Backflow prevention device registration and compliance

What is backflow prevention and why is it important

Backflow prevention is a term used to refer to the prevention of an unwanted reverse flow of water from a potentially polluted source into the drinking water supply.

Backflow occurs when a condition exists in a water supply system that will cause back-siphonage or back-pressure. The water supply system is designed to ensure your property is supplied with potable water under pressure. If there is a drop in the supply pressure, there is a risk that water could flow backwards into the water main.

Events leading to backflow:

  • water main pressure is reduced
  • a cross-connection between potable and non-potable water exists
  • liquid metals, chemicals, waste or debris enter the potable water supply by either back-siphonage or back-pressure
  • another property uses the potable water.

An example of back-siphonage would be a pipeline breakage, undersized pipework or high withdrawal rates. Back-pressure can occur within properties when high pressure is generated downstream by pumps, thermal expansion or elevation.

Examples of potential source of contamination:

  • fire hose reels (FHR)
  • irrigation
  • swimming pools
  • vehicle maintenance pits
  • ornamental ponds
  • air conditioning towers
  • vehicle/bin washing bays
  • chemical injection areas

Property owners have a responsibility to provide and maintain backflow prevention devices to protect other water consumers from the activities on your property.

BackFlowID - simplified system for backflow prevention device registration and compliance being rolled out across the Region in August 2021.

You are required to have a backflow prevention device if your property has:

  • an irrigation system
  • a fire system
  • commercial or industrial equipment
  • an alternate water supply (rain water tank connected to the house)
  • an activity that has the potential to contaminate the drinking water supply i.e. dishwashers, bidet toilet, air conditioning towers, wash bays, swimming pools/spas etc.

A correctly selected backflow prevention device (one-way valve) will eliminate any risk of contamination of the drinking water supply. Backflow devices are either testable or non-testable types with the selection dependent on the risk associated with the possible contamination.

Discuss options with your plumber to determine whether a non-testable device may be suitable to your situation. This option in most cases is only applicable to residential properties i.e. rainwater tanks. If a non-testable device is suitable to your situation, you will not need to register the device with Council. However, it is important to notify Council of the change to enable the current testable device to be removed from the Register and to avoid any unnecessary correspondence.

Backflow prevention device owners have a legislated responsibility to register each device with Council and have each device tested at least annually as per the Plumbing & Drainage Regulation 2019 s102 Testable backflow prevention device - obligations of owner of premises.

Under the Plumbing & Drainage Regulation 2019 s102, a penalty of up to 20 penalty units may apply to every device that has not been tested or registered.

Registering a backflow prevention device

Council have the legislated responsibility to implement and maintain a program for the registration, maintenance and testing of all testable backflow prevention devices installed in its area.

We are required to keep a register of backflow prevention devices as per the following:

  1. Standard Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2019 Section 101 – Testable backflow prevention devices
  2. State Government Standard Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2019.
  • A local government must implement and maintain a program for its local government area for the registration, maintenance and testing of testable backflow prevention devices installed in the area.
  • The local government, or an entity authorised by the local government, must keep a register of the testable backflow prevention devices.
  • An owner of an installed testable backflow prevention device must: 
    1. register the device with the local government or entity; and
    2. at least once each year, have the device inspected or tested by a person who is licensed to do the work.
  • A person who inspects or tests a testable backflow prevention device must, within 10 business days after inspecting or testing the device, give the local government results of the inspection or test.

Application to install a device

An application to install a testable backflow prevention device is to be made to our plumbing section, please contact Council.

Testable backflow devices require annual testing and are registered by Council. 

Owners of a testable backflow prevention device/s must have them tested every year. You will be advised in writing when the annual test is due. Testing ensures that the device is operating correctly.

A defective device can:

  • cause a backflow incident
  • allow water through leaking devices
  • cause a reduction in pressure on your property.

Annual testing must be carried out by a licensed plumber with backflow prevention accreditation, as stipulated in the Standard Plumbing & Drainage Regulation 2019.

Submitting annual test reports

When submitting annual test reports, please post to The Chief Executive officer, PO Box 3021, Toowoomba, Qld 4350.

A person who inspects or tests a backflow prevention device, must within 10 business days after inspecting or testing the device give Council written results of the inspection or test.

The annual fee (per device) covers:

  • the administration of the testable backflow prevention program, including issuing the renewal notices and testing reminders
  • recording and maintaining testing results and documentation for every device in the local government area and carrying out investigations and audits.

This fee can be viewed in our interactive fee schedule.

We're upgrading to a new simplified system for backflow prevention device registration and compliance – BackFlowID (powered by QR2id.com). This system will be rolled out across the Region in August 2021.

What is BackFlowID?

BackFlowID is a new interactive asset tag from BPAA Inc. The secure BackFlowID tag simplifies the requirements for registering each testable backflow prevention device. The cloud-based BackFlowID register is integrated with Council’s own data bases and IT systems.

How does BackFlowID work?

A licensed tester simply uses their smart phone to scan the BackFlowID tag. The device and other details are automatically loaded, so the applicable test results can be entered. The tester’s GPS location is checked against that of the device and a Form 9 is automatically generated.

Key benefits:

  • simplified system
  • real-time data
  • interactive platform for customer, Council and plumber
  • automatic scheduling of annual testing (optional – customer’s choice)
  • automatic test results (Form 9) to owner, Council and plumber
  • electronic payment option for annual fee
  • email notifications

How do I get a BackFlowID tag?

The BackFlowID tag will be attached to your device/s by your plumber during your next annual test at no cost to you. The tag is free, the annual licencing fee will not increase.

Please note: Tags will only be attached during testing. Additional fees may apply if tags are attached outside of testing. Be sure to ask your plumber to attach the BackFlowID tag at the time of testing.

Do I need to do anything?

  • mention the BackFlowID tag to your plumber when scheduling your annual backflow device testing
  • remind the plumber to attach the BackFlowID tag to your device/s at the time of testing
  • to allow renewal notices to be emailed – please email your preferred email and contact details to backflow@tr.qld.gov.au or call Water Infrastructure Services on 131 872.

Please note: This email will only be used for mailing of the Backflow Renewal Notices.