c) The purpose of the purveyor’s cross-connection control program shall be to protect the public water system, as defined in WAC 246-290-010, from contamination via cross-connections.

(d) The purveyor’s responsibility for cross-connection control shall begin at the water supply source, include all the public water treatment, storage, and distribution facilities, and end at the point of delivery to the consumer’s water system, which begins at the downstream end of the service connection or water meter located on the public right of way or utility-held easement.

(e) Under this section, purveyors are not responsible for eliminating or controlling cross-connections within the consumer’s water system. Under chapter 19.27 RCW, the responsibility for cross-connection control within the consumer’s water system, i.e., within the property lines of the consumer’s premises, lies with the authority having jurisdiction.

      (2) General program requirements.

(a) The purveyor shall develop and implement a cross-connection control program that meets the requirements of this section, but may establish a more stringent program through local ordinances, resolutions, codes, bylaws, or operating rules.

(b) Purveyors shall ensure that good engineering and public health protection practices are used in the development and implementation of cross-connection control programs. Department publications and the most recently published editions of references, such as, but not limited to, those listed below, may be used as guidance for cross-connection program development and implementation:

(i) Manual of Cross-Connection Control published by the Foundation for Cross-Connection Control and Hydraulic Research, University of Southern California (USC Manual);

(ii) Cross-Connection Control Manual, Accepted Procedure and Practice published by the Pacific Northwest Section of the American Water Works Association (PNWS-AWWA Manual); or

(iii) Guidance document: Cross-Connection Control for Small Water Systems published by the department.

(f) The purveyor shall ensure that cross-connections between the distribution system and a consumer’s water system are eliminated or controlled by the installation of an approved backflow preventer commensurate with the degree of hazard. This can be accomplished by implementation of a cross-connection program that relies on:

(i) Premises isolation as defined in WAC 246-290-010; or

(ii) Premises isolation and in-premises protection as defined in WAC 246-290-010.

(g) Purveyors with cross-connection control programs that rely both on premises isolation and in-premises protection:

(i) Shall comply with the premises isolation requirements specified in subsection (4)(b) of this section; and

(ii) May reduce premises isolation requirements and rely on in-premises protection for premises other than the type addressed in subsection (4)(b) of this section, only if the following conditions are met:

(A) The in-premises backflow preventers provide a level of protection commensurate with the purveyor’s assessed degree of hazard;

(B) Backflow preventers which provide the in-premises backflow protection meet the definition of approved backflow preventers as described in WAC 246-290-010;

(C) The approved backflow preventers are installed, inspected, tested (if applicable), maintained, and repaired in accordance with subsections (6) and (7) of this section;

(D) Records of the backflow preventers are maintained in accordance with subsections (3)(j) and (8) of this section; and

(E) The purveyor has reasonable access to the consumer’s premises to conduct an initial hazard evaluation and periodic reevaluations to determine whether the in-premises protection is adequate to protect the purveyor’s distribution system.

(h) The purveyor shall take appropriate corrective action as authorized by the legal instrument required by subsection (3)(b) of this section, when:

(i) A cross-connection exists that is not controlled commensurate to the degree of hazard assessed by the purveyor; or

(ii) A consumer fails to comply with the purveyor’s requirements regarding the installation, inspection, testing, maintenance or repair of approved backflow preventers required by this chapter.

(i) The purveyor’s corrective action may include, but is not limited to:

(i) Denying or discontinuing water service to a consumer’s premises until the cross-connection hazard is eliminated or controlled to the satisfaction of the purveyor;

(ii) Requiring the consumer to install an approved backflow preventer for premises isolation commensurate with the degree of hazard; or

(iii) The purveyor installing an approved backflow preventer for premises isolation commensurate with the degree of hazard.

(j) Except in the event of an emergency, purveyors shall notify the authority having jurisdiction prior to denying or discontinuing water service to a consumer’s premises for one or more of the reasons listed in (h) of this subsection.

(k) The purveyor shall prohibit the intentional return of used water to the purveyor’s distribution system. Used water includes, but is not limited to, water used for heating, cooling, or other purposes within the consumer’s water system.

(d) Element 3: The purveyor shall develop and implement procedures and schedules for ensuring that:

(i) Cross-connections are eliminated whenever possible;

(ii) When cross-connections cannot be eliminated, they are controlled by installation of approved backflow preventers commensurate with the degree of hazard; and

(iii) Approved backflow preventers are installed in accordance with the requirements of subsection (6) of this section.

(e) Element 4: The purveyor shall ensure that personnel, including at least one person certified as a CCS, are provided to develop and implement the cross-connection control program.

(f) Element 5: The purveyor shall develop and implement procedures to ensure that approved backflow preventers relied upon to protect the public water system are inspected and/or tested (as applicable) under subsection (7) of this section.

