Backflow prevention program frequently asked questions

Do you have a backflow prevention device on your property? Read the frequently asked questions for the backflow prevention program.

What is the relevant legislation?

  • Testing/registering devices: Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2019 s101-s103
  • Charging fees: City of Brisbane Act 2010 Chapter 4 Part 2 Section 99.

What is a backflow prevention device?

A backflow prevention device is an apparatus that is fitted to internal water reticulation to prevent the reverse flow of potentially polluted water from a source within the property from entering the city’s potable water supply or other reticulation within the property. These devices are installed where a potential hazard exists and must remain in place and operational to ensure the risk of contamination is low. Some types of backflow prevention devices are “testable” which means that they must be tested regularly by a licensed person endorsed for backflow testing.

Why am I receiving this notice/correspondence?

Council's records indicate that testable backflow prevention devices have been installed on your property. The Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2019 requires the following:

  • Council to have in place a program for the registration, maintenance and testing of testable backflow prevention devices
  • Council to have a register of all the devices installed in its local government area
  • owners of devices must register their devices with Council and have them tested at least once a year by a licensed person.

Council’s backflow registration program includes the issuing of an annual fee notice and an annual testing reminder notice to all property owners (or their nominated representatives), prompting them to arrange testing of their devices and pay the required annual fee.

Device owners have the option of receiving these notices by post or via email. Notices will be posted unless device owners sign up to receive them by email. Find out more about receiving your backflow prevention notices by email.

Can I just have the device removed so I don’t have to do this every year?

Backflow prevention devices are installed where there is a risk of contaminants entering the city’s water supply. As long as the risk exists the device is required to be in place and operational. You may contact a licensed plumber to determine if the device is still required.

What do I have to do?

On receipt of Council’s annual fee notice and testing reminder notice, you need to make arrangements to pay the fee by the due date. You have the remainder of the calendar year to complete the testing of the devices and report the results to Council. To do this you will need to engage the services of a person licensed for backflow testing to attend the property.

If you already have an annual testing arrangement in place with a contractor the testing can be done at the usual time of the year as long as it is done in the current calendar year. The licensed contractor will submit the test results to Council as required by state legislation.

How often do I have to have my devices tested?

The Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2019 s102 requires owners of devices to have them tested at least once a year by a licensed person.

Why hasn’t Council been sending me these in previous years?

Plumbing work requiring the installation and registration of these devices may have been performed at the property during the last year. Council has also been auditing its backflow prevention register and this may have identified devices previously registered on the property that had fallen out of the annual testing cycle sometime in the past.

How do I find a backflow tester?

You can search for “backflow testing” or the Backflow Prevention Association of Australia via the internet to find a local licensed contractor.

I have only had this done recently. Why am I being asked to do this again?

The Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2019 s102 requires owners of devices to have them tested at least once a year. Council’s program runs on a calendar year, therefore, if you have tested towards the end of the previous calendar year and have just received the annual testing reminder for the current year, you have the remainder of the year to meet the legislative requirement for the current year.

Why do I have to pay a fee?

The Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2019 s102 requires owners of devices to register them with Council and have them tested. Council charges an annual fee per device each year to cover the cost of maintaining the register and testing program required by the regulation.

How much time do I have to pay the fee?

The annual fee notice will state the due date for payment.

What happens if I don’t pay the fee?

Council will follow up any outstanding annual fees. If fees remain outstanding at the beginning of the next calendar year, they will be added to the current year’s annual fee.

When do I have to have my devices tested by?

All registered devices must be tested by the end of each calendar year.

Can I send my payment and test devices together?

Council recommends paying the fee notice by the due date and leaving the submission of the test reports to the backflow testing contractor. Penalties apply if the person testing the devices doesn’t submit them to Council within 10 business days. Delaying payment beyond the due date while waiting for testing to be completed may result in further action by Council in relation to the overdue payment.

Why do I have to have these devices tested?

The Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2019 s102 requires owners of devices to have them registered with Council and tested at least once a year by a licensed person.

What happens if I don’t have my devices tested?

The testing of backflow prevention devices protects the city’s drinking water from contamination by pollutants entering via plumbing installations on private property. Failure to regularly test these devices could allow preventable contamination and health risks to occur. Penalties apply for failure to test these devices as required by state legislation.

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