Commercial Backflow Requirements

 
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The City of Jacksonville and JEA both require that all commercial water services require a backflow preventer device unless specifically exempted. Backflow preventers are required to be installed on the customer’s property within 10 feet of the JEA meter and in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions for the specific application. Any variance from installation requirements must receive prior approval from JEA. The State of Florida also requires that most commercial premises install and maintain a reduced backflow preventer unless the business requests and receives an exemption from JEA. 

The City of Jacksonville Building Inspection Division requires the installation of backflow preventers on all commercial fire sprinkler service lines, irrigation lines and potable (domestic) water lines.

JEA’s Cross Connection Control Policy requires the installation, maintenance and annual testing of backflow preventers on all commercial fire sprinkler service lines, irrigation lines and potable (domestic) water lines.
Download our Cross Connection Control Policy (PDF)

JEA Qualified Backflow Prevention Vendors

JEA’s qualified vendor program is offered to customers for their convenience in choosing a vendor who meets our requirements to test, repair, replace and install backflow preventers.
Find a JEA Qualified Backflow Prevention Vendor

Approved Backflow Preventers for Commercial Customers

Backflow preventers must be installed on the customer’s property above grade and be tested upon installation and annually thereafter.

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Closed Title:Reduced Pressure Backflow Preventers
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In most cases, commercial customers must have a reduced pressure backflow preventer assembly installed. In the case of fire sprinkler lines where pressure is a factor, a double-check assembly may be installed – unless there is a retention pond or well on site that holds water for more than 24 hours or the property’s structures are three or more stories and use a booster pump. In those cases, the customer must install a reduced pressure backflow preventer.

A reduced pressure backflow preventer is required when there is a retention pond on site that holds water for more than 24 hours, or when the service is for a building of three or more stories that uses a booster pump.

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Closed Title:Double-Check Backflow Preventers
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A commercial customer with a double-check backflow preventer installed on potable drinking water lines is not in compliance. Double-check assemblies installed on high-risk commercial, multi-family and public school water services must be replaced with reduced pressure backflow preventers to be in compliance with state regulations. 

Examples of high-risk applications include, but are not limited to, medical and dental facilities, lift stations, food service and processing, mortuaries, residential care facilities, manufacturing and industrial facilities and properties with an auxiliary source of water. 

Double-check preventers on irrigation lines can remain in service until they cannot be repaired unless JEA determines that there is a present risk to the drinking supply and that a reduced pressure preventer is required.

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Closed Title:Containment Devices
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A containment program is designed to protect the public water supply. JEA is responsible for tracking the installation and annual testing of containment backflow preventers.

JEA requires containment devices to be installed on all dedicated irrigation or fire sprinkler lines and on most potable (drinking) water supply pipes. Containment backflow preventers are located near the customer’s connection to the JEA water supply, typically within 10 feet of the JEA water meter. All containment devices must be certified as functional, with the test results submitted to JEA annually. 

For premises with both isolation and containment devices, JEA requires only the containment backflow preventer (near the water meter) to be certified annually. Test reports for isolation devices do not need to be submitted to JEA.

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Closed Title:Isolation Devices
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An internal, or isolation, program protects the occupants of a building from contamination or pollution from internal processes. 

Isolation backflow preventers are internal devices that are not located near the JEA water supply pipe. They isolate potential hazards in one area from other areas of the customer’s water system. JEA policy does not require installation, maintenance or annual testing of isolation (internal) backflow preventers. Installation and testing of these devices may be required by other entities, however, such as the local plumbing code, health department regulations or fire codes. Under most circumstances, commercial customers do not need to submit annual certification reports for isolation devices to JEA.

For premises with both isolation and containment devices, JEA requires only the containment backflow preventer (near the water meter) to be certified annually. Test reports for isolation devices do not need to be submitted to JEA.

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Closed Title:Wet Pipe Sprinkler Systems
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Fire sprinkler systems may present a hazard to public drinking water supply. Standing water that collects in the pipes can corrode metals, contaminating the water dispersed by the sprinklers. For this reason, fire sprinkler systems are required to have approved backflow preventers installed and maintained.

Location Scenarios

  • Sprinkler system fed by dedicated pipe: The preventer will be on the customer’s property and within 10 feet of the JEA distribution connection.
  • Sprinkler system fed from the same meter as the drinking water: The preventer must be installed in either one of the following locations:
    • On the customer’s property no farther than 10 feet from the JEA water meter
    • On the customer’s sprinkler system at the point where it first branches off from the customer’s main water supply pipe. Placement in this location protects both the customer’s drinking water and the public system from potential contamination.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Backflow Testing

If you have additional questions or need more information about backflow preventer testing, please contact the JEA Cross-Connection Control team at (904) 665-4410.

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Closed Title:Why is annual testing required for all backflow preventers?
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Installing and maintaining backflow preventers protects the drinking water supply and helps ensure you and other JEA water service customers have a reliable source of clean water.  Per State Law, Chapter 62-555 of the Florida Administrative Code, JEA is required to establish a cross-connection program for the purpose of detecting and preventing cross-connections. Under JEA’s Cross Connection Control Policy, water service customers are responsible for the proper functioning of backflow preventers on their JEA water service lines, including annual testing. 

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Closed Title:Which backflow preventers need to be tested?
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All JEA commercial water services are required to have a backflow preventer and have them tested annually. This includes, but is not limited to, potable water, irrigation and fire services.

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Closed Title:Who can test backflow preventers?
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Annual backflow preventer testing must be performed by a certified backflow preventer tester properly registered with JEA.  A link to the list of certified JEA Preferred Vendors is provided below. These vendors meet additional, JEA specific criteria to ensure backflow preventers are tested properly.

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Closed Title:What if my backflow preventer does not pass the test?
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If your backflow preventer does not pass the test,  it means that it is not operating properly and poses a potential threat to the community water system. You must ensure that the necessary repairs are made. If repair is not possible, the backflow preventer must be replaced. Once repaired or replaced, the backflow preventer is required to be retested.

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Closed Title:How much does the testing cost?
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Prices for testing vary from vendor to vendor. JEA recommends contacting multiple vendors for pricing information, availability, etc.

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Closed Title:How quickly must I have my backflow preventer repaired or replaced?
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Failed backflow preventers must be repaired or replaced as soon as possible. 

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Closed Title:I’m not certain of the number or location of the backflow preventer(s) at my business. How can I find out where they are located?
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Backflow preventers should be located within 10 feet of your JEA water meter or immediately on customer property in the case of fire sprinkler services. They are usually located outside your commercial building or establishment. However, some backflow preventers can be located inside (such as in dedicated fire service rooms). Qualified JEA backflow testers will be knowledgeable about probable locations and other backflow preventer requirements.

You or your tester can also contact the JEA Cross-Connection Control Team for more information.

If your commercial JEA water service does not have the required backflow preventer, one must be installed. 

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Closed Title:How much does the repair or replacement (installation) cost?
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Repair, replacement and/or installation costs can vary from vendor to vendor and is dependent upon the type, size and location of the backflow preventer. JEA recommends contacting multiple vendors for pricing information, availability, etc.

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If your system requires repairs or replacement, one of JEA's qualified backflow testing vendors may offer these services. Please contact them for more information.