PDA

View Full Version : Backflow Course


ARGOS
02-28-2009, 02:12 PM
Finally getting to one of my New Year's resolutions and taking the Back Flow Cross Connection Certification course and exam next week. 40 class room hours in one week. Fortunately half the time is hands on. I am taking the class through the American Water Works Association. (http://www.awwa.org/)

Considering the Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor for next year.

"This course (half lecture and half hands-on training) provides the testing and maintenance methods for backflow prevention assemblies. Participants will learn how to recognize various backflow preventers and the proper procedures for testing each assembly under a variety of test conditions. This course will review all the rules, codes, and regulations on backflow requirements."

DanaMac
02-28-2009, 02:21 PM
Finally getting to one of my New Year's resolutions and taking the Back Flow Cross Connection Certification course and exam next week. 40 class room hours in one week. Fortunately half the time is hands on. I am taking the class through the American Water Works Association. (http://www.awwa.org/)

Considering the Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor for next year.

"This course (half lecture and half hands-on training) provides the testing and maintenance methods for backflow prevention assemblies. Participants will learn how to recognize various backflow preventers and the proper procedures for testing each assembly under a variety of test conditions. This course will review all the rules, codes, and regulations on backflow requirements."

What does the backflow cert do for you? Do you need it for what you do? Or just want to have it under your belt for knowledge? I have a cross connection license for installing BFVs and pulling permits. I haven't used the license in 3 or 4 years although I keep paying to renew it, but I still like having it.

Ewing is having another auditor class and test in September. I'm signing up for that Monday. I took the class a year and a half ago, but never did the test. I still have the IA book for it, so I can read up throughout the year too.

Flow Control
02-28-2009, 02:40 PM
My class was spread over 8wks. I have a lot of quizes that I kept and I have in word docs. I think you will be flooded with a lot of info when trying to learn everything in one week. If you have any questions, just ask.

ARGOS
02-28-2009, 02:43 PM
The cert will enable me to test and certify "installed" backflow devices. I can install a BF with my contractors license, but cannot certify the device after install, I have to call in a certified tester to do the test after a new install.

Additionally all BF devices that are on cross connections (supplied with both well and public water) are required to get tested annually. The purveyor sends out post cards to everyone with a BF on file and tells them they need to get the BF tested before such and such a date or else their public water will be turned off. HOAs and industrial complexes also have to have their BFs tested annually. The problem that comes up (and has been discussed alot here) is that enforcement is another issue. So, the building department enforces an install of a BF, but the water company doesn't follow up with annual testing nor proper documentation. If a water company is not doing proper documentation and a BF falls through the cracks and there is then an actual BF event, then the tester could find themselves in the middle of a lawsuit (should one occur).

I can also do BF on fire systems, but I doubt I will do that very often because fire systems require a flow test from a fire system guy (not sure what the regs are?)

Mike Leary
02-28-2009, 03:00 PM
The cert will enable me to test and certify "installed" backflow devices. I can install a BF with my contractors license, but cannot certify the device after install, I have to call in a certified tester to do the test after a new install.

It's a good, money making ticket to have. I used to test fire lines, but quit
because of all the who-hah we had to go through: call the alarm company,
call the Fire Dept, get the key to the mechanical room, etc. Good luck. :clapping:

AI Inc
02-28-2009, 03:03 PM
It's a good, money making ticket to have. I used to test fire lines, but quit
because of all the who-hah we had to go through: call the alarm company,
call the Fire Dept, get the key to the mechanical room, etc. Good luck. :clapping:

As much as a PITA as it sounds, if they could all be sceduled for winter.......

DanaMac
02-28-2009, 03:07 PM
As much as a PITA as it sounds, if they could all be sceduled for winter.......

Now that would be ideal.

Mike Leary
02-28-2009, 04:20 PM
As much as a PITA as it sounds, if they could all be sceduled for winter.......

