27th July, 2018

What You Need To Know About Backflow Prevention

Backflow prevention pipes leaking

Wondering what your responsibilities are when it comes to backflow device maintenance on your property?

Australia really is the lucky country. In major population centres, our water sanitation systems are among the safest and most reliable in the world, allowing us all to use water for drinking, cooking and cleaning without worrying about getting sick. Our high water quality is partly the result of the regulations Australia has in place for water backflow prevention.

While backflow testing and maintenance should always be completed by an endorsed backflow plumber, it’s important for property and business owners who have devices on their property to understand the importance of backflow prevention, as well as their responsibilities under the law.

What is Backflow?

Backflow is when potentially contaminated water reverses its flow. When this water flows backward, it may mix with potable water, which can cause water-borne illnesses.


What causes backflow?

There are two likely reasons for backflow to occur: back pressure and back siphonage. Back pressure can occur when downstream water pressure rises above the supply pressure. This can happen due to pumps, elevation, or a combination of other effects.

Back siphonage can occur under conditions where a substantial amount of water is drawn from the main. This can happen during events like a burst pipe or when firefighters connect to the main for putting out a fire. The large volume of water can create a vacuum in the system which causes outbound, potentially contaminated water to flow the wrong way.


How is backflow prevented?

To prevent backflow, backflow prevention devices are installed. Backflow prevention devices tend to work using combinations of valves to stop water flowing backward. These devices must be registered with your local government authority.

There are different types of backflow prevention devices, including:
  • Reduced pressure zone
  • Double check
  • Single check
  • Dual check.

The type of device fitted will depend on the level of potential risk. For example, businesses that produce highly contaminated water as a by-product of their activities will require more complex and reliable (and often more expensive) devices.

The devices can generally be categorised in two ways: testable and not testable. Reduced pressure zone, double check, and some single check valves are testable devices and must be tested annually by a certified plumber. The results then need to be forwarded to your local government authority. Non-testable devices do not need to be tested annually.

You might have a backflow prevention device if you have any of the following on your property:
  • an irrigation system
  • fire hose reels or fire hydrants  
  • commercial or industrial equipment or activities that could pollute the drinking water supply (such as air conditioning cooling towers or chemical cleaning areas)
  • water outlets in proximity to pollutants, grease traps or chemicals
  • an alternate water supply.


Why is Backflow Prevention Device Maintenance Important?

Backflow maintenance helps us protect our water system, so we can rely on it for clean water every day. Testing and maintaining backflow prevention devices is essential to maintain the high standards of water that many of us take for granted.


What Does Backflow Prevention Device Maintenance Involve?

Backflow prevention device maintenance involves a number of steps to make sure everything is working properly. Generally, you can expect an accredited plumber to:

  1. Check. Your endorsed backflow plumber will check your device for obvious signs of malfunction or degradation.
  2. Test. Your plumber will test the device to make sure it works properly. They will also complete the details on the test tag.
  3. Submit. Your plumber will submit the results of the test to the council within 10 working days.
  4. Maintain. If the device didn’t pass the test, your endorsed and certified backflow plumber will then complete any required maintenance. They will then retest and re-submit the results.  


Who is Responsible for Organising Backflow Prevention Device Maintenance?

Under Queensland Government plumbing legislation, the owner of an installed testable backflow prevention device must make sure the device is registered with their local council and have the device tested annually by an endorsed backflow plumber. The device owner can be the property owner or the tenant. The owner or tenant is also responsible for paying for testing and maintenance.

If you’re looking for a backflow-endorsed Master Plumber to complete your backflow maintenance and testing, we can help.

Emu Commercial Plumbing services the greater Brisbane suburban area. Our commerical plumbers are experienced in testing and maintaining backflow prevention devices to make sure you meet your obligations as an owner or tenant.

Call us today on 07 3358 3201 or get in touch online for your quote.


  • “Well organised, efficient and competitively priced.”

    Have been using Tony Bonehill & his team from Emu Plumbing for a number of years and have no hesitation in recommending them for all types of plumbing works. I manage a large property portfolio, and I need to be able to rely on my tradespeople, and I never have to second guess using Emu Plumbing. They are well organised, efficient & competitively priced!

    Toni J
  • “Quick, knowledgeable and competitive on price.”

    I have been in this industry now for more than 25 years across a number of different venues and was introduced to Tony and his team by another friend that owns and runs a restaurant in Brisbane. For more than the last five years he has been one of our top trade contacts, and I would recommend Emu to anyone that is interested in getting the job done right the first time.

    They are always on time, and they are clean and tidy workers (which is essential in a commercial kitchen). They clean up, take photos of the work completed and are always happy to do a quick site check to see if anything else may need attention in the future. Quick, knowledgeable and competitive on price.

    Nick P, Malt Group
  • “High standard of service and prompt response.”

    I would highly recommend Emu Plumbing to any Strata Scheme looking for an outstanding Maintenance Plumber. Their expertise, high standard of service and prompt response is why I have continued to use Emu Plumbing for all our plumbing issues.

    John T, AD Body Corporate
  • “Efficient processes, quality workmanship and quick turnaround.”

    Efficient processes, quality workmanship and quick turnaround, is why we at Sikorsky Helitech, a Lockheed Martin company, choose Emu Plumbing for all our plumbing services. In the Commercial world, downtime means money, so it is very important to our company that we have trades that understand an urgent “Call to Action” like Emu Plumbing.

