Omnia Mechanical Group

571 Timpson Place Bronx, NY 10455

Phone: 212-534-2500

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What Is a Backflow Prevention Device?

If you own or manage a property in New York City, you may have heard you need to make sure your backflow prevention devices are working properly. Whether you’re new to property ownership or not an expert at plumbing, this may be a mystery to you. Sanitary Plumbing is here to answer your questions about these vital devices that protect our drinking water so you can stay in compliance with New York City law.

What Do Backflow Prevention Devices Do?

A simple device with an important job

When drinking water flows into your building, it is intended to go in one direction: towards taps where it can be used for drinking, cooking, and washing. However, occasional backflow in the pipes can cause the water to flow in the opposite direction, mixing with grey or wastewater before it re-enters the building.

Obviously, backflow is undesirable because the drinking water becomes contaminated with sewage or chemicals and is no longer potable. A backflow prevention device solves this problem by keeping contaminated water from flowing back into the city water supply should backflow occur.

What Causes Backflow?

Multiple causes

Backflow is caused by a drop in nearby water pressure, often due to an event outside your control. In New York City, two of the most common causes of backflow are a broken water main or use of a neighborhood fire hydrant. This is known as back-siphonage, which affects the entire area water distribution system.

However, backflow can sometimes be caused by problems with your own plumbing system, known as back-pressure. We sometimes see this occur when the pressure within a building’s system exceeds that of its water distribution system.


What Kinds of Buildings Need Backflow Prevention Devices?

Large residences and commercial properties

Many types of buildings in New York City are required to use a backflow prevention device:

  • Properties with multiple water line services
  • Premises with roof tanks
  • Buildings with large boilers
  • Apartment buildings with treated water boilers
  • Nursing homes
  • Schools and colleges
  • Supermarkets
  • Buildings with swimming pools
  • Properties with in-ground irrigation
  • Beauty salons and barbershops
  • Food preparation facilities and commercial kitchens
  • Human and veterinary hospitals, clinics, and laboratories
  • Auto repair shops
  • Other properties that use and dispose of chemicals (tanneries, printers, funeral parlors, greenhouses, etc.)

How Do You Know If Your Property Has a Backflow Prevention Device?

A few ways to check

You may not be sure if your property has a backflow prevention device, especially if you purchased it recently or if you just started there as a manager or superintendent. Backflow prevention devices are usually located where the water service enters your building.

To double-check, you can phone your regular plumber or look at your building’s maintenance records. The city may also have a record of your device if it has previously been installed and/or tested by the proper professionals (see below). If communicating with a new plumber, you may want to send a snapshot of the area where the water service comes into the building, both inside and out, to help them determine if you have the right device.


What Is Your Responsibility to Prevent Backflow?

Install and test

If your building is required to utilize a backflow prevention device, it may have already been installed. Your architects, engineers, or plumbers may have a record of it (see above).

You may also have received a notification from the city that you need to install a backflow prevention device. If you have recently received such notice, get in touch with us right away. We can help you make sure you comply with this requirement. You must hire a Professional Engineer (PE) or Registered Architect (RA) to complete a plan for the device and then engage a licensed master plumber (LMP) to install it.

Once the device is installed, it must be evaluated by a New York State certified tester to make sure it has been properly installed. As licensed master plumbers for all five New York City Boroughs, Sanitary Plumbing is qualified to test backflow prevention devices. We can also help remedy any situations within your property’s system that cause chronic propensity to backflow, such as poorly installed or maintained water boilers.

Once installed, you are required by the city to test all backflow prevention devices on your properties annually by a certified tester like Sanitary Plumbing. You should receive a letter from the city when your backflow prevention test due date is approaching. This should not be ignored. Failure to complete testing can result in fines or even disconnection of your city water service.

Do You Need More Information or Help with Installation or Testing?

Sanitary Plumbing

Whether you’re not sure if you have a backflow prevention device, need help with installation, or want to hire LMPs for testing, Sanitary Plumbing is the place to call. We are your hyper-local blue chip plumbers for all of New York City and experts when it comes to all aspects of plumbing for both commercial and residential properties.

