Mark Chandler is an RPZ tester for Arrow Services (RPZ) Limited and one of the first to join WaterSafe as a member when the scheme opened to RPZ testers this year. He tells us what his job entails and about the importance of RPZ valves and testing.
Please tell us about what you do.
I’m an engineer for Arrow Services (RPZ) Limited, a dedicated RPZ Valve testing company, and I carry out testing, servicing and repairs of RPZ Valves throughout England and Wales.
What is an RPZ valve and why are they so important?
An RPZ Valve is a backflow prevention device designed for use where there is deemed by the Water Undertaker to be a Category 4 water risk, which is fluid which represents a significant health hazard because of the concentration of toxic substances.
This can include any fluid which contains chemical, carcinogenic substances or pesticides (including insecticides and herbicides), or environmental organisms of potential health significance (pathogens).
RPZ Valves help to ensure our water systems are kept safe from contamination.
An RPZ Valve consists of two check valves, one is fitted either side of a relief valve, which discharges water to waste. In the event of a drop in pressure or the water going off, both check valves close and the relief valve opens emptying the water from the centre section of the valve, causing an air break in the supply.
What is the difference between a plumber and an RPZ Valve Tester?
An RPZ Valve tester is a specialist who is trained, registered and legally allowed to test an RPZ Valve….a plumber is not.
Please describe a typical day in your working life.
My alarm goes off at 4.30am! Then a drive of anything from 10 to 300 miles visiting a wide variety of sites from schools to football stadiums, care homes to TV/film studios, hospitals to swimming pools and many more, all with a smile on my face.
What’s the best bit of the job for you?
Meeting people, customer satisfaction and solving any problems our clients have with their RPZ Valves.
Can you bust a popular myth about RPZ Valve Testers?
That you can get away with not testing them! Testing at least annually is needed to help ensure that our water is safe from contamination whilst also being required by the water undertakers.
Do you have any advice for young people entering the industry?
RPZ Valve testing is an interesting job where testers can be out and about all over the country meeting a wide range of people and visiting a host of fascinating sites while getting to work hands on with this excellent and essential piece of kit. Also, come and work for Arrow Services!
What do you think about WaterSafe now accepting RPZ Valve Testers as members?
It’s very important for RPZ Valve Testers to be recognised and for customers to have the assurance they are WaterSafe members.
What does being a member of WaterSafe mean to you?
It gives us recognition within the industry and makes people more aware of the need for RPZ Valve testing.
What are your plans for the future?
After so many years testing, servicing and repairing RPZ Valves of all different makes and designs, to put all that knowledge to use and design my own.
Anything you’d like to add?
If you’re a tester, make sure you know the AIM (Approved Installation Method) back to front and that you’re working with the water undertakers to keep up with how they interpret the AIM.
Name three qualities that make a great RPZ Valve Tester. Knowledge, punctuality and being cheerful!
Best way to unwind after a hard day’s work? Time with family and a pint.
Tea or coffee? Coffee.
Fish and chips or curry? Chips with curry sauce!
Plastic pipe or copper pipe? Copper – we always seem to be finding filings of plastic pipe in the strainers and RPZ valves!
Early bird or night owl? Early bird.
Twitter or Facebook? Facebook.
Self-employed or part of a team? Part of a team.
Pipework or paperwork? Pipework…paperwork is the boss’s job!
Pipe wrench vs spanner? Spanner.