Get those rates up; those 6" & up fire lines are hard to even shut the iso valves down, then there's the matter of parts; something we don't normally
carry in the trucks. Leave it to the fire guys.

ARGOS
02-28-2009, 04:26 PM
Get those rates up; those 6" & up fire lines are hard to even shut the iso valves down, then there's the matter of parts; something we don't normally
carry in the trucks. Leave it to the fire guys.

The other aspect of this is that a fire system requires a flow test every fives years. The flow test is another cert. I am trying to stay focused on irrigation/landscape.

Mike Leary
02-28-2009, 05:04 PM
The other aspect of this is that a fire system requires a flow test every fives years. The flow test is another cert. I am trying to stay focused on irrigation/landscape.

At least, fire lines are done well, unlike most backflow installs. If the fire line is in a vault, OSHA requires all sorts of rules being followed, including breathing apparatus and harness and stand-by safety people.

Mike Leary
02-28-2009, 05:39 PM
At least, fire lines are done well, unlike most backflow installs. If the fire line is in a vault, OSHA requires all sorts of rules being followed, including breathing apparatus and harness and stand-by safety people.

Same goes for any backflow assembly in a vault, not just fire line.

Flow Control
02-28-2009, 06:55 PM
Confined spaces: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/confinedspaces/index.html

That's something I stay away from.

Mike Leary
02-28-2009, 07:05 PM
That's something I stay away from.

I used nitrous oxide when I went into vaults.

ARGOS
02-28-2009, 07:48 PM
I used nitrous oxide when I went into vaults.

Now THAT explains it all.

mitchgo
02-28-2009, 07:51 PM
I think it's BS that it's not tested upon installation.

I say at least 50% of the time at least one check will have debree in it from the new install and fail right off the bat

ARGOS
02-28-2009, 08:00 PM
I think it's BS that it's not tested upon installation.

I say at least 50% of the time at least one check will have debree in it from the new install and fail right off the bat

Its required here to test on install?

Wet_Boots
02-28-2009, 08:07 PM
Hey, it's got a serial number, therefore it's AOK :)

mitchgo
02-28-2009, 08:57 PM
Its required here to test on install?

I think you mean there?

Meaning here. Yes we do and annual there after, and depending on the city some require an inspector is required to come before the testing.

ARGOS
02-28-2009, 09:09 PM
No, I mean here. Somewhere we were derailed. A partial reason I am getting cert is because I can do an install, but cannot do a cert. Must call in tester for cert after install.

Bush_Baron
02-28-2009, 09:23 PM
Texas requires backflow testing on fire systems to be performed by fire line companies. I am licensed to test backflows, simply for the convience of being able to certify the device for permitting's final inspection on my irrigation systems. Most irrigators in my area have let their certification lapse because there are so many folks testing them for around $25-$45 bucks. Some water purveyors in the Houston area require annuals on irrigation, and commercial sites deemed as high hazard. Buy lots of insurance. If the device fails, and someone gets a tummy ache from cross contamination, it's not a question of if they will sue, but how much will they get.

Flow Control
02-28-2009, 10:10 PM
Buy lots of insurance. If the device fails, and someone gets a tummy ache from cross contamination, it's not a question of if they will sue, but how much will they get.

It's a mechanical device, my job is to test, not to guarantee how it will function after the test.

Wet_Boots
02-28-2009, 10:26 PM
Texas requires backflow testing on fire systems to be performed by fire line companies. I am licensed to test backflows, simply for the convience of being able to certify the device for permitting's final inspection on my irrigation systems. Most irrigators in my area have let their certification lapse because there are so many folks testing them for around $25-$45 bucks. Some water purveyors in the Houston area require annuals on irrigation, and commercial sites deemed as high hazard. Buy lots of insurance. If the device fails, and someone gets a tummy ache from cross contamination, it's not a question of if they will sue, but how much will they get.Reason number one to prefer vacuum breakers. Gravity works better than insurance does.