You can put our nearly 100 years of experience to the test and know that we’ll have the answer and proficiency you require for your property. Don’t risk being out of compliance with New York City’s laws for backflow prevention devices. Reach out today at 212-734-5000 or via our handy online form.

Our Privacy Policy

Omnia Mechanical Group(the “Company”) strives to ensure the highest standards for property listings and customer information privacy. Please review the following statement to learn about our company practices and policies. Please be aware that our Privacy Policy is subject to change at any time.

1. Purpose.

This Privacy Policy (“the Policy”) provides information on how the Company uses your personal information. By agreeing to the Policy, you agree to our collection and use of your personal information as described in the Policy. This Privacy Policy is effective for all new users of

2. Personal Information.

You can browse some areas of (“the Website”) without being a registered user. However, certain activities do require registration. (You consent to the transfer and storage of your information by registering with We may collect and store the following personal information:

  • Name, email, address, telephone number, and (depending on the service used), move-in dates;
  • Transactional information (such as lease terms, lease parties);
  • Computer sign-on data, statistics on page views, and traffic to and from the Website; and
  • Other information, including IP address and other web log information.

3. Use of Information.

Our primary purpose in collecting personal information is to provide you with a safe and user-friendly experience. For example, the Company may use your personal information to:

  • Improve our services and the Website’s content and layout;
  • Provide the services and necessary customer support you request;
  • Resolve disputes, collect fees, and troubleshoot problems;
  • Track and record customer satisfaction with our services;
  • Protect the Company against error and fraud;
  • Inform you of special promotions and announcements;
  • Enforce our agreements, terms, conditions, and policies; and
  • As otherwise described to you at the time of collection.

We may occasionally ask you to complete optional surveys. These surveys are used to improve and customize your experience with

The Company always provides you the ability to opt-out of further communication such as promotions and surveys; see the Opt-Out section below.

The Company does not share any of your personal information with outside organizations, companies, individuals, etc. The only exception to this standard is if such a disclosure is reasonably necessary to respond to any and all legal processes.

4. Links to Other Sites.

The Website may have links to other websites that may collect personally identifiable information about you. The Company is not responsible for the privacy practices of the content of those linked websites.

5. Safety & Security Precautions.

The Website has strict security measures in place to protect you and your information from fraud. Once your information is provided to Antler Pump & Motor Corporation, we strive to ensure the confidentiality of your identity and information.

6. Opt-Out.

The Company provides you with the opportunity to opt-out of receiving promotional and other non-essential, marketing-related communications from Antler Pump & Motor Corporation. If you would like to opt-out of these select communications, please see any of the Company’s email communications and follow the directions indicated.

7. Account Protection.

Your password ensures the security of your account. When choosing a password, the Company suggests using various characters. It is highly recommended that you do not disclose your password to anyone. (If you do disclose your password or your personal information with others, you are responsible for all actions taken in the name of your account.) If the security of your password is compromised for any reason, please contact the Company immediately.

8. Accuracy of Information

The Company does not guarantee the accuracy of information for any and all of its properties on the Website, and is not responsible for any errors or misrepresentations (made by Renters, the Client, or otherwise).

9. Cookies

The Company may place a small cookie on your computer’s hard drive. This allows us to personalize your use on the Website. In order to maximize the functionality and usability of the Website, you must set your browser’s preferences to allow both permanent and temporary cookies.

10. Changing Your Personal Information.

Should your personal information change, please immediately update your information on the Website. This will ensure the accuracy of our records. The Company does retain personal information from closed accounts in order to comply with law and collect and disburse any fees owed.

11. Third Parties

This Privacy Policy addresses only the use of information we collect from you. Since does not control the privacy policies of third parties, you are subject to the privacy policies of those third parties. It is advisable that you consult with the management of third parties before you disclose your personal information to others.

12. General

We may amend this Privacy Policy at any time by posting the amended terms on the Website. All amended terms are immediately effective after they are initially posted on the Website.

13. Privacy Policy Questions & Concerns

Questions and/or concerns regarding the Policy should be emailed to the following email address: