GENERAL BACKFLOW QUESTIONS

What is a backflow?

Backflow is the undesirable reversal of the flow of non-potable water or other substances through a cross-connection and into the piping of a public water system or consumer’s potable water system. There are two types of backflow: back pressure and back siphonage.

What is a cross-connection?

A cross-connection refers to a connection between a public water system or a consumer’s drinking water system and any other source or system that contains non-potable water or other substances. This connection can be permanent or temporary. For instance, the piping that connects a public water system or a consumer’s drinking water system to an auxiliary water system, cooling system, or irrigation system is an example of a cross-connection.

How often do I need a backflow test?

Backflow testing needs to be done annually.

Why do I need a backflow test annually?

All backflow preventers are required by Illinois law to be tested once per year. All testing occurs on-site, and we manage the submission of all required documentation to ensure proper certification. Municipal Backflow’s primary objective is to protect the safety of the public through the careful preservation of our drinking water. Our backflow testing and certification program ensures exactly that.

View PLUMBING CODE

What are your hours of operation?

Our Office Hours are Monday – Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm Technicians are in the field starting at 7:00am

Scheduling

Can I schedule a test online?

Absolutely! We encourage everyone to schedule online as much as possible. This helps keep our costs down, which in turn reduces price increases.

All you need is your CID # Which is in the letter or email you received and the email address we have on file for you.

ONLINE SCHEDULING

What is the process for scheduling a test if I am past due?

 Because each city is different, it’s always best to call in so we can handle these cases appropriately.

What if I'm running late or need to cancel the day of my scheduled appointment?

This test is once a year, so you need to arrange your affairs to make sure you are there in the 3-hour window. If a real emergency arises, we will review this and determine if trip charges are to waived or not. Once again, you received multiple reminders and an ETA the day of, so we can’t control anything else and have to try our best to keep costs down.

What if I need to cancel or reschedule before my appointment?

ASAP, Please be considerate as we need to keep the guys’ days full and calling the day before should only be reserved for emergencies. Reach out to the office via email or phone to either reschedule or cancel your appointment.

Why am I receiving trip charges?

If the technician arrives, and you don’t answer the door or your phone, a trip charge will occur. Additional reasons for a trip charge are…the area is not cleared, landscaping is not trimmed back, the technician can not access the device, the device is not installed and water is not running to the device at the time of your scheduled appointment, a trip charge will occur.

Are there any additional City or Village fees?

Maybe, each city is different in who they use and pricing structure. It is always best to contact us by phone at 312-638-9878 or schedule a test online to get updated pricing information, as it is subject to change.

What additional fees could there be with testing?

Test cocks are what we use to connect our gauges to the device to conduct the test. Test cocks will go bad over time and must be replaced. If the technician needs to replace these test cocks to get a passing result or get readings, we do them immediately, if he doesn’t the device will fail, thereby incurring more charges. NOTE: All three are done at the same time if any are bad.

How long does the test take?

For (1 device), it is not very long; however, please ensure the area is clear and accessible during the time and date of your appointment. Double-check for additional instructions to minimize downtime (contact phone numbers, hours of operation, lock box codes, alarm panel codes, keys, etc.)

When can my backflow device be tested if it's inside my home or business?

Backflow devices installed inside can be tested anytime; however, someone must be present for access to the device or lockbox codes can be given, etc.

What time will the technician arrive?

After you make an appointment, we will email you detailed instructions and reminders of the estimated arrival time. The day before your appointment, you will receive an email within a 3-hour time frame. The routes are not set until the day before your appointment. If your appointment is on a Monday, we will email you on Friday. If you don’t have an email, please feel free to call us, but kindly take a moment to carefully read and understand the instructions first before making the call.

Do you need payment onsite or do you invoice?

We can send you the invoice either via email or by leaving a hard copy at the appointment location. However, most of our customers prefer to receive the invoice via email. The invoice will be sent to you on the same day after your appointment is completed. It will be sent from (Intuit Quickbooks). Please check your inbox for the Work Order confirmations that were sent previously. If you did not receive them, or if you don’t have an email, please let us know. If no email address is provided, we will leave a copy of the Work Order at the appointment location. You will need to call 312-638-9878 to verify the amount and details before payment.

How do I pay my invoice?

