Time to double check

David Keys, Managing Director at Albion Valves UK Ltd, encourages equipment suppliers to the water industry not to get out of their depth with regulations.

Trying to keep up-to-date with the ebb and flow of regulations that occur in the water industry is a challenge, and keeping abreast of the shifting sands of byelaw amendments and legal revisions can be a full time job.

It’s common knowledge that the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations and Byelaws are national requirements governing the design, installation, operation and maintenance of plumbing systems, water fittings and appliances which use water.

They are designed to legally protect public health and promote the efficient use of water.

However, it’s a less well known fact that just over a year ago WRAS released an amendment in relation to installation requirements under the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999 in England and Wales, which now means that the water appliances that we all use everyday will need an additional Double Check Valve to be installed at the point of connection between the water supply and the appliance.

Double Check Valves protect the water supply from the risk of backflow and back siphonage in domestic homes and commercial buildings, ultimately preventing potential contaminants getting into other parts of the system, especially drinking water.

In April 2017, WRAS identified a risk that incorrect installation of water fittings may result in contravention of the water byelaws and as such added an amendment to installation requirements to mitigate any risk to public health.

At Albion we know how difficult it can be to keep up with new regulations and amendments to existing ones. So, we work with our distributors to primarily safeguard public health and also ensure they are fulfilling their legal obligations and are specifying superior, fit-for-purpose products that are fully compliant with increasingly stringent water industry regulations.

Double check valves are specifically designed to protect water supplies from contamination and are used to safeguard the water supply to millions of domestic and non-domestic properties nationwide.

Albion works closely with UK water companies and is keen to raise awareness of and help rectify the increasing number of water regulations being contravened within some fluid categories.

UK water regulations classify the range of domestic and non-domestic uses of water into five fluid categories. These categories are graded from 1 – 5; from the cleanest wholesome water rated number ‘1’, to water classed as posing a serious risk to health graded as a ‘5’.

Engineers working in the water industry find a variety of contraventions especially in fluid category 3 areas, often where unsuitable valves and fittings are found in domestic settings – for example outside taps. Also many WC inlet valves present back flow problems and therefore compromise the safety of the water supply.

Albion valves has added new WRAS approved Double Check valves to their water industry product portfolio, that can be specified for fluid categories up to and including category 3 to help address the problem. With ½ to 2’’ screwed fittings, 15-28mm compression and 2-10” flanged ends, this range is suitable for a host of applications.

Daniel Littlewood, Senior Water Regulations Technician at Severn Trent Water commented:

“At Severn Trent, as is the case across many other water companies, our team of water fittings technicians visit both domestic and non-domestic properties to ensure plumbing systems are in accordance with the Water Supply Regulations.

Fluid categories not only define the potential level of contamination risk, but also define the recommended rectification method to the affected plumbing system, in order to allay the risk.

In relation to fluid category 3, whereby water presents a slight risk to health, our inspectors frequently specify the installation of a WRAS approved double check valve immediately upstream of the at-risk process or fitting.”

At Albion we work closely with water companies like Severn Trent to identify the common problem areas in water contamination. As a result, we are able to offer this insight to our distributors to help support and inform their purchasing decisions.

We are committed to helping the water industry ensure the supply remains clean and uncontaminated due to waste by backflow from third party plumbing systems. Therefore, we believe it is crucial that WRAS approved products are fitted in these grade 3 category situations.

The approval goes a long way to ensuring the functionality of the valves, and guaranteeing peace of mind that continued protection is given in these applications.