City contractors to begin annual backflow testing


April 11, 2018 — In April, the City of Florence will begin the annual testing of residential premise isolation backflow assemblies throughout the city. These tests are required for compliance through the City Code and the Oregon Admini-

strative Rules to help protect the water system.

The city is in contract with Olson LLC to perform these tests during the spring. Olson personnel will be conducting the tests during the next several weeks in order to complete the testing cycle in a timely manner.

If the Olson LLC personnel look familiar, they are. Olson LLC has been completing the city’s residential backflow assembly testing for the last several years. They also working with Consolidated Supply Co. on the city’s water meter upgrade project.

For most of Florence’s residential customers, the testing of the premise isolation backflow prevention assembly is simple and quick. Most customers won’t even know that the testing crew has been to their residence. The testing of the backflow assembly does require the water to be turned off for a few minutes while the test procedure is performed.

The city’s testing procedure is to knock on the door to let the customer know what the crew is doing. If water is being used, the contractor will move to the next location until the water is no longer being used.

In the event nobody answers the door, the installer visually inspects the meter to make sure there isn’t an appliance using water or to make sure the homeowner isn’t busy and didn’t hear the door knock.

Florence and its contractors also realize that there are some customers who don’t answer the door because they assume the installer is a solicitor. In these cases, the crew relies on the visual inspection of the meter to avoid a disruption.

Olson LLC strives to time the 2-minute water interruption for backflow assembly test to be between usage intervals by the homeowner so no one is without water or inconvenienced. There can be rare occasions when an expansion tank is installed in the home, that a shower or appliance can be started with the water turned off at the street. Water will appear to be available for a short time. This is rare and the contractor tries to avoid the situation.

The City of Florence and Olson LLC extend their apologies if a customer has experienced a surprising water interruption. It is the highest priority of the city and Olson LLC to avoid interruptions and surprises due to the testing of these devices.

Residents are encouraged to call the City of Florence Public Works office with any concerns and questions at 541-997-4106.

Backflow and Cross Connection

The city’s water system is a pressurized system, with water typically flowing in only one direction. A sudden drop in pressure somewhere in the system can reverse the flow and suck substances in to the water system that could potentially cause contamination of the drinking water. This is known as backflow.

The city makes every effort to maintain positive system pressure; however, unplanned events such as main breaks and firefighting activities might cause backflow to occur.

A cross connection is any plumbing arrangement where potable (drinking) water pipes are connected to a piping system or fixture that carries non-potable water or harmful substances. Any cross connection poses a contamination risk to the water system and must be controlled by a backflow prevention device.

Hot tubs, auxiliary water systems such as wells, and fire sprinkler and irrigation systems are some common situations where a cross connection might be present.

Safeguarding the Water Supply

Our cross connection and backflow program seeks to eliminate cross connections wherever possible or assure that backflow protection devices are installed and assist property owners in complying with state regulations. Oregon plumbing code dictates when property owners must install a backflow prevention device. Under Oregon Administrative Rule 333-061-0070, the city is responsible for assuring that required backflow devices are installed correctly and tested regularly.

Backflow prevention assemblies are mechanical devices, and like all mechanical devices, can malfunction or wear out. Consequently, all backflow assemblies installed must be tested by a certified backflow tester annually to make sure they are working as designed and the results submitted to the city.

Contact the City of Florence’s Backflow Prevention Program staff to determine if your property is required to have a backflow device at 541-997-4106.


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