Frequently Asked Questions
Who Is Responsible?
Maintenance of all backflow devices is the responsibility of the property owner. Annual testing provides an assurance to both yourself and Council that your devices are operating safely and effectively.
Doesn’t the Council notify me?
Not always, they genreally send a ‘show cause’ notice, the onus in legislation states it’s the owners responsibility to conduct a maintenance programme.
What is backflow?
Backflow means any unwanted flow of used, unclean, polluted or contaminated water or any other substance from any domestic, industrial or institutional piping system into the pure, portable water distribution system.
How does backflow occur?
Councils water supply system is designed to ensure that water flows to your property under pressure. If that pressure is not maintained, there is a chance that water could be drawn backwards and into the water supply. Water pressure can be affected, for example: when there is a break in the water main, water is being pumped from a water main during a fire or when high pressure is being genereated downstream by pumps, thermal expansion or elevation.
Has backflow really happened?
Yes, it has happened. For example: a coffee shop had coloured water coming out of its sink tap from the adjacent hairdressing salon. Or the two ladies who died when they were drinking their tea after a backflow occurred from the gardener who was mixing chemicals in a drum at the local club.
How will Council know if my valves have been tested or not?
The council maintains a register of all properties that have backflow prevention devices. The licensed plumber who inspects or tests a testable device must, within 10 business days after inspection or testing the device, give the council written results of the inspection or test.
What happens if I don’t have my valves tested?
The State Governments max. penalty – 20 penalty units.
If the council references that you have not had your valves tested they will write you a ‘show cause’ notice and further to that penalties will be issued. If a backflow occurs and an investigation arises from that, then there are not only penalties for non- compliance but litigious action can arise, with insurance implications.
How often do backflows occur in Queensland?
There is a possibility of 2,500 backflow occurrences in Queensland every day.