sure you've heard the old saying, "Don't sweat the small
stuff". Well, when you're taking the "Hands-on"
portion of the backflow prevention assembly tester certification
exam, this old saying may get you in serious trouble.
There are several details that may seem small and unimportant
that can actually be considered errors and thus cause for
are a few of the more commonly missed details and the reasons
they are considered errors:
is paperwork. The paperwork is just as important as
the field test procedure. If the field test report form
is not properly filled out, it will be considered an error
in your procedure. Occasionally, we will see an applicant
test a double check valve assembly and write the report on
the reduced pressure principle assembly test form. The
information may be correct, but if it's on the wrong form,
it is cause for failure.
problem here is the applicant has misidentified the assembly
by writing the results on the wrong form. Each of the
test forms is identified for a specific type of backflow prevention
assembly - RP, DC or PVB. And coming soon to a test site near
you....the SVB. The point is you must make sure you have filled
out the proper field test form.
comes making sure the field test form is filled out properly.
The most common error I see has to do with applicants filling
out the report form for the reduced pressure principle assembly.
The existing ABPA test form is a "one size fits all"
test form. The test forms for RP, DC and PVB all contain
the exact same pre-printed information. The only difference
is the color of the paper and the heading on the page: RP,
DC or PVB. Sometimes while an applicant is testing the
2nd check of an RP assembly, they will write down a value
in the 2nd check column of the report form. Maybe they
mistakenly thought they were looking at the pressure drop
across the 2nd check, or maybe they are putting a value there
just because there is a space provided for it. Either
way, the proctor must consider this an error.
Perhaps the powers that be should consider simplifying the
test report forms? Address comments to Michael Moss,
ABPA Training Committee Chair, at (801) 536-0089 or by e-mail
that as it may, if the applicant records a value for the 2nd
check during the standard test, it is cause for failure.
As long as the high side of the differential pressure gage
is connected to test cock #2 and the low side is attached
to test cock #3, the only value the gauge will show is the
differential across the #1 check valve.
Believe it or not, the next two things are so simple, you
wouldn't think anyone could ever miss them, but it happens.
is reporting the overall condition of the assembly; did it
pass or fail? On the bottom of the test form in BIG
letters you find the words PASS and FAIL. You must check
one or the other. If you fail to do this, it is cause
for failure. The second thing applicants will occasionally
overlook is closing all test cocks, opening the shutoff valves
and removing all test equipment prior to handing in their
paperwork. Even though this is something you would never
forget in the field, you may be so relieved to be done with
the field test procedures that you heave a sigh of relief,
hand in your paperwork and say, "I'm done".
Unless you wrestle that clipboard away from the proctor, then
turn the water back on and remove our equipment, you will
be hearing those dreaded words "You have erred in your
you can see, in the backflow certification business, some
things that might at first glance seem insignificant can on
closer inspection loom large. So, if you do hear those
awful words, don't focus solely on the physical aspects of
the test. Take a good look at the paperwork. An
error in your procedure can mean a paperwork error as well.
Here's hoping you never hear those words.