The Safe-T-Cover Blog

Keep Backflow Prevention Outside To Reduce Risk for M/P Engineers

Posted by Randy Holland on June 8, 2017

The water engineering community has been struggling with new professional liability risk involving the location of premise isolation backflow preventer systems. This is not because of new design practices, but because of new information about the old practices. There has been a slow trickle of warnings for years, but in the past 3 years important organizations and industry leaders have added new warnings with much stronger language that not only change recognized best practices, but actually challenge the fitness and safety of older placement methods altogether.

Is this really that important?

Sadly, we are learning through SCADA and AMI that there is actually more backflow occurring at the premise than we previously suspected. With this new risk realization comes a new interested party: the insurance company. Because of this very public commentary from experts and leading groups, casualty carriers, through subrogation, have new weapons for damage recovery. And anytime the accused designer is able to demonstrate that local government contributed, whether materially or passively, to the poor design, the water district and/or building authority may be at risk for the liability.

Water Districts NEED Premise Isolation in order to fulfill their EPA mandate. Furthermore, premise-isolation design details and specifications need to be provided to civil engineers because of their general familiarity with standard details and their comparable lack of familiarity with backflow systems. The slideshare below is from a presentation given at the ASPE 2016 Convention and Expo. In it you'll find compelling reasons to move premise isolation backflow preventers away from the plumbing/mechanical engineers' domain and strictly to the civil engineering domain.

This slideshare covers:

  1. Design differences between the DC and RPZ and why that matters
  2. Current placement practices
  3. The real risks of indoor RPZs
  4. The real cost of indoor containment
  5. The explosive growth of the RPZ and how that impacts Mechanical and Plumbing Engineers
  6. How do we encourage transitioning this task to the civil engineering discipline?

Please feel free to download or share this presentation. If you'd like to know more about the state of the backflow prevention industry, please download this free eBook on the latest trends in backflow installation.

backflow preventer

Topics: Backflow Prevention, Backflow Preventers, Civil Engineering, Plumbing Engineering