Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a Plumbing License to test Backflow Preventers?

This depends on the jurisdiction, but generally speaking in the United States it is usually not required. The only jurisdiction group in our service area where this is the case are the ones within the State of Maryland. 

What backflow test report template should I use?

This depends on the jurisdiction. If you do an internet search for “(jurisdiction) backflow report” there will usually be a direct link to a pdf somewhere online. Most jurisdictions have their own test report that is on their own letterhead, but some use generic templates. If you cannot find a copy, I would call the main number and they may be able to forward it to you. 

What backflow test gauges are approved?

Any test gauges (duplex or otherwise) must meet the precision requirement set forth by the jurisdiction, which is normally 0.2 PSID with a scale of 0 – 15psi. Some jurisdictions base it on the September 2007 University of Southern California review of gauge equipment. If you wanted a copy of this bulletin send us an email and we can send you one.

Which backflow test procedures are approved?

For most jurisdictions, there is no standard listing for this. Our courses teach the TREEO method, but there are other methods such as NEWWA and ASSE. We confirm that all three are established and widely accepted, but many others may be as well. As a certified tester using generally accepted procedures, you should be able to check each of the valves properly using any test method or combination of methods. 

Where can I find test procedures for testing backflow preventers?

Shoot us an email, and we can send you a complimentary copy of them in pdf or mail laminated copies designed for the field to you directly. They are also given to each student who takes one of our courses. 

Maryland Questions

What do I need in order to test backflow preventers in Maryland?

For Maryland State, including Baltimore County, Baltimore City, and WSSC, you need to both have a corresponding plumbing license (master level, or journey level working under the direction of a master) and a current backflow certification with an approved education provider. You may also need to register with the jurisdiction directly (WSSC) by submitting your credentials and your certification, licenses, etc. 

If my backflow licensed expired, do I need to take the full course again?

This depends on how long ago the certification expired. There is an allowable 12 month grace period from the date of expiration where you can still renew an expired backflow license within the State of Maryland. However, please note that not all course providers will extend this grace period, and not all jurisdictions will accept the re-certification paperwork (for example, WSSC often flags your account as expired and demands a 32-hour certification)

Do I need a backflow certification course to get a plumbing license in Maryland?

Yes, per the application requirements outlined on the PSI bulletin, you need to have taken a 32-hour course that is current at the time of the application (this may require 8-hour re-certification course(s) to be included in the submission if the original 32-hour has expired).

Are there questions about backflow prevention on the Maryland or WSSC plumbing license exam?

Yes, approximately 10% of the questions on the test are related to backflow prevention. 

Do I need to keep my backflow license current in order to renew my plumbing license in Maryland?

This depends on the jurisdiction. State of Maryland licenses issued by DLLR are renewed through their online system and do not require a submission of a current backflow certification. WSSC licenses are renewed online as well, but do require a submission of a current backflow license. Also, in order to apply for a new local plumbing license you will usually have to submit a current backflow certification. 

Do I need to keep my backflow license current in order to pull a plumbing permit in Maryland?

  

You usually do, but this depends on the jurisdiction. I would check with the entity with whom you plan to pull the permit.

Virginia Questions

What do I need in order to test backflow preventers in Virginia?

There is a State of Virginia DPOR trade designation for “backflow prevention device worker” that involves its own license and exam. If you have this license, then you are approved state wide to test / inspect backflow preventers. 

What do I need in order to get the DPOR backflow prevention device worker designation?

There is an application that you fill out and send to DPOR similar to any other trade license. You will also need work experience in “water distribution systems” which includes Plumbing, Irrigation, Sprinkler, and other related trades. The two forms are located on our website in links on the course description page. Once you apply, DPOR will approve your application and give you a login to take the 40 question exam via PSI. 

What is the difference between the 16 and 40 hour backflow courses in Virginia?

The courses count for the vocational credit required on the application. Number 13 on the application gives you the option of submitting 4 years of verified work experience and 40 hours of vocational credit, or 7 years of verified work experience and 16 hours of vocational credit, so basically if you have more than 7 years’ experience you only need the 16 hour course. The 40 hour course is more in depth and includes more time with the instructor, but both courses prepare a student for the exam.

Do I need a backflow course in order to get a Virginia Plumbing Tradesman License?

No, you do not. There is no requirement for this because the two licenses are separated. 

What is the best way to prepare / study for the Virginia backflow prevention device worker test?

We recommend that you read the PSI candidate information bulletin thoroughly along with an approved backflow textbook. The test and its questions are reviewed in depth in class. The PSI bulletin is available for download on our course description page. There are 40 questions on various topics that are outlined on the bulletin. Also, it is open book, and the bulletin lists the available textbooks, including the TREEO Backflow Theory and Practice 2nd Edition which is used in class. 

New York Questions

What do I need in order to test backflow preventers in New York?

For New York State, including all local jurisdictions including New York City proper, this is managed by the NYS Department of Health and called a “Backflow Prevention Device Tester Certification.” All you need to do is take a 32-hour course that is approved by NYSDOH, successfully passing the written and practical exams. Once you have done this, the provider will submit your information to NYSDOH who will put you on the online list that they maintain. Anyone on that list is approved to test backflow preventers, it work similar to a license. 

How often do I need to renew my license in New York?

Certifications and Re-Certifications are valid for 3 years, so you will need to take an 8-hour renewal before expiration. There is no grace period in New York, so if you let a certification lapse for any period of time, it becomes non-renewable and you must take the 32-hour course again. 

Do I need a backflow course in order to get a New York Plumbing License?

No, you do not. There is no requirement for this because the two licenses are separated. 

Washington, DC Questions

What do I need in order to test Backflow Preveners in Washington DC?

This is managed by the DC Water Compliance Program, and they are referred to as "Certified BPA Inspectors." All you need to do is take a 32-hour course in backflow prevention and then submit your credentials to DC Water, along with other documentation, and they will put you on the online list that is maintained by them. Anyone on that list is approved to test backflow preventers, it work similar to a license.  

Do I need to be a Plumber in order to test Backflow Preventers in Washington, DC?

No, you don't. The two certifications are separate. One is managed by the Department of Industrial Trades, and the other directly by the water purveyor, DC Water.