Backflow Protection

Backflow Protection

North East Water requires all water services connected to its drinking water supplies to be fitted with an appropriated Back Flow Prevention Device.

This provides containment protection at the property boundary in accordance with the Australian Standards 3500-1.

Back flow is categorised as low, medium or high hazard, and these categories apply to individual fixtures, zoning multi fixtures and total property containment.

Residential Connections

Residential connections may be a low hazard, unless they are altered by hobbies, watering systems or home businesses, in which case the property's hazard rating increases. New water connections may be fitted with a dual check valve (low hazard device) between the meter and the residence. North East Water may require a higher level of protection, depending upon any increased risk.

Industrial/Commercial Connections

Each installation is assessed at the time of connection. Land use, and therefore hazard rating, may change without notification to the Corporation. The onus is on the owner, occupier or plumber to have the correct device fitted to suit the hazard rating at all times.

Regulatory Impacts and Requirements

It is the responsibility of the property owner or occupier to install effective containment back flow control. Owners also are responsible for ensuring their property plumbing conforms to the minimum regulation standard.

When installing or altering water services, plumbers must assess the property plumbing and install appropriate works, such as back flow prevention.

North East Water has a Back Flow Prevention Device Agreement that sets down the terms and conditions relating to the installation of a device in the water service of a property. This agreement is used to fulfil the requirements of the plumbing regulations and the Water (Estimation, Supply and Sewerage) Regulations 2014. It is also to ensure that the property owner is aware of their responsibilities for maintaining the device.

To view our Backflow Policy, click here.

Customer Impacts

The back flow prevention program has provided customers with additional surety of supply safeguards, which prevent potential contamination of the potable water supply from sources external to property service entry points. Commercial and industrial customers who undertake any activities within their properties that are considered by regulation to be hazardous are required to install an approved back flow device.

All costs associated with the purchase, supply and installation, testing and ongoing routine maintenance are the responsibility of the property owners.

If any customer has an alternative water supply source, the property's hazard rating is, by AS3500-1 definition, high and the premises requires the installation of a testable back flow prevention device. However, an above ground rainwater tank is rated a low hazard.

Pressure Reduction

A concern with mechanical back flow prevention devices is that the head loss through the device is significant and may cause supply problems where natural gravity systems do not exist or the supply source is not sufficiently elevated. Manufacturers of back flow devices are aware of this issue and are continually modifying designs to minimise head loss.

Procedure for installation of a back flow prevention device

Property owners must obtain North East Water's consent before installing any testable back flow prevention device. Click here for the Backflow Prevention Device Application.

An assessment fee may be charged in accordance with the Corporation's tariff structure.

The owner/occupier will be required to enter into an agreement with the Corporation to maintain the device in a serviceable condition.

Only plumbers with endorsement for back flow prevention may carry out initial commissioning and periodic testing and any maintenance required in accordance with the regulations.

Commissioning results to all testable back flow prevention devices must be supplied to the Corporation.

Testable backflow prevention devices are required by AS3500-1 to re tested at least annually to ensure that they are in good working condition. North East Water's inspectors will visit properties where backflow devices are installed and request to view the annual test report. If the annual test has not been done, the property owner will be issued with a notice requiring them to have the test done within 28 days. Failure to comply may result in the cancellation of the Agreement and the termination of the water supply until either the device is tested or the hazard is removed to prevent the possible contamination of the Corporation's assets.