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  • Backflow Cross Connection Meeting - Discussions about Liability

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FipyXTz8Cq4


    I need to fill in the rest of this video in where the discussion went.

    I think from here on out, I'm going to tape these meetings as a free service to the backflow association and create a catalog of these dialogues.


    Even though this was earlier in the week, having this in a video format will give life to these meetings for those who missed or couldn't attend, or just simply want the education.
    Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

  • #2
    Re: Backflow Cross Connection Meeting - Discussions about Liability

    Was the ruling against plumber #3 because he didn't install an expansion tank also?

    Mick
    Last edited by Fireguy97; 02-07-2010, 05:19 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Backflow Cross Connection Meeting - Discussions about Liability

      where is the rest of it the video?
      Ron Hasil Lic #058-160417
      A-Archer Sewer & Plumbing specializing in:
      Tankless Water Heaters | Drain and Sewer Cleaning
      Sump and Ejector Pumps | Backflow RPZ Testing

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Backflow Cross Connection Meeting - Discussions about Liability

        Originally posted by Fireguy97 View Post
        Was the ruling against plumber #3 because he didn't install an expansion tank also?

        Mick
        No, but I'll put the answers below.

        Originally posted by SewerRatz View Post
        where is the rest of it the video?

        Ran out of space on my camera, didn't think the story would run as long.


        Here's how that situation played out:


        All the plumbers involved in the situation were found guilty for one more than apparent reason...

        didn't do a full check of the system to make sure there weren't "other" possibilities.


        What plumber number 3 created was "I'm installing this device and telling you the problem is solved" and the owners of the property are given that assumption by the words of the plumber.

        In a court of law, it's a whole different story, completely. Hinesight is 20/20. What plumber #3 did was correct, in the form of tasking the repair as requested, but this always follows down to the personal responsibility and personal liability.

        All 3 of these plumbers did not test this system to see if other cross-connections existed. < FAIL

        Indeed, there were multiple cross connections, and even though plumber #3's effort actually created a safer enviornment, he basically created a false hope that his repair solved the problem, which it didn't.

        The reason all parties involved were sued and had to pay out is for the reason of not assessing the entire scope of the reality of this dangerous situation. Being a backflow tester or involved in a cross connection program obligates you to understand the hazards and dangers that will implicate you into a legal responsibility if you do not think "big picture" in these situations.

        It's a slippery slope that so many of us take, coming in and tasking one small aspect of a bigger picture. It's best to understand all points of the work you are dealing with, but write it down.

        If any of the plumbers would of taken the time to do a full evaluation of the system, report these findings and either have a shutdown created, this situation wouldn't of occurred.

        The plumber having the customer "signing off" most likely would not be enough, especially if you knowingly continue to perform work duties avoiding the big picture of the dangers involved, whether in physical harm or property damage.


        There was some real interesting points this speaker brought about that I will keep adding to this conversation, possibly start another thread because I feel this information is crucial to being a plumber, a backflow tester, one who is involved in cross connection program, and last but not least...a business owner that must adhere to the legal system that indirectly protects those around us, including ourselves.
        Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Backflow Cross Connection Meeting - Discussions about Liability

          Dunbar;
          Just curious if you knew what the actual cross connections were, in that particular bldg.
          I personally have not done much testing of BFP, even though I was certified about 6 yrs ago, simply because it was not required often in residential applications. Now that a few of the cities are requiring it be done every 5 yrs, and at initial installation, I thought it might be worth it, but these contractors around here are doing tests for $75, which don't make it worth while to me. I know you can possibly get other work out of clients, but I guess I'm not that desperate, to do cheap work for possible future work. I've had enough practice.Also on residential, its not too often that you have more than 1 to test, to make it worth it.
          All that being said, I don't think many of these contractors realize the liability involved, as your story tells us.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Backflow Cross Connection Meeting - Discussions about Liability

            Originally posted by Don the plumber View Post
            Now that a few of the cities are requiring it be done every 5 yrs, and at initial installation, I thought it might be worth it, but these contractors around here are doing tests for $75, which don't make it worth while to me.
            Holy Moly! Five years!

            Most manufacturers call for a test annualy. All of the jurisdictions around here need a yearly test.

            Too much can go wrong in a five year span.

            Mick

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Backflow Cross Connection Meeting - Discussions about Liability

              Originally posted by Don the plumber View Post
              Dunbar;
              Just curious if you knew what the actual cross connections were, in that particular bldg.
              I personally have not done much testing of BFP, even though I was certified about 6 yrs ago, simply because it was not required often in residential applications. Now that a few of the cities are requiring it be done every 5 yrs, and at initial installation, I thought it might be worth it, but these contractors around here are doing tests for $75, which don't make it worth while to me. I know you can possibly get other work out of clients, but I guess I'm not that desperate, to do cheap work for possible future work. I've had enough practice.Also on residential, its not too often that you have more than 1 to test, to make it worth it.
              All that being said, I don't think many of these contractors realize the liability involved, as your story tells us.