Bush_Baron
02-28-2009, 10:52 PM
Good point. I brought that up to the inspector. City code allows AVB's to be installed on sprinklers instead of PVB's. AVB's are not inspectable, therefore do not require the $50 permit that is charged for the PVB. No annual inspection fee. The only problem is you would have to install one AVB per zone. I have seen this done, and I'm sure many of you have too, manifolded valves with one AVB per valve.

Wet_Boots
02-28-2009, 11:03 PM
PVBs are also gravity devices, even with the check valve you inspect. Or don't inspect, depending where you are.

Bush_Baron
02-28-2009, 11:23 PM
I am not familar with gravity devices, I assumed you were refering to an AVB with a simple poppet that opens when the pressure differential is greater on the downstream side, or, a non pressure condition exists. PVB's are spring loaded to create a zone of differential pressure for the opening point of the air inlet, and a differential pressure for the check valve. And don't forget to check the blinker fluid.

Mike Leary
02-28-2009, 11:39 PM
No, I mean here. Somewhere we were derailed. A partial reason I am getting cert is because I can do an install, but cannot do a cert. Must call in tester for cert after install.

Anyone who installs backflow should have to, at least, pull a permit as to the install regs that various purveyors ask for. Sad state of affairs when the rookies don't even use unions, provide proper clearance or use approved assemblies. We tested the day the assembly was installed.

Wet_Boots
03-01-2009, 07:01 AM
I am not familar with gravity devices, I assumed you were refering to an AVB with a simple poppet that opens when the pressure differential is greater on the downstream side, or, a non pressure condition exists. PVB's are spring loaded to create a zone of differential pressure {that's not what the spring-loading of the poppet is for} for the opening point of the air inlet, and a differential pressure for the check valve. And don't forget to check the blinker fluid.Any vacuum breaker, whether AVB or PVB, is a gravity device, because it is the force of gravity that prevents water from climbing uphill in a pipe open to the atmosphere. I have never encountered the PVB where its check valve had the slightest impact on its function. Maybe in the warmest areas, there might be some chance for a PVB poppet to stick closed, as the device may not be unpressurized for years and years.

ARGOS
03-04-2009, 10:30 AM
A lot of information...fast. It is fun learning a new tool. We are using the five needle differential guage. The course is well set up and the instructor has taken the time to really set up some nice stands for wet lab. Much easier then the real world, but at least I don't have to think about anything but learning the devices and trouble shooting.

The manifold is set up to a fire hydrant.

hoskm01
03-04-2009, 10:33 AM
Wow. Lab looks pretty nice, as described.

Mike Leary
03-04-2009, 10:33 AM
Where did you go to take the test? Looks like a nice testing facility.

ARGOS
03-04-2009, 10:44 AM
I was impressed with the lab equipment. Top notch. I am taking the class at Sacramento Suburban Water District. I take the test Saturday. I take the test at the same location. There is a stage for each student and each stage has a different set of BFs and flow direction. So, you can jump around and you have to reorient yourself according to flow, etc. Helps grasp the mechanics and prevent being automatic. Ya gotta tink.

Mike Leary
03-04-2009, 10:56 AM
Russ just took his re-cert test, failed the v.b part. Reason? We don't have any in service!

Wet_Boots
03-04-2009, 11:02 AM
Russ just took his re-cert test, failed the v.b part. Reason? We don't have any in service!PVB? I'd hate to have to 'test' an AVB

ARGOS
03-08-2009, 12:19 PM
I passed the test. I am now a Certified Backflow Tester.

The trouble shooting part of the test was hard. I was surprised that I scored 100%! Pretty proud of that score. I didn't do as well with the theory part and scored 85%. The wet test was pretty straight forward. The proctor didn't set me up with any trouble shooting so I just had to do straight forward testing of the RP, DC, PBV and SBV.

