We’ve connected with one of our Accredited Contractor members Steve Tamkee, owner of SMT Backflow Testing to learn more about his business. Since 2015, SMT Backflow Testing has been testing, repairing and installing backflow preventers from Squamish to Chilliwack BC.  Safety is a top priority for Steve and his team while preventing drinking water from becoming contaminated, so we are happy to get his insights into the following questions.

Q: What is something that sets you apart from other companies doing similar work?

A: I try to educate people on issues the backflow may be having, I do my absolute best to help my clients with more than backflow testing like fire protection, some piping issues, general help. Also my prices are much more fair than others.

Q: What kinds of risks are encountered by you and your team on the job?

A: In backflow testing there are minimal risks. One important risk, however,  would be knowing when to give notice for a water shut down for a test or repair on certain mechanical lines as to not damage any machines or interrupt someone’s personal water use.

Q: Are there any seasonal tips that apply when it comes to the kind of work you do?

A: Irrigation backflows require winterizing in the colder months to prevent freezing and damage to the device. The #2 shutoff valve should be closed prior to the device being winterized to prevent the #2 check valve from being damaged.

Q: What is something most people don’t know about Backflow Testing?

A: Two of the main questions we receive are  “What is a Backflow Preventer?“  and  “Why do I need to have it tested?”

A backflow prevention assembly is a means or mechanism to prevent backflow. The basic means for preventing backflow is an air gap (faucet and sink), which either eliminates a cross-connection or provides barrier from backflow. The basic mechanism for preventing backflow is a mechanical backflow preventer, which provides a physical barrier to backflow. The principal types of backflow preventers are the reduced-pressure principle assembly, the pressure vacuum breaker assembly and the double check valve assembly.

With regards to the “why”; Backflow testing A.K.A Cross Connection Control, is an annual and mandatory event. Backflow testing safeguards the public drinking water and protects the health of its customers by ensuring that any contaminants that could backflow into the public water supply system are isolated within the customer’s internal distribution system.

Mechanical backflow prevention assemblies have internal seals, springs, and moving parts that are subject to fouling, wear or fatigue. Also, mechanical backflow preventers and air gaps can be bypassed. Therefore, all backflow prevention assemblies have to be tested periodically to ensure that they are functioning correctly. Mechanical backflow prevention assemblies have to be tested with properly calibrated gauge equipment.