(g) Element 6: The purveyor shall develop and implement a backflow prevention assembly testing quality control assurance program, including, but not limited to, documentation of BAT certification and test kit calibration, test report contents, and time frames for submitting completed test reports.

(h) Element 7: The purveyor shall develop and implement (when appropriate) procedures for responding to backflow incidents.

(i) Element 8: The purveyor shall include information on cross-connection control in the purveyor’s existing program for educating consumers about water system operation. The public education program may include periodic bill inserts, public service announcements, pamphlet distribution, notification of new consumers and consumer confidence reports.

(j) Element 9: The purveyor shall develop and maintain cross-connection control records including, but not limited to, the following:

(i) A master list of service connections and/or consumer’s premises where the purveyor relies upon approved backflow preventers to protect the public water system from contamination, the assessed hazard level of each, and the required backflow preventer(s);

(ii) Inventory information on backflow preventers that protect the public water system including:

(A) Approved air gaps installed in lieu of approved assemblies including exact air gap location, assessed degree of hazard, installation date, history of inspections, inspection results, and person conducting inspections;

(B) Approved backflow assemblies including exact assembly location, assembly description (type, manufacturer, model, size, and serial number), assessed degree of hazard, installation date, history of inspections, tests and repairs, test results, and person performing tests; and

(iii) Cross-connection program summary reports and backflow incident reports required under subsection (8) of this section.

(k) Element 10: Purveyors who distribute and/or have facilities that receive reclaimed water within their water service area shall meet any additional cross-connection control requirements imposed by the department in a permit issued under chapter 90.46 RCW.


WAC 212-80-010 Fire Sprinkler Definitions.

The following definitions shall apply to this regulation: “Authority having jurisdiction (AHJ)” means the organization, office, or individual responsible for approving layout drawings, equipment, an installation or a procedure. Usually the AHJ is the building and/or fire official of the city or county in which the job site is located. In certain cases, such as health care facilities, transient accommodations and day care facilities, the AHJ is the city or county building and/or fire official and the chief of the Washington state patrol, through the director of fire protection.

“Certificate” means a certificate of competency granted by the director of fire protection under chapter 18.270 RCW, and is valid within the state and all political subdivisions, and meets all of the requirements for license or certification that may be applied by the political subdivision.

“Citation” means written notification issued by the chief of the Washington state patrol, through the director of fire protection, pursuant to RCW 18.160.040 or 18.270.020 of a civil penalty for a violation of any provision of chapters 18.160 or 18.270 RCW. A citation may include, but is not limited to, a description of the violation(s) and a notice of civil penalty assessment.

“Contractor” means any person, corporation, or other entity, licensed under chapter 18.160 RCW, which performs any work covered by the provisions of this chapter.

“Director” means the director of fire protection.

“Director of fire protection” means the state fire marshal and/or his or her authorized representative.

“Dry pipe sprinkler system” means a system employing automatic sprinklers attached to a piping system containing air or nitrogen under pressure, the release of which (as from the opening of a sprinkler) allows the water pressure to open a valve known as a dry pipe valve. The water then flows into the piping system and out to the open sprinkler(s).

“Fire protection sprinkler system” means an assembly of underground and/or overhead piping beginning at the connection to the primary water supply, whether public or private, that conveys water with or without other agents to dispersal openings or devices to extinguish, control, or contain fire or other products of combustion. The fire protection sprinkler system (with the exception of residential combination systems) starts at the point where the last nonfire water use is taken from the supply mains. This is the point just down stream of the last tap for domestic or process water, the last water control valve that is required by a city or other authority, or the point where the water can be considered nonflowing.

“Fire protection sprinkler fitting” means installing, altering, and repairing sprinkler, standpipe, hose, or other hazard systems for fire protection purposes that are an assembly of piping or conduit beginning at the connection to the primary water supply within a building, sprinkler tank heaters, air lines and all tanks and pumps attached thereto.

“Fire pump” means a listed pump supplying water at the flow and pressure required by water based fire protection systems.

“FOR DESIGN ONLY” means a certificate of competency holder only allowed to perform the design of a fire protection sprinkler system consistent with the level of certification he or she holds. In the case of a “State Level U certification,” “FOR DESIGN ONLY” merely allows the individual to maintain their certification.

“Formal hearing” means a hearing before a hearings officer where laws, rules, and evidence are presented, considered, and a decision is rendered.

“Hazard” means a condition which could result in injury or death to a person and/or damage to property.

“Hearings request” means the written request for a formal hearing to contest a civil penalty.

“Hose connection” means a combination of equipment provided for connection of a hose to the standpipe system that includes a hose valve with a threaded outlet.

