Backflow Prevention – What is it and Why Do We Need it?

Backflow Prevention – What is it and Why Do We Need it?

Backflow Prevention –
What is it and Why Do We Need it?

Cross-connections in plumbing are defined as actual or potential connections between a potable and non-potable water supply. This can constitute a serious public health hazard. There are numerous well documented cases where cross-connections have been responsible for contamination of drinking water and have resulted in poisoning and or the spread of disease through the water.

This problem is a dynamic one because piping systems are continually being installed, repaired, replaced, or extended. Control of cross-connection is possible, but only through knowledge and vigilance. Under Public Law 99-339, the “Safe Drinking Water Act” (SDWA) was passed in 1986. This act placed the water purveyor with the primary responsibility for preventing water from unapproved sources, or any other substances, from entering the public water system.

All Municipalities with public water systems are required to have a cross-connection control program in place to protect the water supply. Backflow prevention devices are installed on water supply systems for this reason.


There are many types of backflow devices, but there are only three types that can be tested:

1. Pressure Vacuum Breakers – PVB

These vacuum breakers are used where a condition of back-siphonage could occur. Back-siphonage can be the result of a total loss of pressure within the system due to a breakage in the main supply piping or other reasons. The pressure vacuum breaker is a mechanical device consisting of one spring loaded air inlet valve on the discharge side of the device. This device includes shut off valves and test ports on each end of the device. They are used in low or high hazard conditions.

2. Double Check Valve Assemblies – DCVA

The double check valve assembly is a mechanical device that consists of two spring loaded check valves. This device includes shut off valves and test ports on each end of the device. This device is effective against back pressure and is used to isolate low hazard pollutants (non-health threatening/non-toxic).

3. Reduced Pressure Zone Assemblies – RPZ

The reduced pressure zone assembly is a mechanical device that consists of two spring loaded check valves and a relief valve. This device includes shut off valves and test ports on each end of the device and can be used for backpressure, back-siphonage, and it can be used in toxic or high hazard conditions.


A backflow prevention device needs to be inspected annually. The 2018 Uniform Plumbing Code in section 603.2 states:

Devices or assemblies installed in a potable water supply system for protection against backflow shall be maintained in good working condition by the person or persons having control of such devices or assemblies. Such devices or assemblies shall be tested at the time of installation, repair, or relocation and not less than on an annual schedule thereafter, or more often where required by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). Where found to be defective or inoperative, the device or assembly shall be repaired or replaced. No device or assembly shall be removed from use or relocated without the approval of the AHJ. Testing shall be performed by a certified backflow assembly tester in accordance with ASSE Series 5000 or otherwise approved by the AHJ.


1) Backflow devices are not limited to being installed on the main water line into the building from the water purveyor. You may also have them throughout the building on supply lines to equipment or machinery within the building. These are installed to protect the occupants within the building from a potentially hazardous condition. They should also be set up on an annual inspection plan.

2) If you are responsible for the safe operation of any backflow device you should partner with an experienced, licensed, certified, and insured backflow tester. Qualified testers are individuals who have passed an approved certification course and hold a valid license to test and repair or replace the devices. They may work alone as a sole proprietor or be employed by a larger company. Regardless, find someone who is knowledgeable on the various devices and knows what the local codes require in your area. They should be knowledgeable on how the device operates, how it should be properly installed, what the testing parameters are, and how to file all necessary documentation and/or permits that may be required for the work.

3) The testing procedure usually takes about 30 minutes. During this time the water will need to be shut down on the water line where the device is installed. Oftentimes this could be the entire building.

4) Backflow devices are well designed. Most all devices can be repaired. Replacement is not always necessary.

Contact Us

To learn more about plumbing programs for your multi-site portfolio, give Ferrandino & Son a call at:


and ask to speak to someone in our Business Development Team. You can also reach us at:

7 Things to Consider when Contracting a Commercial Plumber for your Business

7 Things to Consider when Contracting a Commercial Plumber for your Business

7 Things to Consider when Contracting a Commercial Plumber for your Business.

The plumbing system in a commercial building is much more complex than a residential plumbing system and often a forgotten part of the business. The plumbing system is taken for granted until something starts leaking or stops running. Any business, large or small, must remain open and run efficiently in order to be successful and profitable. A sudden failure in the plumbing system could stop any business in its’ tracks.

The following are some things to consider when it comes to hiring a commercial plumber to work in your building. You don’t want to make costly mistakes when it comes to your commercial plumbing. You want to make sure the plumber you are hiring is licensed and insured, as well as knowledgeable and experienced in the commercial aspects of plumbing. Hiring a licensed plumber with commercial plumbing experience isn’t as simple as it should be, and there are several things that you don’t want to go wrong during the process. In order to ensure that your commercial plumbing needs are met and the best possible services rendered, you’ll have to shop around before making your decision.

