Break Tank Case Study


As Houston and surrounding areas continue to be developed, building guidelines and safety requirements have grown as well. Throughout Harris County, all buildings that require a fire or domestic water pump necessitate the installation of a break tank. A break tank disrupts or “breaks” the connection to the water source and is a non-pressurized, closed water tank, with an air gap to guarantee zero backflow and prevent contamination in the water supply. Rather than having a direct city supply line to the pump, the break tank is fitted between the municipal supply and the building’s pump to ensure that a building’s mechanical equipment will never cause a vacuum on municipal infrastructure.  These break tanks also ensure that the equipment that feeds off them has a constant, predictable suction pressure with little to no variation.

As urban sprawl and relocation take over in areas with aging infrastructure, break tanks and stored water solutions are and will become more and more common.

With over 18 years of industry experience, 3rd Coast Pump and Equipment owner Steven Olenicki opened his business as a need arose in the Texas Gulf Coast region to give construction and service contractors a resource that predominantly concentrates on supplying various plumbing, HVAC and fire equipment found in mid to high-rise structures. 3rd Coast Pump and Equipment specializes in the distribution of this equipment, specifically domestic water booster systems, dewatering systems, fire pumps, HVAC, and all other mechanical systems found in buildings. 3rd Coast Pump and Equipment also provides various custom electrical controls for these systems.

Break Tanks Installed for Fire or Domestic Water Pumps

According to the National Fire Protection Association, “break tanks are to be used as either a backflow prevention device between the city water supply and the fire pump suction; to eliminate pressure fluctuations in the city water supply and provide a steady suction pressure to the fire pump; and/or to augment the city water supply when the volume of water available from the city is inadequate for the fire protection demand.” Cities cannot keep a steady supply of pressure into the equipment and a break tank is a fool-proof backflow prevention device that also controls a void being put on their supply lines. Break tanks also satisfy the NFPA requirement “very tall” buildings over a certain height maintain an adequate supply of water stored on upper floors.

With the use of a break tank, there must to be a reliable means of automatic refilling, which is why 3rd Coast Pump and Equipment turned to OCV Control Valves, a leader in the control valve industry. 3rd Coast Pump and Equipment Owner Steven Olenicki was familiar with OCV Control Valves after seeing their valves throughout buildings in other cities and markets and knew of the company’s dependability and experience. “Personally, having 18 years of verifiable field experience, OCV is very easy to work with”, said Olenicki, “They have knowledgeable tech support, their sales team is exceptional, and there have been no hiccups with lead times. Everyone I talk to at OCV knows the valves and knows the equipment they are selling.”

American Made and Flawless Operations

After working with the knowledgeable engineers at OCV Control Valves, the decision was made with 3rd Coast Pump and Equipment to offer other OCV products including, non-modulating float valves, solenoid control valves and more. “They work great and repeat their operation flawlessly. My customers are pleased with how quickly these valves set up and very happy to be buying an American made product,” says Olenicki.

OCV’s products are above and beyond the competition.  By sourcing American made materials, controlling the casting process in the USA, and performing in-house machining, OCV continues to produce reliable and efficient valves.