“Inspection” means a visual examination of a fire protection sprinkler system, or portion of the system, to verify that the system appears to be in operating condition, is free from physical damage, and complies with the applicable statutes and regulations adopted by the state.

“Instance” means the number of times a person has been cited for a violation of chapters 18.160, 18.270 RCW, or this chapter. These will be identified as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd instances.

“Journey-level sprinkler fitter” means any person who has been issued a certificate by the director of fire protection as provided by chapter 18.270 RCW.

“Maintenance” means work performed on a fire suppression sprinkler system to keep the equipment operable, or to make repairs.

“Network fire protection sprinkler system” means a type of multipurpose system utilizing a common piping system supplying domestic plumbing fixtures and fire sprinklers as defined by NFPA 13D.

“NFPA” means the National Fire Protection Association.

“NFPA 13D” means, in addition to the definition contained in chapter 18.160 RCW, the inclusion of minor accessory uses such as garages normally found in residential occupancies.

“NFPA 13R” means the standard used by the National Fire Protection Association for the installation and design of fire suppression sprinkler systems in residential occupancies up to and including four stories in height.

“NFPA 13” means the standard used by the National Fire Protection Association for the installation and design of fire suppression sprinkler systems in commercial or high occupancy facilities.

“NFPA 14” means the standard used by the National Fire Protection Association for the installation of standpipe and hose systems.

“NFPA 20” means the standard used by the National Fire Protection Association for the selection and installation of pumps, both centrifugal and positive displacement, that supply liquid for a private fire protection system.

“NFPA 24” means the standard used by the National Fire Protection Association for the installation of the dedicated underground fire service main of a water based fire protection system.

“NFPA 25” means the standard used by the National Fire Protection Association for the inspection, testing, and maintenance of water based fire protection systems.

“NICET” means the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies.

“NITC” means the National Inspection Testing Certification.

“Person” means one or more individuals, legal representatives, partnerships, joint ventures, associations, corporations (whether or not organized for profit), business trusts, or any organized group of individuals and includes the state, state agencies, counties, municipal corporations, school districts, and other public corporations.

“Preaction system” means a sprinkler system employing automatic sprinklers attached to a piping system containing air, which may or may not be under pressure, with a supplemental detection system installed in the same areas as the sprinklers.

“Qualified” shall mean an individual who has demonstrated through education, training, examination, and/or national certifications the competency, skill, and ability necessary to perform any work covered and/or defined by this chapter and chapters 18.160 and 18.270 RCW to the satisfaction of a relevant jurisdiction. In matters of compliance with the licensing and certification requirements of this chapter and chapters 18.160 and 18.270 RCW, the relevant jurisdiction shall be the chief of the Washington state patrol, through the director of fire protection.

“Residential-level sprinkler fitter” means anyone who has been issued a certificate by the director of fire protection limited to installation, maintenance, and repair of the fire protection sprinkler system of residential occupancies as defined by NFPA 13, NFPA 13D and NFPA 13R.

“Revoke” means the chief of the Washington state patrol, through the director of fire protection, shall rescind a company’s license or an individual’s certification. Such action causes said company or individual to cease any and all work in the sprinkler field in Washington state until such time as the chief of the Washington state patrol, through the director of fire protection, is satisfied with the resolution of the issue which caused the license or certificate to be revoked.

“Standpipe” means the vertical portion of the system piping that delivers the water supply for hose connections, and fire sprinklers on combined systems, vertically from floor to floor. The term standpipe also refers to the horizontal portion of the system piping that delivers the water supply for two or more hose connections, and fire sprinklers on combined systems, on a single level as defined by NFPA 14.

“Standpipe system” means an arrangement of piping, valves, hose connections, and allied equipment installed in a building or structure, with the hose connections located in such a manner that water can be discharged in streams or spray patterns through attached hose and nozzles, for the purpose of extinguishing a fire, thereby protecting a building or structure and its contents in addition to protecting the occupants as defined by NFPA 14.

“State certified fire sprinkler system inspection and testing technician” (ITT) means a state certificate of competency holder who is qualified to inspect and/or test NFPA 13D, 13R, or 13, wet and dry pipe fire protection systems per the definition of fire protection sprinkler system in this chapter. However, testing of other fire protection systems such as preaction, deluge, foam, or fire pump and maintenance of any type of system defined under this chapter or chapter 18.160 RCW shall be performed only by contractors who are also qualified and licensed to design and install that type of system or fire pump being tested or maintained.

“State fire marshal” means the director of fire protection or his/her authorized representative.

“State Level 1 certification” means a certificate of competency holder who is qualified to prepare layout drawings, install, inspect, test, maintain, or service an NFPA 13D fire protection sprinkler system or any part of such a system.

