top of page

Backflow Devices

Your irrigation system is a vital component of your lawn’s health. However, they can back flow and result in contaminated water entering into your home’s supply of drinking water if a back flow preventer is not installed.

Why Do I Have To Install a RPZ?

Here in the Texas Panhandle any time you have a septic system (OSSF) installed on your property a RPZ is required. This law was established in 2009 and a lot of local irrigators were not aware the law existed. This is why you will not see these installed on many homes. In 2019 the Texas Panhandle Irrigation Association asked the TCEQ to speak at our annual CEU event and they informed us of the change. From then on Amarillo Land Services has followed this law in all of our installations and repairs. We know pipes above ground can be unsightly and inconvenient, this is why we always install a R13 back and faux rock to help mitigate this problem. We also design our RPZ assemblies with two unions at ground level so that they can be removed and stored in a warm location during hard freezes. Below is the specific law for the RPZ requirement. Typically when we install a new RPZ they will start at $2000.00

PART 1

TEXAS COMMISSION ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY

CHAPTER 344

LANDSCAPE IRRIGATION

SUBCHAPTER E

BACKFLOW PREVENTION AND CROSS-CONNECTIONS

RULE §344.51

Specific Conditions and Cross-Connection Control

 

(a) Before any chemical is added by any method (aspiration, injection, etc.) to an irrigation system which is connected to any potable water supply, the irrigation system shall be connected through a reduced pressure principle backflow prevention assembly or air gap.

(b) Irrigation system components treated with chemical additives and connected to any potable water supply shall be connected through a reduced pressure principle backflow prevention assembly.

(c) Connection of more than one water source to an irrigation system presents the potential for contamination of the potable water supply if backflow occurs. Therefore, connection of any additional water source to an irrigation system that is connected to the potable water supply can only be made if the irrigation system is connected to the potable water supply through a reduced-pressure principle backflow prevention assembly or an air gap.

(d) If an irrigation system is designed or installed on a property that is served by an on-site sewage facility, as defined in Chapter 285 of this title (relating to On-Site Sewage Facilities), then:

  (1) all irrigation piping and valves shall meet the separation distances from the On-Site Sewage Facilities system as required for a private water line in §285.91(10) of this title (relating to Tables), concerning the minimum required separation distances for on-site sewage facilities;

  (2) the irrigation system is designated a health hazard and any connections using a private or public potable water source shall be connected to the water source through a reduced pressure principle backflow prevention assembly as defined in §344.50 of this title (relating to Backflow Prevention Methods); and

  (3) any water from the irrigation system that is applied to the surface of the area utilized by the On-Site Sewage Facility system shall be controlled on a separate irrigation zone or zones so as to allow complete control of any irrigation to that area so that there will not be excess water that would prevent the On-Site Sewage Facilities system from operating effectively.

International Plumbing Code 2006 608.16.5 Connections to lawn irrigation systems. The potable water supply to lawn irrigation systems shall be protected against backflow by an atmospheric-type vacuum breaker, a pressure-type vacuum breaker or a reduced pressure principle backflow preventer. A valve shall not be installed downstream from an atmospheric vacuum breaker. Where chemicals are introduced into the system, the potable water supply shall be protected against backflow by a reduced pressure principle backflow preventer. 608.16.6 Connections subject to backpressure. Where a potable water connection is made to a nonpotable line, fixture, tank, vat, pump or other equipment subject to back-pressure, the potable water connection shall be protected by a reduced pressure principle backflow preventer.

Why Do I Have To Install a Double Check?

Back flow devices are required by the State of Texas and most municipalities in the Texas Panhandle require a Double Check assembly. Before we open your main line to the atmosphere during a repair we must inspect you have a proper functioning double check. In the event you do not have a properly functioning double check we will stop work and inform you of the current situation and what it will take to bring your system up to code and give you the peace of mind that your drinking water is properly protected from the health hazards of your irrigation system. Typically a newly installed double check starts at $1800.00.

TITLE 30

ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY

PART 1

TEXAS COMMISSION ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY

CHAPTER 344

LANDSCAPE IRRIGATION

SUBCHAPTER E

BACKFLOW PREVENTION AND CROSS-CONNECTIONS

RULE §344.50

Backflow Prevention Methods

 

(a) All backflow prevention assemblies installed per this chapter shall be installed according to manufacturer's recommendations and provided with sufficient clearance to facilitate testing.

(b) If conditions that present a health hazard exist, one of the following types of backflow prevention shall be used.

  (1) An air gap may be used if installed per the definition of air gap in §344.1(1) of this title (relating to Definitions).

  (2) Reduced pressure principle backflow prevention assemblies may be used if installed per subsection (a) of this section and:

    (A) the assembly is installed at a minimum of 12 inches above ground in a location that will ensure that the assembly will not be submerged; and

    (B) drainage is provided for any water that may be discharged through the relief valve.

  (3) Pressure vacuum breakers may be used if installed per subsection (a) of this section and:

    (A) there is no actual or potential for a back-pressure condition; and

    (B) the assembly is installed at a minimum of 12 inches above any downstream piping and the highest downstream opening. Pop-up sprinklers are measured from the retracted position from the top of the sprinkler.

  (4) Spill-resistant pressure vacuum breakers may be used if installed per subsection (a) of this section and:

    (A) there is no actual or potential for a back-pressure condition; and

    (B) the assembly is installed at a minimum of 12 inches above any downstream piping and the highest downstream opening. Pop-up sprinklers are measured from the retracted position from the top of the sprinkler.

(c) If there are no conditions that present a health hazard, double check valve backflow prevention assemblies may be used to prevent backflow if the assembly is tested upon installation and:

  (1) a local regulatory authority does not prohibit the use of a double check valve; and

  (2) test cocks are used for testing only.

(d) Double check valve assemblies installed below ground shall meet the following installation requirements:

  (1) test cocks shall be plugged, except when the double check valve is being tested;

  (2) test cock plugs shall be threaded, water-tight, and made of non-ferrous material; and

  (3) there shall be a clearance all the way around the assembly to allow space for testing and repair.

(e) At a minimum, all backflow prevention assemblies shall be tested by a licensed backflow prevention assembly tester upon installation, repair, replacement, or relocation. Those backflow prevention assemblies used in irrigation systems designated as health hazards shall be tested annually.

bottom of page