Onsite by Cash or Check, or we will email you the invoice after the service is completed. There is a link within the email to pay the invoice online via Intuit QuickBooks (WE DO NOT ACCEPT PAYMENT ON OUR PUBLIC WEBSITE), or you can mail in a check. We accept credit cards for all invoices under $1,000.00. If your invoice is over $1,000.00 you will need to mail a check made out to Municipal Backflow.  Please send payment to Municipal Backflow, 121 Hickory Terrace, Island Lake, IL 60042. Once payment is received, we will submit the results to your Village or City.

Do you submit the results to the Village or City once the testing is done?

We will take care of all the paperwork and submissions to the regulatory agency. However, please note that the test reports will only be submitted to your local municipality once the payment has been made in full. Any delay in payment may cause late test documentation filing with your village. It is important to file the passing test report on time to avoid water shut-off and/or fines.

How do I obtain a copy of my test results?

We will leave a copy of the test results by the device if it’s inside the building. If the device is outside a residential building, we will leave the copy by your front door (keep the paperwork inside). The digital copy will be sent to the city once payment is made; if you require an additional electronic copy, you can always contact us, and we’ll be happy to send it to you, but this is not an automated function you must request it.

Why have I received a notice from my city or village that they have not received my test reports?

This is either from not making the payment, a glitch on the city’s side after we submitted the results, or a glitch in software / technology that prevented the receiving of the results. Things break, especially technology, just please double-check you made a successful payment.

BACKFLOW DEVICES INSTALLED OUTSIDE (LAWN IRRIGATION)

Do you install or turn the water on to my backflow prior to the test?

No, irrigation devices installed outside are seasonal and require coordination with your lawn irrigation company and property owner. The device must be installed, and the water turned on up to the backflow for us to perform the test.

Does the timer on my irrigation panel have anything to do with the test?

Typically, no, the timer’s solenoid valve is positioned after the backflow to avoid any interference with the test. However, in extremely rare cases, the solenoid valve is placed before the backflow, requiring someone to be present to turn it on when we are ready to conduct the test. It is important that the property owner communicates this information during the scheduling process.

How soon should I schedule my test?

The beginning of the season is a very busy time; we advise you to schedule a test ASAP to ensure you are ready; we can always reschedule if necessary. We encourage everyone to schedule online as much as possible. This helps keep our costs down, which in turn reduces price increases.

All you need is your CID # Which is in the letter or email you received and the email address we have on file for you.

ONLINE SCHEDULING

Are there specific due dates that my lawn irrigation device must be tested by?

Maybe, some cities require that your irrigation device be tested by (June 30th for example) which puts a large amount of stress on both you and your backflow company. So please double-check and/or contact us to help reduce any rescheduling or misunderstandings, ensure the results are submitted on time, and prevent the city from sending you late notices, water shut-offs/and fines.

Do I need to be home if you are testing my irrigation device?

No, but review QUESTIONS ABOUT BACKFLOW DEVICES INSTALLED OUTSIDE 

Where will you leave my paperwork?

Paperwork will be left at the front door. We do not leave any paperwork in mailboxes.

How do I pay my invoice?

Onsite by Check, or we will email you the invoice after the service is completed. There is a link within the email to pay the invoice online, or you can mail in a check. We accept credit cards for all invoices under $1,000.00. If your invoice is over $1,000.00 you will need to mail a check made out to Municipal Backflow. Please send payment to Municipal Backflow 121 Hickory Terrace Island Lake, IL 60042 We do not accept ACH payment. WE DO NOT ACCEPT PAYMENT ON OUR WEBSITE. Once payment is received, we will submit it to the Village or City for you.

Is an RPZ the only device allowed on my irrigation system?

Yes, we have customers who get upset because previous plumbers have tested their unapproved device, resulting in confusion and putting the customer at risk for liability and breaking the plumbing code. Please see the highlighted plumbing code below for your reference.

PLUMBING CODE

Do you winterize the device or system?

No, this is usually done by the homeowner or by the irrigation company as part of your seasonal contract.

Failed Devices/Repairs/Installs

Why do you need to change my test cocks?

Test cocks are what we use to connect our gauges to the device to conduct the test. Test cocks will go bad over time and must be replaced. If the technician needs to replace these test cocks to get a passing result or get readings, we do them immediately, if he doesn’t the device will fail, thereby incurring more charges. NOTE: All three are done at the same time if any are bad.

What happens if my device fails?

