Omnia Mechanical Group

571 Timpson Place Bronx, NY 10455

Phone: 212-534-2500

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What Is an RPZ Test? Is Your NYC Backflow Prevention Device Due for Inspection?

If you own a property in New York City, chances are good you have a backflow prevention device. And if you have a backflow prevention device, it must undergo an RPZ test once per year. What is an RPZ test? In this post, we answer this question and explain more about the vital role played by backflow prevention devices.

What Does a Backflow Prevention Device Do?

Protection for your clean water supply

Backflow occurs when the water coming into your property from the city supply flows in the wrong direction. When this happens, clean water can become contaminated by sewage, chemicals, or other elements of greywater or wastewater, making your water unusable by the building’s tenants. A backflow prevention device is a simple but essential plumbing component that keeps backflow from occurring.

Causes of backflow

Water pressure changes, which happen frequently in New York City, are the most common causes of backflow. A water main that has been temporarily shut off for construction or an accident can cause pressure to drop precipitously, as can the use of a fire hydrant. This type of backflow is known as back-siphonage.

Sometimes pressure changes that result in backflow are caused by internal issues. If the pressure of your water distribution system is lower than the building system pressure, you can get what’s called back-pressure. This will cause clean water to become contaminated if there isn’t a backflow prevention device installed for protection. Back-pressure is common in buildings with commercial boilers, pressure booster pumps, elevated water tanks, and recirculating pumps.

How Do You Know If You Have a Backflow Prevention Device?

Required on many property types

If your property has a backflow prevention device, it should be located at the point where the city water enters your building. Your architect, engineers, or plumber may have a record of installing a backflow prevention device. You might also have records of previous maintenance or test notifications. If you’re not sure, you can always contact the New York City Department of Environmental Protection to check. Or, give Sanitary Plumbing a call. We’ll take a look for you.

Most large residential and commercial properties in the city have backflow devices. They are required in the following buildings:

  • Large residential buildings with large or treated water boilers
  • Properties with roof tanks
  • Buildings with multiple water line services
  • Photo processing facilities
  • Schools and colleges
  • Nursing homes
  • Premises with water-cooled equipment or chillers
  • Properties with commercial, public kitchens, or food preparation facilities
  • Breweries
  • Canneries
  • Paper processors
  • Metal plating shops
  • Tanneries
  • Premises that reuse or recycle water
  • Beauty salons and barbershops
  • Supermarkets
  • Dry cleaners
  • Auto repair shops
  • Commercial car washes
  • Medical and dental offices
  • Hospitals, clinics, and laboratories (including veterinary)
  • Funeral parlors
  • Printing presses and dye plants
  • Properties with swimming pools or in-ground irrigation sprinklers
  • Shipyards and marinas
  • Greenhouses
  • Premises with groundwater wells
  • Sewage treatment facilities
  • Food processing plants, meat/fish packers, and slaughterhouses
  • Exterminators
  • Buildings housing toxic chemical storage

What Are the Requirements for Backflow Prevention Devices?

Installation regulations

A backflow prevention device can only be installed by a licensed master plumber (LMP) such as Sanitary Plumbing after a plan is completed by a registered architect (RA) or professional engineer (PE). Once the installation is complete, it must be inspected by a tester certified by the state of New York. Then, a report is submitted within 30 days. Sanitary Plumbing has been deemed qualified to do the initial inspection following installation, even if another party installed the device.

RPZ testing

Once you pass your first inspection following installation, your backflow prevention device must be evaluated by a certified tester every year. This check must also be completed by a certified tester.

The test is known as an RPZ test, short for reduced pressure zone. A reduced pressure zone device is the most common kind of backflow prevention device found in New York City properties. Sanitary Plumbing performs annual RPZ tests for all kinds of properties with backflow prevention devices.

You don’t want to miss your yearly RPZ test. The city can cite you or fine you as a property owner. If your test becomes drastically overdue, you can even wind up having your city water service shut off. Obviously, all of these consequences are costly and interfere with the function of your building, as well as tenant satisfaction and legal rights to clean water.

We recommend property owners and managers get a jump start on their RPZ tests. Don’t wait until the last minute. At times, we’ve seen backflow prevention devices fail, and you can preempt this with a scheduled inspection. You don’t want to be in a position where your tenants have no potable water.

Failure of backflow prevention devices can be caused by multiple problems, most of which are fixable but may require time. If you’ve had trouble with water hammer, fluctuating water pressure, or debris in your water, your device may be subject to extra wear and tear. If we notice anything starting to malfunction, we can clean all the parts, replace worn or cracked gaskets, and add a filter upstream of your device to prevent scale, sand, and other unwanted material from reaching it.

Contact Sanitary Plumbing for Your Yearly RPZ Test

Convenient appointments for you

If you have gotten your notification that the RPZ test for your property is imminent, the sooner you contact us, the better. You’ll get a better choice of appointments, and you’ll have plenty of time for any repairs needed for a clean inspection report.

Call Sanitary Plumbing at 212-734-5000 or find a time that’s convenient for you and your staff and schedule with us online. Don’t risk your backflow prevention device failing or getting cited by the city. Reach out today.


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 Sanitaryplumbing.com.

2. Personal Information.

You can browse some areas of Antler.nyc (“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 Antler.nyc). 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 Sanitaryplumbing.com.

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 Sanitaryplumbing.com 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 Antler.nyc 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: info@omniagroup.nyc.