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  1. #1
    Tom Sutter's Avatar
    Tom Sutter Guest

    Default backflow protection - commercial laundry washing machines

    Hello:

    I am wondering:
    I know a testable backflow device (reduced pressure principle backflow preventer) should be installed on the water supply line to the laundry chemical feeder for commercial laundry washing machines, but is this device required if there appears to be an air gap between the plastic compartment at the top of the machine where the chemicals feed in and the washing machine drum where the clothes are placed to be washed?

    Hope this isn't too convoluted for y'all.

    Thanks in advance for your replies.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Chicago
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    Default Re: backflow protection - commercial laundry washing machines

    It all depends. Is the only water coming into contact with the detergent after the air gap? If so the air gap has to be properly sized. If the discharge pipe is " in diameter then the air gap has to be 1" from the flood level of the plastic compartment. If the pipe is 1" then the air gap has to be 3" from the top.

    Now some areas the local inspector will still require a backflow (RPZ) to be installed if someone can easily bypass the air gap (wrapping opening with plastic to stop splashing) So check with your local inspector.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: backflow protection - commercial laundry washing machines

    my jurisdiction would require a backflow device before the water supply enters the building and a yearly test program.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: backflow protection - commercial laundry washing machines

    Quote Originally Posted by brian schmitt View Post
    my jurisdiction would require a backflow device before the water supply enters the building and a yearly test program.
    Quick question if there is a hook up, (down the line after the backflow preventer that is on the water supply before the water enters the building), that has the potential for something bad to backflow within the building's potable water supply, lets say boiler water make up tank that has glycol in it. Would your code/jurisdiction require a RPZ installed on the water supply to that make up tank? I know ours does.

    I just did a job for a factory that needed RPZ's installed on their machines, wash down area supply and one at the water meter. They do not want the potable water in the building to get contaminated and get the occupants sick, and the one at the meter is the final safe guard to ensure there is no way any one can make a modification to the system that could get the whole community sick.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: backflow protection - commercial laundry washing machines

    ron,
    priority #1 is to protect the city water supply. priority #2 is to protect the individual supplies.section 603 of the upc addresses cross -connection control of water supplies including in the building. all are equally enforced. bad things can happen in a building after we leave as a result of diy activity. hi's are at the forefront of discovering many of these hazardous conditions!


  6. #6
    Tom Sutter's Avatar
    Tom Sutter Guest

    Default Re: backflow protection - commercial laundry washing machines

    Thanks guys for the replies.

    I just talked to the manufacturer of the washing machines. Within the machines, between the mixing valves and where it dumps into the soap box, is a vacuum breaker.

    Although this is a high hazard application, the only type of backflow I can see in this case is potential backsiphonage (backpressure not an issue). So, you'd think a vacuum breaker should suffice to adequately protect against backflow.

    Question: Is a vacuum breaker enough to protect the water supply against any backflow from this application? It seems like it should, but the fact that we're dealing with a contaminant or toxin, and not a pollutant, I just can't seem to wrap my head around it.

    Thanks in advance for your replies.

    P.S. Great forum!


  7. #7
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    Default Re: backflow protection - commercial laundry washing machines

    Is there a shut off valve after the vacuum breaker? If so then it will not meet code. Now as to is that enough protection, the only person that can truly answer that is your plumbing inspector in your city or township. Here in Illinois it would still require a RPZ.


  8. #8
    Tom Sutter's Avatar
    Tom Sutter Guest

    Default Re: backflow protection - commercial laundry washing machines

    Hey guys:

    There is no shutoff valve.

    Is there a FEDERAL standard that mandates an RPZ in this situation? The reason I ask is that I'm working in facilities on tribal land, where the federal laws have primacy over the state rules. I've checked the UPC and don't see any explicit regulation regarding this.

    Thanks again for all your help.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: backflow protection - commercial laundry washing machines

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sutter View Post
    Hey guys:

    There is no shutoff valve.

    Is there a FEDERAL standard that mandates an RPZ in this situation? The reason I ask is that I'm working in facilities on tribal land, where the federal laws have primacy over the state rules. I've checked the UPC and don't see any explicit regulation regarding this.

    Thanks again for all your help.
    Tom, I take it you still have to get a permit and have this inspected since you are asking these questions. I always found when the code is unclear, I ask the plumbing inspector to clarify what he wants, then do it.

    One other point about backflow preventers and all, yes plumbing codes do have their codes about when and where to use them, but they are based on the EPA standards. Reason I say this is my plumbing license is issued by the Public Health Department, my Cross Connection Control Device license is issued by the EPA.


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