You will receive an estimate for the repair via email. Once approved, we will schedule the repair. Perhaps the worst part of our job is notifying our customers when their device has failed its inspection. This can happen to brand new or old devices for many reasons, such as debris lodged in the device and either fouled or damaged the internal rubbers, freezing conditions that have cracked or damaged the device, or rubbers and o-rings that are old and dry rotted. In accordance with our licenses, we have a moral and ethical obligation to do what is best to protect our water supply. The good news is we have the most competitive rates, and our quality of workmanship is world-class. We also offer a price match commitment; we will try to beat any other written offer you receive! You will receive an email with an invoice for your initial test on the same or the following business day. You can click on the link and pay with a credit card, mail in a check, or pay by phone. If you paid the technician, your payment will be processed that same day. Your initial test fee and (submission fee, if applicable) that was paid will be applied to the repair quote you will receive in the next day or two. When the quote is accepted and the work performed, the process repeats. Once the repair payment is received, we will submit the results to your regulating authority. VIEW GALLERY REPAIRS

What is your warranty on repair?

Certain things are not in our control. Therefore, we cannot warranty against things such as:

 

Water main breaks, fire hydrant flushing, water meter replacements, building service in which employees or other building contractors turn the service valves on and off, and old water main piping full of debris from construction, age, or repairs. When we repair, we take great pride in providing the best service possible. We flush the device as much as possible without creating water damage, and the amount we flush is contingent on the environment. Debris sits in the pipes; rust builds on the interior walls of the pipes and valves and can break off at any moment in time. Therefore, we flush the device as much as possible to prevent such things from happening. As far as the parts go, we test our work after the repair is done. If there’s nothing wrong with the parts, at that moment in time, the device passes. If somebody vandalizes the device,  the city replaces a water meter, or any of the other things mentioned above, it has nothing to do with the quality of work that was performed.



What is your warranty on Installations?

We take great pride in the entire process, from selecting the best device for your application to the finished installation and testing. Before the installation, we thoroughly review all material for any defects or damage. In the rare event that manufacturer defects are revealed during or after the installation, we will do everything we can to get a replacement device from the manufacturer or vendors ASAP.

 

After the installation, we triple-check all joints, pipes, and fittings and thoroughly test the device to ensure its proper functioning. We leave a new copy of the test report with you for your records.

 

It’s important to note that some things beyond our control cannot be warrantied, such as water main breaks or construction on the street (which may require tapping the main), fire hydrant flushing (which is usually done annually by your city), fire protection tests (which flow water through the device and are done annually), water meter replacements, or building shutdowns due to service needed. These events can cause debris to enter the device, leading to fouling and damage.




To summarize, we warranty the workmanship and material installed at that moment in time.

We have no control over the “water conditions” provided to you by the city or any other events after we leave. We thoroughly flush the water main (before installing the device body) as much as possible to prevent debris from entering at a later date. Once again, great care has been taken to give you the best installation possible with peace of mind for both you and us!



Why is my device leaking after a fire sprinkler test?

Part of the Sprinkler Test that is performed requires water to be moved through the system and backflow device; this has a high probability of debris being flushed into the device, causing it to leak or dump so much that it needs to be turned off until we get there to service the device. Old water mains, long runs that are stagnated, main breaks, or taps all contribute to loose debris that has the potential to be flushed into the device.

Why is my device leaking after the village worked on the water main?

 If a main breaks or is shut down for any reason, the pressure drops, resulting in the device draining. When repressurizing the water main, all the items listed previously can cause debris to be flushed into the device, or clogged sensing lines will not allow the device to sit.

Why is my device leaking after the village did hydrant flushing?

Any movement in line pressure can cause debris to be flushed into the device, resulting in leaking or, worse, hydraulic shock/water hammer.

This usually happens from undersized mains or shutting the hydrants off too fast, creating a title wave effect in the water mains. The only way to relieve the pressure is to open all fixtures and hydrants to help equalize the system pressure, then very slowly close all valves again.

What are some common reasons my device is leaking?

Please see the answers above: Why is my device leaking after a fire sprinkler test? Why is my device leaking after the village worked on the water main? Why is my device leaking after the town performed hydrant flushing?

HYDRAULIC SHOCK / WATER HAMMER

RPZ OUTSIDE DEVICES INSTALLED, WATER ON

RPZ OUTSIDE DEVICES UNINSTALLED, WATER OFF