Gibsons is fortunate to have a clean fresh water supply; as a requirement of the Town’s operating permit, Vancouver Coastal Health requires the installation of backflow prevention devices on all water service connections to ensure that water from private plumbing systems cannot flow back into the Town’s drinking water distribution system.
Water meters have been installed at all businesses and residences in the Town. Each water meter contains a backflow prevention device. Although plumbing codes require a water shut-off within each serviced building (residential or commercial), if this should fail, the meter box contains an additional shut-off.
Most meters are installed in a plastic or concrete box near the property line. Meter boxes must be visible to Town staff, and kept clear of debris, landscaping materials and other objects. Staff must be able to quickly access meters to investigate leaks and effect repairs as required.
The Town’s Bylaws require owners of Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI) properties to install water meters and backflow prevention devices on their water service, enabling the Town’s water system to continue to meet rigorous provincial standards without adding chlorine to the Town’s water supply.
Why Require Backflow Prevention Devices?
A reversal of flow in the customer’s water system and/or into the Town’s distribution system can be created by any change of system pressure where the pressure at the supply point becomes lower than the pressure at the point of use. When this happens in an unprotected situation the water at the point of use will be siphoned back into the system, thus potentially polluting or contaminating the remainder of the customer’s system or the public distribution system. The point at which it is possible for a contaminant to come in contact with the potable drinking water system is called a cross-connection. To prevent this backflow from occurring at the point of a cross-connection a backflow prevention device must be installed. The installation of these backflow prevention devices is mandated by the province as a condition of the Town operating its water supply and distribution system.
What Kind of Backflow Prevention Device do I need?
The ‘hazard rating’ of the business operating at any ICI property dictates the type of backflow prevention device that will be required. Refer to the Mandatory Premise Isolation Table which lists the hazard ratings for various classifications of businesses as well as the type of backflow prevention device required. If you feel that your business does not fit into any of the listed categories, please contact the Engineering Department at the Town of Gibsons, for assistance in determining the type of backflow prevention device will be required for your property.
If you already have a backflow prevention device that meets the requirements listed in the Mandatory Premise Isolation table, you will need to submit a completed Backflow Prevention Device Test Report. This form will also need to be submitted upon the installation of any new backflow prevention device as well as on an annual basis thereafter.