City begins free inspections for water devices

Monday, January 10, 2005

City employees last week began a new policy authorized by the board of mayor and aldermen in December of inspecting backflow-prevention devices on water lines at no cost to building owners.

Backflow preventers are required at many businesses in Dyersburg to keep contaminated water from reaching the city's potable water system. The state of Tennessee and the city building code require an annual inspection of the devices by someone certified in the field. Until the change in the city code in December allowing city employees to conduct the annual inspections the process was handled by licensed plumbers in Dyer County with costs ranging between $45 and $50, according to David Rice, who directs Dyersburg's cross-connection program. There are two certified city workers in the public works department.

There are over 600 businesses in the city that currently have backflow preventers installed.

Rice explained that if a preventer fails inspection the state and city code require that repairs take place within 30 days. Then, the business owner would have to pay for a final safety inspection of the device.

Backflow is reversal of water flow in a system. It usually occurs when water pressure drops in the main line and sucks contaminants back into the feeder pipes. The effect is the same as siphoning gasoline from a car tank using a hose.

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