Backflow FAQs

What will a test cost?

The cost of having a device tested varies among testers. The cost is also dependent on several factors, including the size of the device, where the device is located, the type of device, etc. You may want to call several Certified Testers to obtain quotes for your test.

Who do I call to have a test completed?

Any certified backflow prevention assembly tester who is registered may be called on to test the device. If the device is located on a fire system, the tester must be employed by an Approved Fire line Tester. The tester will return the original report of the test to Modern and will give the customer a copy of the test report.

Why is Modern Electric responsible for enforcing the rules, since they are State of Washington rules?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforces the backflow regulations by delegating the responsibility to the State. The Washington State Department of Health/Office of Drinking Water then enforces the backflow regulations by requiring the water purveyors to administer the backflow program locally. Modern must report to the State annually to determine it is administering the program according to regulations.

Is my home or business “Grandfathered” In?

There is no “grandfathering” of backflow devices which are out of compliance with current regulations. The State considers backflow regulations to be a health and safety issue. These issues must be addressed in a timely matter for the safety of the public water supply and the health of our customers.

Why does a soft drink dispensing machine require backflow protection?

Soft drink dispensers (post-mix carbonators) use carbonated water mixed under pressure with syrup and water to provide soft drink beverages. Many, if not most internal water pipes, are made of copper. When carbonated water comes into contact with copper, it chemically dissolves the copper from the pipe. This copper-carbonate solution has been proven to be a risk to the digestive system.

How would a backflow issue occur in a commercial building?

An example of this situation includes customers observing yellow water flowing from a drinking fountain and green ice rolling out of an ice machine. The contaminants were traced to an error by a maintenance person. A pump for the air conditioning system burned out and the maintenance person, unaware of the danger, connected the system to another pump used for potable water. The result caused large doses of bichromate of soda to be forced into the drinking water supply, causing the dramatic appearance of yellow water and colored ice cubes.