Backflow Preventers can cost about $1,500 to $2,500
Backflow Preventer Thefts Costing Businesses Thousands
By JIM TOSTADO, BOMA San Diego
there has been a rash of commercial irrigation and domestic water
stolen for their
scrap metal. While the
scrap metal value for the brass and copper contained within these fittings is only
brazen thieves are making short
work of stealing as many as they can,
sometimes twice from the same properties.
preventers are easily recognized, usually placed above ground
along the street frontage for most commercial
properties. The U-
pipe acts as a valve to prevent irrigation or other water from backflowing"
into the potable water source for the building. Most
the county have mandated the use of these valves in commercial
buildings. The thieves drive up, sometimes dressed in
orange vests to
look like city employees, take a saw and cut the
valve off at the
pipes. The whole process can take less than two
minutes. These thefts have occurred in broad daylight
and also have happened at
prominent and visible locations. Replacing these
backflows can cost as
much as $3,000 to $6,000. Their removal by thieves will also interrupt
water service for your property and
tenants as well as the possible
water damage created from the water running uncontrolled through the
working with local authorities and the recycling/scrap metal
stem the tide of these thefts. BOMA has already met with
local waste industry association to brainstorm ways to notify the
public about these thefts in an effort to prevent them in the future.
TO PROTECT YOUR BACKFLOW INVESTMENT:
Although there is no perfect solution to eliminate the theft of the
units, and, in fact, those who have taken the
measures outlined below
have still experienced the loss of the valves, the following actions
are being recommended
by law enforcement, landscapers and plumbers:
* Enclose your backflow valve(s) with a protective cage (if you haven't already). UTC
is an Excellent choice.
* Secure it with a non-tamperproof lock (a breakaway lock is easily
opened and not recommended).
In case of emergency, your maintenance
crew should have a copy of the lock's key.
(Ultimate Tuff Cage™
provides keys free of charge and can key all your locks alike upon
* The cage should be securely mounted to the ground.
* Have the cage spot-welded to the bolts to prevent its removal.
* Stamp, label or identify the backflow metal with a recognizable code or name
of your own.
* Post a visible warning sign with something to the effect of:
"Theft and damage to this unit will be prosecuted
to the fullest
extent of the law."
* Camouflage the unit by planting screening landscape a foot or so
from the backflow cage. This will make
the unit less visible while still
allowing for maintenance access if needed.
* Inform your onsite building
management, security or other staff of
the problem and make sure they keep an eye out for thieves. It's also
a good idea to inform tenants so they can contact you should they
see something suspicious near these valves.
We aim for "Quality and
Protection" at a great price!
An Environmentally Responsible Business