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Do I need a backflow device?

All properties in the Yarra Valley Water area must be assessed to determine the risk of backflow.

If your property is assessed as a High or Medium hazard risk, then you need a device. If this is the case, you must arrange for the installation of an appropriate containment backflow prevention device. Such a device must be located at the water meter, or all meters if there is more than one.

There should be no connections between the water meter and the device.

Given the right circumstances, backflow can occur at any property that is supplied with a water supply connection. If your property is considered a High or Medium hazard risk and you do not have a backflow prevention device installed, your property may contaminate the water supply. 

To eliminate this risk, the installation of an appropriate backflow prevention device is required. It is the responsibility of the owner or occupier to ensure that no backflow occurs.

Hazard ratings

Of course, having a device is dependent on having your site assessed so that the property’s hazard rating can be determined. 

The internal pipe work arrangements and the processes carried out on the site will dictate the hazard rating for the property.

There are three official hazard ratings.

  1. High - any condition, device or practice which in connection with the water supply system has the potential to cause death. 
  2. Medium - any condition, device or practice which in connection with the water supply could endanger health.
  3. Low - any condition, device or practice which in connection with the water supply system would constitute a nuisance but not endanger health or cause injury.

A qualified licensed plumber can assess the hazard rating of your business process and determine the type of device you need to have.

If you have a cross connection, or an installation on your premises with the potential to cause backflow, and subsequent contamination of the water supply occurs, your company may be exposed to:

  • injury claims
  • illness or death of occupants
  • contamination of products and subsequent exposure to product liability claims
  • litigation and possibly penalties, as the result of actions brought by the health departments under Occupational Health and Safety legislation
  • liability for damages caused to others at adjoining premises serviced by the same main water supply as your property.

You may already have a backflow prevention device installed within the property however a containment backflow prevention device is required regardless of zone or individual protection. As Yarra Valley Water cannot guarantee the integrity of zone or individual protection on a customer’s site, we cannot guarantee the protection of the drinking water supply from backflow unless the site is contained by an appropriate device at the meter.

More information