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Services - Backflow Testing

What we can do for you

Longhorn is fully licensed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to inspect, test, repair, replace, and certify your commercial or residential Backflow Prevention Assemblies. In addition, Longhorn is registered as a Certified Backflow Tester with the cities in the area that we serve.

We have state certified backflow inspectors on staff to perform these services. Longhorn will handle all the paperwork and coordination efforts required by the city or state. We will supply you a copy of the test report for your records. We will inform you if a test fails, and provide you an estimate to bring your device up to code. There is no additional charge for retesting the device after we make repairs or replacement to bring the device up to code. We are required by state law to submit testing results upon completion of testing each backflow device regardless of pass or fail status.

(Note: testing of commercial or residential fire sprinkler system backflow devices can only be performed by Backflow Prevention Assembly Testers working full time for a licensed Fire Prevention Company)

Typically in landscape situations the backflow device is in a box in the ground in close proximity to the water meter and supply line. In other business applications including dentist or doctor offices and restaurants the device may be located in a utility closet on the premises.

Most backflow inspections will take between 30 minutes and one hour per device. We will schedule an appointment to inspect and test your device. Unless prior arrangements have been made with the office, payment is due upon completion of the service. We accept checks, cash, or credit card.

Backflow devices which have not been maintained tested for extended periods (years) often require additional work to both allow testing and to meet code. In these cases additional labor or material charges may apply. Longhorn will inform you upfront if additional charges are necessary and provide you an estimate if applicable. Common examples include:
  • The backflow box may be filled with soil blocking access to the test access ports and/or valve handles.
  • The valve knobs have rusted to the point where they will not turn or break off and must be replaced to perform the test.

Some Frequently Asked Questions about Backflow Prevention Assemblies

How exactly are you testing the backflow prevention assembly?

Testing by a licensed professional is performed with specialty (expensive) test equipment that has been calibrated by a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) certified company. This test equipment and its calibration information are provided to the city at the time of test result reporting.

Who requires installation of backflow devices?

There have been many documented cases of drinking water being contaminated or polluted, by both commercial and residential sources, around the world, The United States Department of Environmental Protection, Adopted the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1974 (revised in 1986 and 1996) Public Law 99-339. In Texas the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is the environmental agency for the state and enforces the Texas Administrative Codes concerning Public Drinking Water, specifically Chapter 290. This law made it the responsibility of the local water purveyors to enforce the cross connection laws. Several of the cities have begun enforcement efforts with major industries and small commercial accounts. All new construction both commercial and residential must install backflow devices and have those devices inspected upon installation and then inspected at least annually. This testing must be performed by a recognized certified Backflow Prevention Assembly tester. Contact your city's Public Work Department if you have any questions about compliance or concerns about the safety of your potable water supply. Most cities require certified backflow prevention assembly Testers be registered with the city, so you may contact the city to find a certified backflow Tester.

What is backflow?

Simply put, backflow occurs any time the flow in your water system reverses direction.

Example #1. If a car strikes a fire hydrant water will gush out of the hydrant at full water pressure, causing a huge drop in water pressure at all buildings on the block. With this drop of pressure, the direction of water flowing through pipes can actually reverse. Whenever flow reverses, there is a strong likelihood of fresh water contamination.

Example #2. Imagine you have a garden hose in a bucket of soapy water. The water pressure supplied to your property drops unexpectedly. When this happens, the water flow to the water hose in the bucket of soapy water could reverse and suck the contents of the bucket into the city's water system contaminating water to you and other nearby users.

Backflow from a facilities that process acids, toxic chemicals, medical or bio-hazards, or sewage could be very dangerous.

This is where a backflow valve comes in. During a time of water pressure fluctuation, the valve will prevent your contaminants from flowing into the city's water system.

What is a cross-connection?

A Cross-Connection is a permanent or temporary connection between potable or drinking water and anything that can pollute or contaminate the water supply.

Cross connection control is simply a program that is designed to take safeguards necessary to protect the public water supply.

Potentially all water services can be affected by cross connections including residential garden hoses, decorative fountains and ponds, or irrigation systems.

Protection from contamination from a cross connection can be provided by disconnecting the source of potential contamination, or installing a backflow preventer that allows water to flow in only one direction.

A Backflow Prevention Assembly looks complicated, but is a simple and very sound way to safeguard a cross connection to a potential hazard. There are several different types of devices and according to the degree of hazard represented determines which device will be required.

What maintenance and inspection is required?

Backflow valves must be tested and certified when first installed and at least once per year thereafter. Most commercial and residential devices can each be tested in about one hour. Many cities are contacting water customers about their backflow devices and requiring them to show that they are in compliance with the state and local ordinances and have a current test report showing that the backflow device assembly connection to the public water supply has been tested and successfully passed.

After completion of the test, the owner of the backflow device is provided a copy of the certified test report. Most valves pass inspection. But if the device fails you must have it repaired or replaced.

What is the cost of a Backflow Prevention Assembly inspection/ Test and repair?

The cost to inspect and test is based on the type, size and quantity of Backflow Devices being tested at the time. A typical residential or commercial business Backflow Device inspection/test will cost approximately $75 plus tax. Repairs typically can range in the neighborhood of $30 to $350 plus tax depending again on type and size of the device and the extent of repair.

How much does a new backflow valve cost?

Backflow valves range in size from of an inch (homes and small businesses) to 10 inches (for Large Facilities). Valve prices vary from $360 to greater than $30,000 according to the size of the device. Installation and testing of the assembly is commensurate with the size and type of backflow device.

Where do I find a Certified Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester?

The TCEQ maintains a record of current certified backflow assembly Testers. Certification is authorized and managed by the TCEQ. Each certified tester has completed an approved course of study on cross-connection control and Backflow Prevention Assembly testing, and passed an examination administered by the TCEQ and holds a current professional irrigator's license and Backflow Prevention Assembly tester license from the state.