- Last updated:
- 26 May 2017
Council is committed to ensuring that our drinking water supply remains safe for everyone. A robust and effective backflow prevention system in place can help ensure water is safe to drink.
Backflow is the reverse flow of water from a property back into the drinking water supply.
Backflow prevention devices (BPD) protect water quality from contamination. Contaminated water incidents may have serious or even fatal consequences for water consumers. By using BPD the unwanted water flow does not enter the drinking water supply. In turn protecting water consumers from drinking or using contaminated water.
There may be any number of contamination sources within a property. Backflow prevention provides a barrier, keeping contaminated water separate from the drinking water supply.
Examples of potential sources of contamination include:
- fire hose reels (FHR)
- irrigation systems
- swimming pools
- vehicle maintenance pits
- ornamental ponds
- air conditioning towers
- vehicle/bin washing bays
- chemical injection areas
- commercial and manufacturing processes.
If your property has a backflow prevention, it is important to know your role.
You help protect the drinking water supply by ensuring all devices are adequately maintained.
Property owner's responsibilities
The owner of a testable backflow prevention device must:
- have all devices installed by a licensed plumber
- register the device with council by providing a copy of the initial test report
- have it inspected or tested by an endorsed licensed plumber yearly
- ensure that there is adequate access to devices for testing and maintenance.
Types of testable devices include:
- reduced pressure zone
- double check, and
- some single check valves.
Non-testable devices; including dual check valves, do not need to be registered or tested annually.
Council may issue a reminder notice to prompt owners, where testable devices have been installed and testing is overdue.
For more information refer to council's:
- introduction to backflow prevention video
- backflow prevention at Sunshine Coast university hospital video.
Backflow prevention device register and annual fee
Section 38 of the Standard Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2003 requires council must:
- maintain a program for the registration, maintenance and testing of all backflow prevention devices
- keep a register of these devices.
The annual fee included in the property's rates notice is to cover the costs to maintain the register.
Current fees are available in the register of fees and charges.
All hose cocks have the potential to be a hazard. The hose can be left in the contaminated container, causing a cross connection. The type of backflow prevention required will depend on:
- the nature of the contaminate being cleaned, and
- its potential to cause harm to water consumers.
Some examples of the types of different wash down applications include hose cocks:
- for general residential use - hose connection vacuum breaker
- for residential swimming pools - dual check valve
- used for commercial/industrial bin wash-down - reduced pressure zone device
- used for marine wash-down - reduced pressure zone device.
If a hazard is removed, an endorsed licensed plumber can be engaged to assess if the device is required.
If the plumber confirms there is no longer a risk to the water supply, the plumber can remove the device.
The plumber must lodge a Form 4 and Form 9 notifying of the removal.
Council will inspect the location to confirm that the water supply is safe. The device will be removed from the register and the annual fee will no longer be charged.
It is illegal to remove a backflow prevention device without going through this process. Illegal removal can lead to the imposition of penalties.
Designers of backflow prevention systems have a responsibility to ensure:
- the integrity of the system for a property, and
- the utilities infrastructure are maintained.
Refer to council's backflow prevention guidelines for further help.
Only licensed plumbers can install backflow prevention devices.
- must comply with AS 3500.1 Water services, and
- ensure the installation is fit for the intended purpose.
Refer to council's:
- backflow prevention guidelines for recommended installation details and clearances
- installation of backflow prevention devices video.
Accredited backflow tester's responsibilities
Only endorsed licensed plumbers can commission and test a testable backflow prevention device. Extra responsibilities include:
- provide council a copy of the report. This should be within ten (10) business days after inspecting or testing the device
- check that the hazard level applicable to the site has not changed, and
- provide the property owner with a copy of the report.
Refer to council's:
Lodge with council:
- Form 9 Report on inspection and testing of backflow prevention devices, registered air gaps and registered break tank
- sample form 9 for plumbers' submitting to council.
Lodge with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC):
More information about notifiable works can be found on the QBCC website.
Council offers several ways to submit your test report:
- online through MyCouncil (you need to register). Note: Initial test reports cannot be submitted online
- by email or post
- in person at any of council's development counters.
For more information or help for submitting an online test report, refer to:
Locating a licensed plumber
You can locate a licensed plumber in the Yellow Pages under 'Plumbers'. Ensure the plumber is legally qualified to test backflow devices.