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Backflow Prevention & Testing


Reitzel Irrigation is Charlotte's Backflow specialist. We have over 20 years experience and have spent well over 150 hours in required continuing education learning about backflows over those years.

We are able to install, repair, test and maintain any and all backflows. We have relationships with both the suppliers as well as the government authorities. We are able to get a majority of backflow parts needed same day locally and more specialized parts are just a phone call away and can be delivered within 1 business day if necessary. We are also able to get new, complete devices quickly, with common sizes such as 3/4", 1", 1-1/2". 2" being in stock locally.

We primarily use Watts Regulator Backflows which we have found provide excellent performance with little pressure loss, unlike other devices. Watts devices are manufactured at the Watts Factory in Spindale, NC and Franklin, NH, therefore complete devices not in stock locally are available from western North Carolina within a few business days.

Click Here to Learn More about Backflow Prevention

Need a Backflow Installed or Replaced?

So What is a Backflow?

People often think water travels in only one direction through the distribution system, but under certain pressure conditions, water can actually travel backwards. If a customer's water supply line is connected to a substance not fit for drinking and the line is unprotected, then the unfit substance could travel backwards through the water distribution system.

This is known as backflow.

Consider a hose submerged in a bucket of garden chemicals. If the water pressure in your area becomes lower than normal, the chemicals in the bucket can flow backwards through the hose and into your drinking water supply.

An installed backflow preventer picture is to the right.


1" RPZ Backflow Preventer for Irrigation

What are the Regulations?

All industrial, commercial, and irrigation systems are REQUIRED by the International Plumbing Code to have at least some kind of Backflow Prevention Device. Customers are required to install, maintain and test a backflow device approved by the local Utilities Department. For customers in the City of Charlotte and surrounding area a Reduced Pressure Assembly, or RP, backflow must be installed per local ordinance.

Also, starting in 2014, all Backflow Devices installed/sold must be Lead Free per federal law ("Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act" circa 2011). While lawn irrigation system backflows are excluded in the law, we are having problems getting "leaded" backflow devices to use on irrigation, we have been told by more than 1 supplier that after the stock of "leaded" backflows is depleted, we will have to start using lead free models. Beginning with all new installs in 2014, we will be installing Lead Free designed backflow devices (unless we can obtain a leaded one). There is of course an increased cost and has been factored into the price of the backflow component on proposals.

Most Irrigation systems already have a backflow device installed, however some irrigation systems in the past have been installed without one, creating a dangerous Cross Connection, where water in the irrigation system could flow backward into the city main, where your family could be the first ones to get sick along with your neighbors. If you know someone who doesn't have a backflow on their irrigation system and has City water, urge them to contact us to bring their system up to code and protect themselves and their family. We are a FULLY licensed and bonded Commercial Plumber and we can install. permit and test backflow devices.

Part of the Requirement to install and maintain a properly working backflow is to have it tested. We are also a fully licensed/certified Backflow Tester.


Installed Irrigation Backflow Preventer with required cover on one of our new installations

Per City of Charlotte Ordinance on Backflow Prevention and Cross Connection Control Article V Sec. 23-173- Installation and Testing of backflow prevention assemblies(link), "Each backflow-prevention assembly required by this article must be functioning properly when installed. Each customer must test, maintain and repair each required backflow-prevention assembly which is part of the customer's private water system.

Such test as may be prescribed by CMU must be conducted by a certified tester on each backflow-prevention assembly required by this article at each of the following times: Immediately after the installation of each backflow-prevention assembly; On an annual basis thereafter; Upon completing the repair of each backflow-prevention assembly; and At any time that CMU has reason to believe that a required backflow-prevention assembly may not be operating properly.

Each customer must maintain a complete, written record of every repair and test of a required backflow-prevention assembly which is part of such customer's private water system for at least seven years. A copy of the record for each test or repair must be sent to CMU by such customer within 30 days after the completion of each test or repair. Such records must be maintained on forms approved by CMU."

What this means is that ANYONE with an Irrigation Backflow needs to have it tested as soon as possible and get in the program or they will be in violation of City of Charlotte ordinance and could be subject to a $100 fine and/or water service termination. This also affects older Irrigation customers who still have Double Check backflows, as they were installed before Reduced Pressure ones were required.

If you are a new irrigation customer and we installed your system, you are already in compliance (as long as you continue to have it tested). We follow City ordinance and test all Irrigation Backflows upon installation automatically and the first one is included in the price of your system. We charge $75 each year to test a backflow preventer.

Why does it cost $75 to test my Backflow? Can I get a discount?

The reason we charge $75 to test a backflow is determined by several factors. To become a Certified Backflow Tester each tester has to take a rigorous 40 hour course at CPCC and pass a written and practical exam, of which takes the employee out of being able to perform any service work. Secondly, every 2 years testers are required to re-certify at CPCC during a 1 1/2 day course and retake the written and practical exams. In addition, each year the special "test kits" have to be certified for proper operation and fix any problems, this alone costs around $100 year if no repairs are needed. Lastly, we have to factor in the price of the fuel to drive to your location and the wages of the tester. Some companies charge $25 for a backflow test, however they charge you $50 for them to come out and actually test it. Most Citys/towns also require the purchase of a business license as well to be placed on their approved tester list.

Unfortunately we are not able to offer any discount on Backflow Testing due to the above factors. Our price is consistent with the industry. We do offer discounts to our Commercial customers whom have multiple devices.

Price List for Backflow Testing:

  • Residential Irrigation Service (scheduled for anytime)- $75.00
    • Irrigation Service where customer would like an appointment or certain date/time- $85.00
  • All Commercial Devices (Irrigation & Domestic) less than 3" in size- $85.00
  • All Commercial Devices - 3" and larger- $100.00
  • Commercial Fire Line- $150.00*

    * = in order to obtain this price for a Fire Line test, we must have either the complete contact information of someone who is knowledgeable of the monitoring account number and pass code to shut off the alarm or we must be provided the contact information for the monitoring company, along with the account number and pass code. Time spent waiting on the alarm to be disabled so it can be tested without the prior information may result in additional charges. The monitoring company must be notified prior to the test being performed to prevent a false alarm from being triggered. Fire line backflows larger than 6 inches may result in additional charges depending on individual circumstances.

    • Kannapolis Backflow Tests- Add $15 to the above prices due to new fees being assessed by the City.

Areas We Serve for Backflow Testing:

  • City of Charlotte/Mecklenburg County (CMU Water)
  • City of Concord/Cabarrus County
  • City of Kannapolis
  • Town of Harrisburg
  • City of Gastonia (Two Rivers Utilities)
  • Town of Mount Holly
  • Town of Mooresville
  • Lincoln County
  • Stanly County (Locust, Albermarle, etc)

Quick Links:

City of Charlotte Ordinance on Backflow Prevention
Backflow Testing Request Form

You can now email your backflow testing requests! Simply email [email protected] including your Name, Address where the device is, service number (Charlotte only), and your phone number. We will email you an invoice and submit the test to the City for you upon receipt of payment. You can optionally scan and attach the letter from the City as well!

 

 
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Specializing in Irrigation Installation, Repairs, Service and Backflow Testing, Backflow Repairs, and Backflow Replacements in the Charlotte NC Metro Area
Reitzel Irrigation, Inc. | Ph. (704) 361-2026 | 6370 Crayton Road | Mount Pleasant, NC 28124-9148 | [email protected]

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