“State Level 1 licensing” means a sprinkler contracting company licensed by the chief of the Washington state patrol, through the director of fire protection, to contract and/or offer to bid on the design, installation, service, maintenance, and/or inspection of a NFPA 13D fire protection sprinkler system or any part of such a system.

“State Level 2 certification” means a certificate of competency holder who is qualified to prepare layout drawings, install, inspect, test, maintain, or service an NFPA 13D and/or an NFPA 13R fire protection sprinkler system or any part of such a system.

“State Level 2 licensing” means a sprinkler contracting company licensed by the chief of the Washington state patrol, through the director of fire protection, to contract and/or offer to bid on the design, installation, service, maintenance, and/or inspection of a NFPA 13D and/or a NFPA 13R fire protection sprinkler system or any part of such a system.

“State Level 3 certification” means a certificate of competency holder who is qualified to prepare layout drawings, install, inspect, maintain, or service an NFPA 13D, NFPA 13R, NFPA 13, or all other systems per the definition of fire protection sprinkler system in chapter 18.160 RCW.

“State Level 3 licensing” means a sprinkler contracting company licensed by the chief of the Washington state patrol, through the director of fire protection, to contract and/or offer to bid on the design, installation, service, maintenance, and/or inspection of a NFPA 13D, NFPA 13R, NFPA 13, or all other systems per the definition of a fire protection sprinkler system in chapter 18.160 RCW.

“State level inspection and testing contractor licensing” means a sprinkler contracting company licensed by the chief of the Washington state patrol, through the director of fire protection, to contract and/or offer to bid on the inspection or testing of a wet or dry pipe NFPA 13D, NFPA 13R, NFPA 13, or other systems per the definition of a fire protection sprinkler system in chapter 18.160 RCW. However, the testing and maintenance of fire protection systems such as preaction, deluge, foam, or fire pumps, shall be performed only by contractors who are also qualified and licensed to design and install that type of system or fire pump being tested or maintained.

“State Level U certification” means a certificate of competency holder who is qualified to certify the installation of the underground portions of fire protection sprinkler systems in conformance with recognized standards adopted by the director of fire protection.

“State Level U licensing” means a sprinkler contracting company licensed by the chief of the Washington state patrol, through the director of fire protection, to contract and/or offer to bid on the installation of the underground portions of fire protection sprinkler systems in conformance with the recognized standards adopted by the chief of the Washington state patrol, through the director of fire protection.

“Suspend” means the chief of the Washington state patrol, through the director of fire protection, holds a license or certificate inactive until such time as the chief of the Washington state patrol, through the director of fire protection, feels confident that the company or individual is in compliance with the requirements of this chapter and chapters 18.160 and 18.270 RCW.

“Testing” means a procedure used to determine the status of a system as intended by conducting periodic physical checks on water-based fire protection systems such as water flow tests, fire pump tests, alarm tests, and trip tests of dry pipe, deluge, or preaction valves. These tests follow up on the original acceptance test at intervals specified in the appropriate chapter of NFPA 25.

“Type” means the classification of violation as minimal, moderate, and severe. These are identified as Types I, II, and III respectively.

“Violation” means any action, general or specific, inconsistent with the intent and letter of chapters 18.160 and 18.270 RCW and shall be further defined as:

(a) “Minimal violation” means a Type I violation which poses a minor hazard or threat to life and property in the event of a fire.

(b) “Moderate violation” means a Type II violation which poses a significant hazard or threat to life or property in the event of a fire.

(c) “Severe violation” means a Type III violation which poses a substantial hazard or threat to life or property in the event of a fire.

“Wet pipe sprinkler system” means a sprinkler system employing automatic sprinklers attached to a piping system containing water and connected to a water supply so that water discharges immediately when any sprinkler is opened by heat from a fire.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Dave permalink
    February 10, 2011 6:53 pm

    Thanks!

  2. Jennifer Phippard permalink
    February 10, 2011 7:04 pm

    Pop’s Testing Service went above and beyond with not only finding and testing my backflow, but also dealing with the city to keep them from turning off my water. Thank you, and keep up the good work. See you next year.

  3. November 4, 2011 2:24 am

    Hydraulic Pressure Testing, What is it that you are using to do your pressure testing.

    • onewayflow permalink*
      November 29, 2011 8:12 am

      The gauge is a pressure (D) differential gauge, it measures PSID.

  4. January 22, 2012 3:39 am

    Valuable information. Lucky me I found your site by accident, and I am stunned why this coincidence didn’t happened in advance! I bookmarked it.

  5. June 22, 2015 7:38 pm

    I love it when individuals get together and share opinions.
    Great site, keep it up!

  6. June 24, 2015 9:02 am

    Hello there! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give
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