Backflow Preventer Theft

backflow-2Tips from Police Department Can Help Stop Backflow Preventer Theft Recently, there have been a few thefts and vandalism of commercial and domestic backflow preventers, presumably for their scrap metal. While the scrap metal value for the brass and copper contained is about $250, replacing them can cost as much as $3,000 to $6,000. In addition, their removal will interrupt water service for the property and may also lead to significant water damage to the structure.While there is no perfect solution to eliminate the theft of the units, the following actions are recommended by the Wheaton Police Department:Enclose the backflow valve within a protective cage.The cage should be secured or mounted to the ground.Have the cage spot-welded to the bolts to prevent its removal.Stamp, label or identify the metal with a recognizable code.Paint the units with brightly colored paint.Post a visible warning sign stating, “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 from the backflow.  This will make the unit less visible while still allowing for maintenance access if needed.Inform onsite building management, security or other staff to keep an eye out for thieves.  Inform tenants to contact 9-1-1 if they see something suspicious near these valves.backflow-1