Omnia Mechanical Group

571 Timpson Place Bronx, NY 10455

Phone: 212-534-2500

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Why You Shouldn’t Overlook RPZ Testing as Part of Your Spring Maintenance

Did you know that New York City has some of the strictest backflow prevention regulations in the country? Ignoring regulatory testing puts your property at risk contamination and you are at risk of fines and penalties. Avoiding annual requirements may also jeopardize tenants’ health.

Reduced pressure zone valves are backflow prevention devices and require annual testing by a certified tester. The valves are integral to multi-unit residential properties and mixed-use buildings. Annual RPZ testing is a legal requirement in NYC, and failure to comply with testing guidelines may result in a violation notice and a $500 fine for each untested device.

What’s RPZ Testing and Why NYC Building Owners Must Care?

Understanding the Importance of RPZ Tests

A backflow preventer, such as an RPZ, is a complex valve designed to prevent contaminated water from flowing backward into your building’s clean water supply. The device creates a reduced pressure zone between two check valves. When the pressure drops inside the building’s plumbing system, wastewater can push back toward the system. The valve opens and dumps the wastewater out of the system entirely, eliminating the risk of contamination.

While RPZ tests are a legal requirement, they are also important to the health of your property’s plumbing system and the municipal water supply. NYC enforces backflow prevention regulations because of the city’s infrastructure’s interconnectedness and the potential risks to people’s health, including those who are not your current tenants.

The city and state are not the only municipalities in the country that require RPZ testing. Many states, including California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Texas, and Washington State, require annual testing and verification by certified professionals.

Acknowledging Cross-Contamination Risks

Being concerned about your building and its plumbing infrastructure is natural, but you must acknowledge that your system doesn’t exist in isolation. NYC’s underlying water supply network is complex and interconnected, with each part influencing the next. Your building connects to and uses that infrastructure.

The municipal system means that you, your neighbor, and your entire street and beyond share sewers and supplies. A pressure drop, leak, or even repair in a neighboring structure or city line can create pressure shifts that affect your property, placing it under threat of backflow challenges. RPZ valves act as safeguards, preventing wastewater from traveling through the interconnected network and into your property’s system.

Therefore, because of the expansive cross-contamination risks, NYC requires annual RPZ testing in buildings, including multi-unit residential properties required by law to have backflow valves. The tests and requirements enforce citywide responsibility and ensure that each building owner is responsible for their piece in the interconnected system.

Learning About Backflow Prevention Regulations

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection is responsible for setting and enforcing backflow prevention regulations, which are necessary to protect the health and safety of the city’s residents. The DEP’s Cross-Connection Control Program Handbook is a good resource for property owners interested in more information about the city’s cross-connection control programs.

Building owners must understand the key regulations, which include mandatory installation and annual testing requirements. Large residential and commercial properties typically require RPZs. Annual testing is necessary to ensure the backflow preventers work correctly, protecting your building and its tenants.

If you do not comply with citywide regulations, you risk financial and legal penalties. Beyond the standard $500 fine per untested device, neglecting your legal duties as a landlord can result in legal consequences and further financial trouble. Landlords have a legal and ethical responsibility to provide a safe living environment.

Why Spring Testing?

Boiler Shutdown and Pressure Irregularities

Spring is an excellent time for RPZ testing because you are likely getting ready to shut down your boiler and start up various other systems, including irrigation systems. Shutting down plumbing systems and starting others can create pressure irregularities, which may risk backflows. Backflow is also a potential issue when damage occurs to specific summer systems during the cold winter months.

By testing your valves in March or April, you kill two birds with one stone. You meet the annual testing requirement and eliminate the potential risks of cross-contamination when powering systems on or off. Also, early system testing can ensure that all your systems are ready for the late spring and summer months, when they are more likely to be used.

What Can You Expect During an RPZ Test?

Testing Process

An RPZ test involves visual inspection, repairs, and functional testing. During the visual inspection, the licensed and certified tester looks for signs of damage, leaks, or improper installation. If the inspector notices any damage, they will likely make any necessary repairs before moving on to functional testing.

Functional testing involves using specialized gauges to measure the pressure on both sides of the RPZ device and around internal components. The readings help the inspector determine whether the check and relief valves are working correctly.

RPZ testing can cause brief water service disruptions, so informing tenants and staff before the test is necessary to reduce inconvenience. Typically, the entire process takes 30-60 minutes, depending on the complexity of the system, the assembly’s condition, and any required repairs. It is best to give tenants a broad window to ensure they can prepare.

In general, you must briefly turn off the water supply to the backflow preventer, but it will cause little to no interference to the overall water supply. Still, it is best to prepare tenants and staff for a worst-case scenario rather than deal with a flood of complaints if you disrupt the supply because of repairs or other issues.

How Can Sanitary Plumbing Help With RPZ Testing?

Annual Inspections and Service Contracts

RPZ testing is a legal requirement in NYC and a qualified professional must perform it. Sanitary Plumbing has certification for such tests and inspections. We also offer annual service contracts to ensure you never forget about regulatory compliance testing for your entire plumbing system. If you want to schedule an RPZ test or discuss our annual service contracts, contact our team at 212-734-5000.


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
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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:

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  • 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.