This backflow device isn’t on the USC approved list – should I care?

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The USC Approved Backflow Assembly list has long been the gold standard of backflow preventers.

We’re the only backflow tracking solution I’m aware of that doesn’t allow free entry into the ‘manufacturer’ section – instead we employ dropdowns of make & models. We do this to reduce any chance of miss-entry. You wouldn’t believe how many different close-but-not-quite device makes & models we’ve seen when we do data imports for folks. I’m pretty sure they’ve never made a Watts OO7MI0T but I’ve seen a few 007M1QTs before.

Because of this, many prospective customers ask us ‘do you use the USC list?’ – our answer is always the same ‘yes, but…’

Some backflow preventers have been installed now for 40+ years. They *were* on the USC list at one point. But they aren’t now. The USC list is a rolling approved list. Devices are good for a period of three years and then they must be renewed to stay on the list.

Are they still allowed? That’s up to your purveyor jurisdiction – the general answer is yes – if it was compliant when it was installed it’s still compliant today. We’re hearing about more and more jurisdictions that are clamping down on that a bit but for the most part as long as it’s still functioning it isn’t going anywhere. That is as long as you can still find parts for it…

What’s the breakdown of devices in the field & the USC List?

The 2016 USC List has 3840 device models on it’s list. That’s a big list! It is! However – the USC list breaks down the explicit details of each approved device – not just the distinct model. So for a common device you have a *lot* of entries that include each orientation configuration as well as the size and potentially revisions of those models. Take for example the popular Wilkins 350DA offered in sizes from 2 1/2″ up to 12″. All of those sizes are approved for horizontal & vertical installation and have 2 or 3 revisions. That amounts to a grand total of 37 variations of the Wilkins 350DA on the USC list.

We haven’t found a water purveyor that wants the revision of a device (if that’s even always possible to discern in the field) on a test report. So we keep the devices makes & models a little simpler.

We only track device models by manufacturer, device type, & model. When we sort the USC list like that we end up with 787 different models.

How does that compare to data from the field?

We currently have 1345 different device models in our database. So based on data from our customers testing in the field about 60% of the devices they’ve seen are on the current USC List.

So our full answer from earlier – do we use the USC list? Yes – we monitor it and add new devices when they are added to the USC approved list but the day-to-day life of testing in the field means we also keep track of device models not on the approved list.

So what happens in a jurisdiction that only allows current USC devices? We’ll flip a switch for you and turn off the non-approved devices from the make & model dropdowns. However, if you’re like most testers and are still testing that same device that was discontinued in the early 80’s we’ve got you covered there, too.

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