30% of the people testing failed. I have a theory that things like this are easier when you elect to take the class and certify. I was the only independent, everyone else were from a water company or worked for a contractor. I also like my job so much that learning new skills are fun.

Kiril
03-08-2009, 12:27 PM
Good for you dude ... hope you can find a use for the cert. :) Knowledge is power. :clapping:

I am curious about one thing ... did you need to provide your own equipment or did they supply?

Wet_Boots
03-08-2009, 12:32 PM
We always figured you'd been certified.

ARGOS
03-08-2009, 12:34 PM
They supplied the equipment for the course and the test. If there are guys that are new certs they provide it. If everyone is a recert then you have to bring your own gauge. Earlier in this post I put pictures of my wet lab.

Mike Leary
03-08-2009, 12:35 PM
I passed the test. I am now a Certified Backflow Tester. I also like my job so much that learning new skills are fun.

Congrats, Argos. :clapping:

Kiril
03-08-2009, 01:11 PM
We always figured you'd been certified.

You talkin to me .... certifiable is more like it. :laugh:

No, I am not a certified BF tester ... there are about 20-30 of them in my area, so other than the educational value .... it holds nothing of meaning for me.

ARGOS
03-08-2009, 01:37 PM
You talkin to me .... certifiable is more like it. :laugh:

No, I am not a certified BF tester ... there are about 20-30 of them in my area, so other than the educational value .... it holds nothing of meaning for me.

I learned quite a bit. Additionally I learned a lot from the guys attending the course. During lunch or breaks we talked shop. Interesting stuff regarding water treatment, etc. The proctor was the Administrator for the AWWA of N. CA. I was a wealth of information.

Other then the initial $1000 bucks for the class and test and the cost of the differential gauge the cert is pretty inexpensive to maintain.

Mike Leary
03-08-2009, 03:19 PM
Other then the initial $1000 bucks for the class and test and the cost of the differential gauge the cert is pretty inexpensive to maintain.

When I got certified, I went around to the purveyors and made sure I was on their list of certified BATs. The ones I really wanted to test for, I took to lunch. Within six months, I'd paid for my course and my Watts TK-DL tester.

Stuttering Stan
03-08-2009, 07:55 PM
Thanks to Argos, I am now trying to get my certificate. In talking with AWWA I found out that, in the near future, backflow testing will become a license rather than a certification.

hoskm01
03-08-2009, 08:11 PM
Thanks to Argos, I am now trying to get my certificate. In talking with AWWA I found out that, in the near future, backflow testing will become a license rather than a certification.
Good for you Les. w*hore yourself out at the FD too for fire backflow checks.

Stuttering Stan
03-08-2009, 08:17 PM
Good for you Les. w*hore yourself out at the FD too for fire backflow checks.
For right now I'll stick to dinky pipe. However, all options are on the table.

ARGOS
03-09-2009, 12:52 PM
Thanks to Argos, I am now trying to get my certificate. In talking with AWWA I found out that, in the near future, backflow testing will become a license rather than a certification.

You can thank the knuckle heads here on lawnsite. ML, Bic, Boots have all discussed BF in great depth. I found the topic interesting and started looking into it. I am really happy I got the cert and am looking forward to getting my first test.

ARGOS
05-30-2009, 05:38 PM
Just ordered a spankin brand new backflow tester.

Midwest 845. (http://www.specialtyvalve.com/valves/default.51.11.19.51.0.0.html)

Wet_Boots
05-30-2009, 05:43 PM
Remember to take that out of the truck when it gets cold overnight.

Mike Leary
05-30-2009, 06:10 PM
I am really happy I got the cert and am looking forward to getting my first test.

Wow! Something has actually been acomplished on the forum? When I sold the biz, I hammered the new guy to get certified; it's
got him a cool part of his business if service and install are slow. Actually, it's a business in itself if you get tight with the purveyors.

zman9119
05-30-2009, 06:40 PM
I wish we could test in Illinois...