              He only mentioned "numerous" cross connections in relation to the incident. I don't believe he personally had any involvement with the case.

              I'm in the same boat as well, I'm involved with the body of knowledge more than the hands-on aspect.

              I can appreciate the value of the knowledge as well because the true professional must know every aspect of the plumbing system in order to know how to manage/repair/maintain.

              So often you hear of guys that can break down, troubleshoot and repair a 909 but not understand the problem areas in other parts of the system, and why it is happening.

              The code book is only a fraction of the equation when it comes to being a well rounded tradesmen. With age comes wisdom for many, but also keep in mind that selective education throughout the history of a career can limit one's ability to comprehend an entire problem.

              In Kentucky there are gears turning with cooperation of the plumbing division and the backflow-cross connection program whereby they eventually bring forth a requirement to have all licensed journeyman plumbers be required to become certified in their local chapter for cross connection prevention.

              I was shocked when I got my license all the way back in 1998 how much that knowledge I didn't know or understand back then, not being able to make sense of the "how and why".

              Being a licensed backflow tester in my profession has made me a better plumber, no doubt. I encourage anyone that has the opportunity to become a part of this program is well worth the effort.

              There's a few plumbers on this site that deal with these larger systems and it's valued expertise when you can manage such situations, provide safety with their time involved.
              Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Backflow Cross Connection Meeting - Discussions about Liability

                Originally posted by Fireguy97 View Post
                Holy Moly! Five years!

                Most manufacturers call for a test annualy. All of the jurisdictions around here need a yearly test.

                Too much can go wrong in a five year span.

                Mick

                It's a trickle down theory in my area. Degree of hazard is the true indicator of which assemblies get tested annually. Hospitals, factories, large businesses where the water source is used in conjunction with chemicals or the possibility of condition to create a cross connection.

                In residential, it's usually a one-time installation and never hear of the necessity of testing ever again.

                Others like a storage unit I'm working at tomorrow, has a DCVA and every 2 years they require the device be tested. Nothing more than a utility room/bathroom and office kitchen...that's it.

                It's the fact that it is a commercial building with the potential and/or probability or likelihood that there is a chance that the potable water can be used in a manner that could pose a threat, whether minimal or not a danger to the public water supply.
                Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Backflow Cross Connection Meeting - Discussions about Liability

                  Originally posted by Fireguy97 View Post
                  Holy Moly! Five years!

                  Most manufacturers call for a test annualy. All of the jurisdictions around here need a yearly test.

                  Too much can go wrong in a five year span.

                  Mick
                  That every 5 yr test is one of the communities that is actually on the ball. As Dunbar said, most never require another test. It takes hiring of employees and money to enforce, and track all this, and most communities around here are broke now.
                  I do mostly residential, so all there is, most of the time is a PVB on the lawn sprinkler system. Many times the lawn sprinkler man does the plumbing hook up, unless there is a permit taken out, {which only happens about 25% of the time}. Then when they do have to hire a Licensed plumber, the cheapest guy gets the job. I do work for only a few sprinkler contractors and most of them even supply their own PVB for me to install, because the sprinkler supply house sells 1" ones for about $75.
                  Very few houses around here have an RPZ at the meter. Commercial bldgs only.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Backflow Cross Connection Meeting - Discussions about Liability

                    Originally posted by Don the plumber View Post
                    That every 5 yr test is one of the communities that is actually on the ball. As Dunbar said, most never require another test. It takes hiring of employees and money to enforce, and track all this, and most communities around here are broke now.
                    I do mostly residential, so all there is, most of the time is a PVB on the lawn sprinkler system. Many times the lawn sprinkler man does the plumbing hook up, unless there is a permit taken out, {which only happens about 25% of the time}. Then when they do have to hire a Licensed plumber, the cheapest guy gets the job. I do work for only a few sprinkler contractors and most of them even supply their own PVB for me to install, because the sprinkler supply house sells 1" ones for about $75.
                    Very few houses around here have an RPZ at the meter. Commercial bldgs only.
                    The Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 states that each individual State is responsible for mandating that each owner or operator of a public water system is responsible to provide clean drinking water to each customer.

                    How each State does that is very different.

                    Lawyers and insurance companies don't really care if a city, county, water district, or municipality is broke or not. If some one gets injured or worse in a backflow failure/catastrophic incident insurance companies will be paying out.

                    If (and when) it comes to light that the only backflow assembly test that was required by a water district was an, "initial install test only, or "5-year test", due diligence is out the window. When that happens I can see lawyers crawling up one side and down the other of these untested/not sufficiently tested municipalities.
                    Can you imagine what will happen if there is no testing required, even if a device was installed?

                    Building owners are the ones that are ultimately responsible for the backflow device testing being done, and any cross connection water problems that will occur if a device is not maintained as per the manufacturers’ specifications - weather or not a Cross Connection Control program is in place.

