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Backflow Preventer Assembly and Cage
Backflow Preventer Assembly and Cage -
Metal, Brass and Copper Theft
Skyrocketing prices for metals, especially copper, has turned copper theft into a major probelm costing over $1 billion per year according to the US Department of Energy.  

Backflow assemblies, pipes, and water meter lids are being stolen, ripped from buildings, homeowners and homeowner association properties.  In some cases backflow assemblies have been stolen from apartment buildings leaving tenants without water until repairs can be made. 

A Backflow Prevention Assembly is required to protect the public from contamination or pollution.  The assemblies are locked in cages but even that does not seem to be a deterrent.  The backflow preventers weigh 20 to 30 pounds, and are made from either copper or brass and depending on their size, material, and design, cost anywhere from $200 to $1,800. 

Thieves are sawing off locks, removing backflow assemblies and taking them to a metal recycler for quick cash. 

One way to deter the theft is to spray paint the assembly according to code as light tan or color to match the building or screen wall.  Be careful not to paint over the ID tag and serial number.  The paint makes the metal less valuable when melted down and recyclers won't take it.  

The cost to replace and repair the damage is typically much more than what the thieves are getting for the metal not to mention the inconvenience of no water. 

Backflow Preventer Assemblies are critical to preventing contamination of the water supply.  If you see any suspicious activity near or around these devices please contact the police department at (623) 333-7000.