As a company focusing on simplifying backflow testing, we come across a lot of backflow reports. A lot. When I initially started looking into versions of backflow test forms I figured there might be some differences, but that they would all be relatively similar. A tweak here, a slight change here–after all, the EPA requires the same information from any given area in the country. It made sense that there might even be one universal form for all backflow testing. Boy… have I been wrong!
2-4-6-10! So many forms, where do we begin?!
Some of our customers use one backflow test form, and report to one water district. We have others that report to 12 or 14 districts and use one form. And then we have others that are on the opposite side of the spectrum; this includes the companies that test for 12 or 14 different water districts in a fifty mile range and have 12 or 14 unique cross connection forms. (Don’t ask me why there are so many districts in such a small space at times–that’s a discussion for a different day!) So why did it come to this?
If you simply google “backflow test form,” you’ll see relatively quickly what I mean. From requiring meter numbers to down to the very part that was cleaned, districts require different information. When the EPA set into motion the Clean Water Act, the internet simply didn’t exist, and wouldn’t –in any functional way– for another 20 years. So, districts compiled the data that the EPA required, and forms were created. A form created in Florida though would vary immensely from a form created in, say, Oregon or Montana. Although companies began selling report forms that conformed to the requirements, water purveyors sometimes want more or less information-so they deviated a little from the norm. Thus, to this day, we have a multitude of backflow report forms that vary immensely from one another.
If it’s not broke though, why fix it?
From a tech perspective, I want all the backflow test forms to be exactly the same. With communication faster than ever, it’s hard for me to understand why there has not been some huge migration of all backflow forms into one universal form. The truth is though, the water districts don’t need that. They each have had a useful and working form for decades. Creating an entirely new one that would merge all the information into one? Well, that’s silly because they simply don’t need that. So we work with that! Rather than change the status quo, we figure we’ll go ahead and work with it–and make it as easy as possible for the testers to get the water districts exactly what they need. As a tester, go ahead and gather the information, we’ll deal with filling in the multiple forms for you…and we’ll even let you know what information you need between different customers!