Backflow Prevention

Backflow prevention is the responsibility of the supplier of water (the BPU) and the water customer (you).

What Is Backflow and Why Is Backflow Prevention Important?

Please refer to the following video from the American Water Works Association (AWWA):

Backflow Prevention Program

The objective of the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) Backflow Prevention Program is to protect the public water system from potential contamination, as is required by New York State Sanitary Code (Section 5-1.31 of Part 5).

To help ensure that no water of questionable or unsuitable quality enters the public water system, the BPU works with water customers to have the appropriate backflow prevention devices installed, tested and maintained. Water customers are responsible for managing the installation, testing and maintenance of backflow prevention devices.

Please refer to the BPU's Backflow Prevention Policy for more information on the requirements for installation, maintenance and testing of backflow prevention devices. Failure to comply with this policy may result in charges to the water customer and/or discontinuation of his/her water service.

Backflow Prevention Devices

A backflow prevention device stops the backflow of possibly contaminated water into the public water supply during a back-siphonage or back-pressure event.

What Type of Backflow Device Should Be Installed at My Facility?

The type of backflow prevention device that is installed at a facility is dependent upon the degree of hazard of that facility. Please refer to the following AWWA video for more information:

Degree of Hazard Evaluation

The degree of hazard of a facility is determined through an evaluation by one of the following professionals:

  • Professional Engineer
  • Registered Architect
  • Master Plumber licensed with the City of Jamestown                                                                        *A Master Plumber can perform degree of hazard evaluations for existing buildings only

Once a facility's degree of hazard has been determined by the professional, the professional will choose the type of backflow prevention device that should be installed in order to adequately protect the public water system.

Device Specifications

The type of backflow prevention device chosen to be installed must be on the approved list from the University of Southern California Foundation for Cross Connection Control and Hydraulic Research.

Please refer to the standards outlined in the following table:

Degree of HazardBackflow Device RequiredDevice Standards
Non-hazardousIn-Line Dual Check ValveMust be lead-free, meet ANSI/ASSE 1024 or greater, and meet all AWWA standards.
Aesthetically ObjectionableDCV1 or DCDA2Must meet ASSE 1047 or greater and all AWWA standards.
HazardousRPZ3 or RPDA4Must meet ASSE 1047 or greater and all AWWA standards.

(1) Double Check Valve; (2) Double Check Detector Assembly; (3) Reduced Pressure Zone device; (4) Reduced Pressure Detector Assembly

DCDA and RPDA backflow prevention devices are installed on fire services. These devices should have a bypass line where the BPU can install a water meter; a testable backflow prevention device should also be located on the bypass line.

Application Process

Backflow prevention devices need to be approved by the BPU before installation.

In order to obtain BPU approval, the professional (who completed the degree of hazard evaluation) must fill out the appropriate Backflow Device Application and send it in for review. The application may be sent to BPU Water Division Engineering by mail or by email.

Once the BPU has approved of the backflow prevention device to be installed, the contractor can proceed with the installation of the device.

Who May Install a Backflow Device?

Master Plumbers licensed with the City of Jamestown are needed to install backflow prevention devices on the following types of services:Backflow Prevention Device

  • Domestic services
  • Process lines
  • Fire services

Exception:  Pipefitters may also install backflow prevention devices on fire services.

Device Testing

Once a backflow prevention device has been installed, it must be initially tested to ensure it is functioning properly. From that point on, the device must be tested every year.

Backflow prevention devices are required to be tested by New York State Certified Backflow Prevention Device Testers.

The certified tester fills out a Report on Test and Maintenance of Backflow Prevention Device (sometimes shortened to 'test report'), each time a backflow device is tested. A copy of each test report must be sent in to BPU Water Division Engineering by mail or by email.

* Please note that this section only applies to testable backflow prevention devices. An in-line dual check valve, for instance, is a non-testable device.

Device Maintenance

If a backflow prevention device fails its annual test, the device must be repaired/replaced and then tested during the one-month period following the test.

If replacement is required, the device must be replaced with an equivalent type and model of backflow prevention device. If there is reason to replace the device with a different type and/or model of backflow prevention device, approval must be obtained from the BPU prior to replacement.

Backflow Prevention Device Exemption

The BPU no longer offers exemptions from having to install a backflow device.

During the early stages of the BPU's Backflow Prevention Program (2012-2014), a water customer could apply for an exemption from having to install a backflow prevention device if the degree of hazard of his/her facility was determined to be 'non-hazardous.'

For water customers who obtained a Backflow Prevention Device Exemption, please remember the following points:

  • The Backflow Prevention Device Exemption Renewal Form must be submitted to the BPU every year.
  • The Renewal Form serves as an assurance by the property owner that none of the conditions of his/her building have changed since it was initially inspected and approved as non-hazardous to the public water system.
  • Failure to renew an exemption yearly may result in the loss of that exemption.
  • If the building use or internal plumbing is changed, the degree of hazard will need to be re-evaluated and the appropriate backflow prevention device will need to be installed.