Backflow is the undesirable reversal of flow of water into the potable water system, which can cause contamination or pollution. There are many situations that can trigger a backflow event, where potentially harmful substances can enter the potable water system. Backflow assemblies are installed to prevent such events from occurring.
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Generally, it is located behind the water meter near the street for most residential applications. In commercial applications, there may be internal backflow assemblies near potential hazards in addition to the assembly at the meter. This is to provide an extra level of protection to the water distribution system in case the external assembly at the meter is not functioning.
Title 17 of the California Administrative Code and the Santa Margarita Water District’s Rules and Regulations require that backflow assemblies be tested on an annual basis. The backflow test is to ensure the assembly is functioning properly to prevent contamination or pollution of the potable water supply.
A backflow assembly may be tested by any backflow tester currently certified through the Orange County Health Care Agency. Please refer to our Backflow webpage for more information on testing and reporting.
Typically, the backflow tester’s name and number who performed the previous year’s test at the property is listed on the front page of the backflow test letter above the assembly information. You may also contact a backflow tester from the approved list provided. The backflow test letter is sent out at the beginning of the month the test is due and comes with a test report form for each backflow assembly at the property. The report forms are given to the tester upon arrival, who will perform the test, complete the forms, and return the forms via email or fax to SMWD by the end of the test month. SMWD forms and instructions can be found on our Backflow webpage.
It is the responsibility of the property owner, unless an agreement between owner and tenant exists, to maintain and test backflow assemblies. Orange County Health Department maintains a list (click here) of certified backflow testers that can test, maintain, and repair backflow assemblies. Please also refer to our SMWD Backflow webpage for forms and instructions.