If you’re in the market for a backflow enclosure, ASSE 1060 certification should be on your list of considerations. That’s because ASSE certified products are tested by qualified laboratories to strict performance requirements and standards. They’re certified in a manner that is impartial, balanced, informed, and rigorous.
The American Society of Sanitary Engineering produced the ASSE 1060 standard in 1996. It focuses on devices that provide protection for fluid-conveying pipes which are mounted outside and above ground. ASSE recommends backflow enclosures are ASSE certified.
To learn more about how products are certified, we spoke with Conrad Jahrling, the staff engineering supervisor at ASSE. His role not only includes reviewing ASSE product listing reports but also fielding technical questions from manufacturers, labs, code officials and the general public. He continually works to expand ASSE International’s portfolio of standards and tries to capitalize on industry trends in need of voluntary consensus.
What Devices Are Protected?
The ASSE 1060 certification applies to enclosures that protect fluid-conveying components. These enclosures protect:
- backflow prevention assemblies and devices
- water meters
- control valves
- pressure-reducing valves
- air release valves, pumps
ASSE also recommends that your backflow enclosures are installed in a way consistent with local codes, Typically, the local codes require the enclosure to be certified to ASSE 1060.
What Is The ASSE 1060 Standard?
Essentially, ASSE 1060 provides the performance requirements for a range of protection. It ensures that if your backflow enclosure is mounted outside and above ground it’s equipped to avoid damage from freezing, vandalism, and tampering.
“It needs to be anchored down, provide environmental protection, provide venting or heating as required,” Jahrling says.
Products can only be approved by ASSE if the manufacturer applies to have the product tested in a certified lab. “We check to make sure it (backflow enclosure) can withstand a certain physical load. Partially because of snow, but we also have to make sure someone can stand on top of it as sometimes they blend in with their surroundings,” Jahrling says.
Jahrling adds that in order for an enclosure to pass the structural strength test, it must be able to support a minimum vertical load of 100 pounds per square foot for at least 24 hours.
The enclosure is also placed in an environmental chamber to test freeze protection “We put the box in the environmental chamber that replicates a harsh winter,” Jahrling says. To pass, heated enclosures must maintain an internal temperature of at least 32°F (0° C) and an average of 40°F (4.4°C) in as low as -30° weather. So, if you live in a climate where winters are long and temps are cold, the ASSE 1060 class 1 will provide the freeze protection you need.
Jahrling says the lock and the hinges are tested, too. “You have to make sure you don’t need a force of over 70 pounds to open it up,” Jahrling says. “And for the locking test, we attach a cable to the locking mechanism and pull on it with 20 pounds dropped three feet to see if it’s going to disengage.”
It’s surprising, but many engineers and water jurisdictions know little about ASSE enclosure certification. Safe-T-Cover believes this standard plays an important role in the safety of clean drinking water. But Jahrling says more and more companies are hearing the message and getting their products certified. "The proof is the number of companies out there that want to show that their entire catalog of products conforms with the ASSE 1060 standard,” Jahrling says.
And for more information on designing your enclosure, you can look up the design guidelines for drinking water systems in every state.