Here are 7 things you need to consider before securing the services of a commercial plumber:

1. Is the plumber licensed, experienced and insured?

Licensed plumbers will be more likely to have the knowledge necessary to ensure any work you have done follows all plumbing and building codes; liability insurance will protect both parties in the unlikely event of a costly mistake. Both are critical when it comes to hiring a commercial plumbing contractor. Remember, a commercial plumber should be experienced with plumbing repairs and maintenance for businesses of all types. Think of the many types of businesses that rely on plumbers. Everything from a gas station to a restaurant to a manufacturing plant needs working plumbing so the commercial plumber you hire should have experience fixing the plumbing in your specific type of business.

2. Does the plumbing company charge for estimates?

Before the plumber comes out to your business, make sure you know whether you’ll be charged for the inspection. It depends on the plumbing company whether or not this fee will be assessed. Sometimes these fees are called “trip charges”. That’s just the cost for the plumber to stop by and assess your problem before any real work begins.

3. Are rates hourly or does the plumber charge a flat rate fee?

In order to avoid unnecessary overages, check to make sure the number the plumber quotes you is either all-inclusive of the labor and parts necessary or if you will be charged by the hour. You don’t want to get nickel-and-dimed by the company for unknown charges. It pays to know exactly what they’re charging you for and how they’re levying those charges.

4. How long has the plumbing company been in business?

Commercial plumbers that have been around for a while will be more likely to have favorable reviews from the community. In addition, an older, better established company is more likely to have experienced plumbers with proven track records for good quality work. Established companies are also more likely to provide 24-hour emergency service. Remember, your business may be at a standstill until the plumber can fix the problem.

5. Can the plumber provide references of other customers?

It is always good to try to obtain references from the plumber from customers they have previously done work for. These references can be contacted and can provide valuable information about the plumber. This will build confidence in your decision on who you hire for your plumbing work.

6. Does the plumbing company sub-contract their work?

Some companies will sub-contract their work to other plumbers or independent contractors. This is not always the case, but it is something that should be asked when hiring a plumbing company. You want to be sure the plumber doing your work is a qualified employee of the company you are hiring.

7. What is the warranty policy?

It’s important for plumbers to guarantee their labor when they are rendering services to your business. Be sure to learn what the protocol is for claiming a warranty before you sign on the dotted line. Most often the plumbing fixtures are covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, but you should be concerned about how long the plumber will guarantee his personal work (labor).

If your commercial plumber has checked off all 7 things to consider when hiring a commericial plumber, you are in good shape to finish the project!

Contact Us

To learn more about plumbing programs for your multi-site portfolio, give Ferrandino & Son a call at:


and ask to speak to someone in our Business Development Team. You can also reach us at:

Top 3 Ways to Keep a Green Lawn

Top 3 Ways to Keep a Green Lawn

Top 3 Ways to Keep a Green Lawn

It’s May and everyone is looking for that eye-catching green lawn. Temperatures are moderate, rainfall is abundant, and you could probably cut the lawn twice a week if you really wanted to. This week we are looking at spring turf applications; how they work, and what you should be doing to promote strong stands of green grass and minimal weeds. While there is a world of science behind turf programs, we are breaking it down to the basics that will drive the best results.

Here are the best tips to keep your lawn green all season long:

1. Timing is Everything:

Good weed control starts before the grass is growing. The timing of applying weed control products can be just as important as the application itself. For both cool and warm season grasses the first application almost always involves a pre-emergent weed control. Pre-emergent works by inhibiting the germination of seeds that are dormant in the soil, therefore, timing the application for when soil temperatures are right for seed germination is critical.

2. There's Bad Before the Good:

While pre-emergent weed controls help to limit certain types of weeds; mostly crabgrass, it’s not impactful on broadleaf weeds. “Broadleaf weeds” are what we recognize as Dandelions, Clover, Buttercup and other commons weeds. The best way to treat these types of weeds is to apply a post-emergent herbicide. Post-emergent herbicides work to kill weeds after they have germinated. When trying to achieve a beautiful lawn, you’ll have to wait until the bad weeds come out, so you can feed the lawn to look good!

3. Feed Me:

After a long winter that’s exactly what your lawn is thinking; FEED ME. As grass transitions from a dormant to an active state, lawns need nutrients to stimulate new growth. Early Spring fertilizers that are higher in Nitrogen will fuel vegetative growth, providing those lush green lawns we admire.

While developing and maintaining a strong lawn doesn’t happen overnight, or in any one season, there is never a bad time to start. By treating the lawn with the proper fertilizers in the spring you minimize the competition from weeds. This will give your turf the headstart it needs to excel through the landscape season!