                    In the future, I can see insurance companies pulling policies out from under clients that have let their backflow assembly tests lapse. Again, due diligence.

                    If lawyers or insurance companies can find wiggle room, they'll get you for sure. I don't think that the towns and municipalities being broke will stop a jury from awarding a huge settlement.

                    Guess who'll be paying for the settlements?

                    Mick

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Backflow Cross Connection Meeting - Discussions about Liability

                      Originally posted by DUNBAR PLUMBING View Post
                      It's a trickle down theory in my area. Degree of hazard is the true indicator of which assemblies get tested annually. Hospitals, factories, large businesses where the water source is used in conjunction with chemicals or the possibility of condition to create a cross connection.

                      In residential, it's usually a one-time installation and never hear of the necessity of testing ever again.

                      Others like a storage unit I'm working at tomorrow, has a DCVA and every 2 years they require the device be tested. Nothing more than a utility room/bathroom and office kitchen...that's it.

                      It's the fact that it is a commercial building with the potential and/or probability or likelihood that there is a chance that the potable water can be used in a manner that could pose a threat, whether minimal or not a danger to the public water supply.
                      In the seven water districts that I cover, the degree of hazard is the indicator of which device is installed. All testable devices have to be tested yearly (at least). If a hazard requires a testable backflow assembly, it gets tested upon installation, yearly, and every time it gets repaired, or moved.

                      Mick

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Backflow Cross Connection Meeting - Discussions about Liability

                        I agree 100% with the last 2 threads, however, I was mostly talkin about residential houses. Not commercial chemical bldgs and hospitals. Most of those commercial companies are well aware of seriousness of their backflow devices.
                        Most homeowners don't even know what that little device is with the umbrella type lid on it. And how high of a hazard would you say a lawn sprinkler system is?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Backflow Cross Connection Meeting - Discussions about Liability

                          Originally posted by Don the plumber View Post
                          I agree 100% with the last 2 threads, however, I was mostly talkin about residential houses. Not commercial chemical bldgs and hospitals. Most of those commercial companies are well aware of seriousness of their backflow devices.
                          Most homeowners don't even know what that little device is with the umbrella type lid on it. And how high of a hazard would you say a lawn sprinkler system is?
                          Lawn sprinklers are a very high hazard. That is why in Illinois it has to be an RPZ now , no more Pressure Vacuum Breakers. Each sprinkler head is a breading ground for some nasty stuff. Also if they treat their lawn with weed killers, pesticides, and fertilizer. Plus many do not think about this, but your lawn is the bathroom for the animal world.

                          And Dunbar all devices have to be tested here in Illinois yearly, no matter where it is installed.
                          Ron Hasil Lic #058-160417
                          A-Archer Sewer & Plumbing specializing in:
                          Tankless Water Heaters | Drain and Sewer Cleaning
                          Sump and Ejector Pumps | Backflow RPZ Testing

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Backflow Cross Connection Meeting - Discussions about Liability

                            LAST WEEK HERE IN HOUSTON WE HAD A FREEZE FOR TWO OR THREE

                            DAYS AND THERE WAS A LOT OF OUTSIDE PRESSURE VACUUM BREAKER

                            THAT WERE FREEZING UP AND BLOWING THE TOP OFF,

                            MOST OF THE HO'S HAD NO IDEAL WHAT TO DO OTHER THEN TURNING

                            THE WATER OFF AT THE STREET AND WAITING FOR A PLUMBER

                            ALL THE PLUMBING COMPANY'S IN TOWN WERE BOOKED SOLID

                            FOR TWO TO THREE DAY'S IN ADVANCE BECAUSE OF IT
                            JERRYMAC
                            E-MAILJERRYMAC777@GMAIL.COM
                            CALIF. LIC. PLBG,HEAT,DRAINS,ELECTRIC,WATER HEATER, BOILER, POOL AND SPA HEATER
                            FIRE SPRINKLER CONTRACTOR,
                            SINCE JAN. 1989

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Backflow Cross Connection Meeting - Discussions about Liability

                              Originally posted by JERRYMAC View Post
                              LAST WEEK HERE IN HOUSTON WE HAD A FREEZE FOR TWO OR THREE

                              DAYS AND THERE WAS A LOT OF OUTSIDE PRESSURE VACUUM BREAKER

                              THAT WERE FREEZING UP AND BLOWING THE TOP OFF,

                              MOST OF THE HO'S HAD NO IDEAL WHAT TO DO OTHER THEN TURNING

                              THE WATER OFF AT THE STREET AND WAITING FOR A PLUMBER

                              ALL THE PLUMBING COMPANY'S IN TOWN WERE BOOKED SOLID

                              FOR TWO TO THREE DAY'S IN ADVANCE BECAUSE OF IT
                              Was every1 of those required to take a permit out? Was the new model & serial numbers for every single vac breaker registered with local municipality along with the test results?

                              Comment

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