Plumbing

Backflow prevention

What is a backflow prevention device?

A backflow prevention device is a valve that prevents potentially harmful polluted water from entering the city’s drinking water supply when an incident such as a drop in pressure causes water to be drawn back into the main from private properties.

When is a backflow prevention device required?

You may have a backflow prevention device on your property if you have any of the following:

  • an irrigation system
  • fire hose reels or hydrants
  • vehicle or bin wash down bays
  • A commercial or industrial activity or machinery connected to the mains
  • Water outlets in proximity to pollutants, grease traps or chemicals

Types of devices

There are different types of devices which can be installed depending on the hazard rating of the purposes carried out on the property. The three hazard ratings identified by AS/NZS 3500:1 are:

  • high hazard – any conditions, device or practice which in connection with the water supply systems has the potential to cause death.
  • medium hazard – any condition, device or practice which in connection with the water supply could endanger health.
  • low hazard – any condition, device or practice which in connection with the water supply system would constitute a nuisance but not endanger health.

What causes backflow to occur?

A backflow of water can occur when there is a change of water pressure due to events such as a burst water main or firefighting operations causing the water to flow backwards from a private property into the main water supply.

Owners' responsibility to test devices

Under Queensland Government plumbing legislation, the owner of an installed testable backflow prevention device must ensure the device is registered with Council and have the device tested annually by an endorsed backflow plumber. 

Backflow prevention devices include reduced pressure zone, double check, break tanks, registered air gaps and some single check valves.

The details and location of the device(s) and any test results must also be registered with the Council.  

Responsibilities of endoresed backflow plumbers'

Completed tests result(s) to be submitted to Council within ten business days of the device(s) test. Failure to comply with the statutory obligations above may result in enforcement action. A list of authorised plumbers can be found in your local phone directory.

Responsibilities of Council

Council has the legislated responsibility to implement and maintain a program for the registration, maintenance and testing of all the testable backflow prevention devices installed in its area.

Council will request in writing for owners of backflow device(s) to conduct tests prior to the due date.  Once notified the owner is to arrange for:

  • The device(s) to be tested; and 
  • Have the test report(s) submitted to Council within 10 business days after testing of the device(s).

New devices

New devices may be associated with a Plumbing and Drainage Compliance Permit and will be identified by Councils Plumbing Officers if required.

It is the responsibility of the licensed plumbing contractor to submit a Form 4 to the Plumbing Industry Council and forward a copy of the completed Form 9 to Council. The device will then be added to Council’s Backflow Register.

Removing a device

New devices may be associated with a Plumbing and Drainage Compliance Permit and will be identified by Councils Plumbing Officers, if required.

It is the responsibility of the licensed plumbing contractor to submit a Form 4 to the Plumbing Industry Council and forward a copy of the completed Form 9 to Council. The device will then be added to Council’s Backflow Register.

Replacing a device

It is the responsibility of the licensed plumbing contractor to submit a Form 4 to the Plumbing Industry Council and forward a copy of the completed Form 9 to Council.

Further information

Should you have any further enquiries in relation to backflow or the register process, please contact Water Services - Plumbing Compliance Team on 1300 883 699 or email us at backflow@bundaberg.qld.gov.au.

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