Protect Your Facility’s Water Systems with Backflow Testing

Backflow contamination is a critical public health issue that occurs when toxins from one part of a water system flow into a fresh or potable water supply line. Thankfully, water systems are designed and built to prevent this.

However – as with any system – testing, maintenance and repair are key to ensuring a water system is properly functioning and preventing backflow contamination. Every state, and even individual municipalities, has plumbing codes and standards to uphold in order to keep people and local fresh water supplies safe.

OSHA’s sanitation standard (1910.141) states: “Construction of nonpotable water systems or systems carrying any other nonpotable substance shall be such as to prevent backflow or backsiphonage into a potable water system.”

“Meeting codes and standards is important because public health is vital,” said Mike Kelley, TP Mechanical’s Quality Control Associate. “Our licensed backflow testing ensures your water systems are code compliant and keeping the supply safe.”

One of the most common culprits is the simple water hose connection. If a water hose is not protected with a backflow prevention device, such as a vacuum breaker, the water hose creates a path for cross-contamination to the potable water system. Without a backflow preventer in place, everyday tasks like filling a swimming pool or using a power washer with a chemical cleaner tank can become dangerous by allowing whatever is in that system to flow back into drinking water.

Backflow prevention devices are also key components in avoiding contamination events from irrigation systems, fire suppression systems and large boilers. Without a properly functioning preventer, these types of systems are susceptible to biological, chemical and mineral contamination because water often sits stagnant in them, allowing bacterial and inorganic material build-up.

“Checking all preventers for leaks and the whole system for pressure issues is critical,” said Mike. “These are both common culprits when backflow occurs, and they put your facility and the entire local water supply at risk.”

Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana plumbing code require all backflow prevention devices be tested annually by a licensed plumber, and TP Mechanical will ensure code compliance and system effectiveness for companies.

For more information

To learn how TP Mechanical provides comprehensive, innovative solutions to ensure your plumbing meets code, visit our website, and contact us to schedule a backflow test.

Unleash the Protection of Inspections

The word “inspection” can provoke both grimaces and groans. It’s one more thing to check off the list, and it can also add stress thinking about the potential results. But it’s time to embrace fire inspections as an important part of your business plan.

Blog8That’s because the annual losses by fire far outpace the losses from floods, hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes and other natural disasters in the United States, according to the United States Fire Administration. Adhering to an effective fire protection plan led by trained inspectors will reveal any problems before they become major issues, saving you time, money and inventory.

How often should fire inspections occur?

The National Fire Sprinkler Association recommends that a knowledgeable professional do a full sprinkler system inspection at least four times a year. However, be sure to check your local regulations as some states and cities require more frequent inspections.

In addition to quarterly inspections, you should schedule additional inspections when:

  • The building or the use of the building changes
  • The water supply changes
  • A backflow preventer or water meter is added or changed

How can TP Mechanical help you prevent fires?

TP Mechanical service teams can review and audit your current protection system and then provide a comprehensive recommendation for repairs, replacements and ongoing maintenance. To receive a free assessment and review of your system for compliance, cost-effectiveness and emergency readiness, click here.

You can then secure TP Mechanical to make regular inspections of your sprinkler system. After each inspection, we’ll provide you test certificates that comply with the requirements of your insurance company and local fire department inspection. From deluge fire sprinkler systems to specialized hazard systems, see all the fire protection capabilities TP Mechanical has to offer.

Chemical Treatment Station – Proper Installation

Presented by TP Mechanical | Provided by Pat Gallagher TP Mechanical Service Division Lead Installer

My approach to every project I do is to think about the end user. Are the strainers accessible? Are the shut-off valves accessible? Is there a clear path to the backflow preventer? There are many items such as these that the owner will have to deal with long after we leave the project. I have to be sure that once the installation is complete, the product can be modified easily if need be.

One area that I feel I specialize in is in the installation of the chemical treatment stations. Early in my career, I worked in a number of different buildings that had existing cooling towers and chemical treatment stations that were poorly installed. It was obvious that no thought was given to the people that monitor these systems and work around them on a regular basis.

DSC_1529I start by making sure the piping that serves the station is properly connected. This insures that the system has proper flow through the controller and including the blowdown. If the blowdown connection is placed on the bottom of the pipe, make sure you notify someone immediately. This is incorrect installation as it should be near the side or top of the pipe. By placing the pipe near the top, the blowdown strainer won’t clog as often.

After completing the initial inspection, I move on to the inspection of the station itself. I like to mount the treatment pumps on a shelf above the chemical drums. This will keep them from having to be moved every time the drum is changed out. I also like to keep the injection point close to the pumps so there is minimal plastic tubing stretched throughout the space. By taking the time to think ahead about these things, you make sure you have the right amount of space to deliver a professional looking installation.

These stations are points of contact that the owner and chemical treatment provider will continually need access to for the life of the system. If it is done right, it can be a constant reminder of the work we do and a reason to call us back.