    Paul C, Sikorsky Helitech
  • “Emu plumbing is the market leader”

    Precision Aviation Group Australia uses Emu Plumbing for all plumbing and gas fitting requirements that arise on site.

    Tony and his team leave no stone unturned in their support of our needs. They go above and beyond to ensure that the time frames and quality of the work are to the highest level and they continue with the customer comes first attitude when the work is complete. For any commercial plumbing or gas fitting requirements, Emu plumbing is the market leader.

    Chris S, Precision Aviation
  • “The best plumbers I have worked with, they never let me down.”

    I have worked with Tony and the Emu Plumbing Team over nearly 4 years. The level of professionalism, and most importantly honesty and integrity that the Team delivers every day is outstanding. Tony is always available for advice over the phone to our Tenants and Landlords.

    I would recommend Tony and the Emu Team as the best plumbers I have worked with, and they have never let me down. Now that is something that is hard to find!

    Stephanie C
  • “Very happy to recommend Emu Plumbing”

    I have had the pleasure of using Emu Plumbing several times. On all occasions they have been very helpful, informative and prompt, with their advice and service. The work they have carried out has always been completed reliably as promised and very professionally. Very happy to recommend Emu Plumbing.

    Ian D
  • “I have no hesitation in recommending the Emu Plumbing team.”

    A huge thank you to Tony, Al and Bryce for helping us get Mrs Brown’s Bar & Kitchen up and running! You’ve been incredible, and we’re very appreciative of your efforts, which went above and beyond the norm on many occasions. We used lots of second-hand and re-purposed items during our fit-out, and nothing was straightforward – but nothing was ever a problem for the boys. I have no hesitation in recommending the Emu Plumbing team, and am glad they’re part of ours.


    Ben B, Mrs Brown’s Bar & Kitchen
  • “Fast responses, extremely polite, and honest work”

    The team at Emu plumbing never fail to impress. Tony, Niles, Eli and Joseph are all beyond excellent in their work. Fast responses, extremely polite, and honest work. They’re very thorough and take time to explain situations to make sure everyone understands what is being done and why, they hold a great attention to detail and always clean up after themselves. I can’t recommend Emu enough.

    Thank you guys!

    Airport Hacienda Motel
  • “Prompt and excellent service!”

    I moved into a new unit to find no water was flowing through the pipes. My property manager sent Eric from Emu Plumbing who fixed the matter quickly.

    Someone turned off my water supply last night as water from my unit was leaking downstairs into the foyer! Along came Eric who again fixed the problem of my laundry taps and he even left ‘who gives a crap’ toilet paper. Fantastic!!

    Prompt and excellent service from your company – Eric was polite and efficient.

    Ronda D, Property Managed by Place New Farm
  • “The whole process from the quoting and booking to the completion of the job was effortless”

    Had the guys out doing storm water pipes for my new shed. 
    Very knowledgeable guys who did a great job. The whole process from the quoting and booking to the completion of the job was effortless!! Fantastic team. Highly recommended!

    Brad S
  • “They did a very thorough, excellent job, with photographic evidence, were very reasonably priced and very professional”

    I needed to call an emergency plumber on a Saturday afternoon for issues at the office where I work in Kingsford Smith Drive in Eagle Farm. I called two local after-hours plumbers without success. Emu answered on the first ring although already busy with a job down the road. They estimated they would be finished with the current job and would be at the office by 4.30 pm which they were. They did a very thorough, excellent job, with photographic evidence, were very reasonably priced and very professional/ I would highly recommend them and use their services again without hesitation.

    Teresa S, Odyssey Gaming
  • “Will use you guys again for sure”

    Very happy with your service and the work done…  will use you guys again for sure.

    Wayne W, Equipment Finance and Leasing
  • “I would recommend”

    Efficient, reliable and friendly service. I would recommend Emu plumbing!
    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
    Chris A, Waterstop Solutions QLD
  • “The boys deserve some high praise”

    I just wanted to let you know what a good job your young lads did. We’re very happy with the result. The boys deserve some high praise – so efficient, thoughtful, pleasant and a work ethic to be treasured.

    Betty M
  • “Absolutely amazing and very helpful”

    We were in a situation where we needed a gas technician to come and assess if there was a gas leak at our property where a previous technician has disconnected our gas cylinder and therefore had no gas for hot showers etc. The team at Emu were absolutely amazing and very helpful when I rang them and told them about our situation. A technician was organised to come out and he managed to fix the problem.

    It’s nice to know that humanity still exists and that they helped as soon as they could, at a reasonable price too! A huge Thank You to the great team at Emu (Shakira, Nials and Tony), we will definitely recommend your business to others as well!

    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

    Szandra P
  • “We really appreciate the way he went about his business before, during and especially after”

    Today we had Tyler from Emu Plumbing come out to our address in Coorparoo. He was courteous, helpful and fixed our issue without to much fuss.

    But what impressed us the most is the fact he cleaned up the mess created and went the extra yard to leave our site spotless. We really appreciate the way he went about his business before, during and especially after.

    Later that night, we had the guys from Urban Utilities to fix up the issue in the mains. They even commented on how the plumber cleaned. Thanks Tyler!

    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

    Tony W

Request an on-site quote

Talk to us today for a comprehensive on-site quote for pipe relining,
water jetter, CCTV pipe inspection and more!

Get Your Quote
or call us on 07 3358 3201

Confirm your Plumbing Health Check

To confirm your plumbing health check simply fill out the form below and one of our friendly staff will be in touch to book in your appointment.

Start your enquiry here

  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.