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                        Replacing Backflow Preventers can cost about $1,500 to $2,500
   Don't let this type of vandalism happen to you. Backflow Preverter Theft - Be Protected, Use The Ultimate Tuff Cage
     Backflow Preventer Thefts Costing Businesses Thousands                     

                      By JIM TOSTADO
, BOMA San Diego            

 Recently there has been a rash of commercial irrigation and domestic water backflow preventers
       stolen for their scrap metal. While the scrap metal value for the brass and copper contained within these fittings is only about $250,
       brazen thieves are making short work of stealing as many as they can, sometimes twice from the same properties. Backflow
       preventers are easily recognized, usually placed above ground along the street frontage for most commercial properties. The U-
       shaped pipe acts as a valve to prevent irrigation or other water from backflowing" into the potable water source for the building. Most
       jurisdictions in 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 open connection. BOMA is
       working with local authorities and the recycling/scrap metal industry to stem the tide of these thefts. BOMA has already met with the
       local waste industry association to brainstorm ways to notify the public about these thefts in an effort to prevent them in the future.
          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 request)
                    * 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!    water

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