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To learn more about landscape maintenance or comprehensive landscape programs for your multi-site portfolio, give Ferrandino & Son a call at:


and ask to speak to someone in our Business Development Team. You can also reach us at:

Start Irrigation Out Right

Start Irrigation Out Right

Start Irrigation Out Right

If April showers bring May flowers, what follows May flowers? If you’re in elementary school, the answer is Pilgrims. For the rest of us, the answer is a little less witty. As the cooler, rainy days of early Spring fade away, we are faced with the longer, hotter and more drought prone days of summer. While this may mean a day at the pool for some of us, it’s the most stressful time of the year for your sites’ landscaping. To overcome these hot dry days and to help lawns and plants stay healthy, and to maintain your brand image, underground irrigation systems offer a strong solution.

If Spring has sprung where you are, it’s time to get ahead of the what’s next and get those irrigation systems started! Here are some things to consider when activating irrigation after a long winter:

1. Timing:

While below freezing temperatures will wreak havoc on irrigation systems that are active, the reality is that they can be activated far in advance of when they are needed. Starting your system early in the Spring allows you to choose when to run the system and ensures that the system is ready when you’ll need it.

2. Be Prepared:

What could possibly go wrong with an irrigation system that has been winterized and hasn’t operated since fall? Unfortunately, a lot! To have the most efficient process in place when starting irrigation systems, it’s best to have an established NTE value set with your contractor. This allows for smaller, less costly repairs to be made on the spot; saving time and money in the long run.

3. What Should Be Done:

Here’s what you should expect as part of the activation process: the entire system should be run, adjustments to the heads completed and times on the controller set based on the current needs. When larger issues are found, cost estimates on repairs should be provided immediately. When your contractor leaves the site, the irrigation system should either be completely operational or you should have a full report outlining any issues; with cost estimates included, so you can make the necessary repairs.

4. Next Steps:

Once your systems are started, it’s not over. To ensure proper operation and efficient use of water as a resource, an ongoing monitoring program should be in place. Monthly wet tests to check for needed repairs and adjustments to system run times will help to maximize the systems’ effectiveness and deliver a responsible use of water.

As the seasons unfold the need for irrigation will follow. The first step is to activate the irrigation system, and the points outlined above will help to get things off to a good start.

Contact Us

To learn more about irrigation maintenance or comprehensive landscape programs for your multi-site portfolio, give Ferrandino & Son a call at:


and ask to speak to someone in our Business Development Team. You can also reach us at:

5 Tips for Mulching

5 Tips for Mulching

5 Tips for Mulching

 In our last post, To Mulch or Not to Mulch, we focused on the attributes of mulching, and the pros and cons to consider when evaluating budgets and determining how mulch may fit into your programs. While many organizations have faced this challenge, most have recognized the curb appeal and horticultural benefits it brings and managed to keep it as an element of their landscape programs.

In this week’s edition we appeal to those who have chosen to mulch and have assembled our top 5 tips for mulching; from what to do – or in some cases – not do. So, for those about to mulch, we salute (and support) you!

1. Start The Right Way:

Like many things we do, the end results will only be as good as the foundation it is built on. When it comes to mulching nothing could be more accurate. Before mulching, ensure that the bed areas have been properly cleaned from winter. Make sure edges are crisply redefined, any present weeds are eradicated, and plants are trimmed to remove dead or dying branches.

2. Choose Your Product

Mulch often provides many options: double shredded, triple shredded, nuggets, dyed, recycled and so on. While all these products will work, and much of the choice is based on personal preference, for commercial applications we believe that a double shredded dyed product will deliver the longest lasting results at a reasonable price point.

3. More Isn’t Better

So, if a light layer of mulch is good, then a heavier one must be better, right? Wrong! While we can’t dispute that a deeper application would last longer, it creates another series of issues. Mulch covering over the lower stems of plants is detrimental to plant health and heavier applications of mulch tend to more easily spill over onto walks and lawn areas during rainy or windy times. Best practices show an application depth of 2 to 3 inches provides the best results.

4. Keep Your Distance

When spreading mulch, it’s important to keep the top level of mulch below weep holes on masonry structures and at least 6 inches below any wooden foundation. Mulch can easily clog weep holes and acts as a conduit for both water and insects to wood. Perhaps the largest concern in this area lies with creating a pathway for termites to travel from souterrain tunnels to wooden food sources.

5. Timing Helps

While mulch can be put down anytime its best to consider how you will gain the most impact from its application. For areas that experience a change of seasons the best time is in the early Spring. Early season applications provide for the longest aesthetic impact as the product should stay intact through the Summer and into the Fall. It also delivers maximum weed control and moisture retention when completed at this time. In more tropical climates mulch applications are often completed in the Fall, ahead of the drier winter months, capturing the benefit of moisture retention and looking best when local populations increase with winter weary northerners.

Spring has sprung, and no doubt we’ll soon see the mountains of mulch and army of landscapers spreading it. As your sites start to transform from the dreary Winter into the bright and hopeful Spring we hope you’ll drive the best results and consider our tips when completing this transformation.

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For more information about commercial landscape programs that cater to the national retail market, or to consult with our Subject Matter Experts:

call (866) 571-4609

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