Backflow Prevention Devices:
The State of Texas requires every lawn sprinkler system installed
in the State to be
protected by a
certified backflow prevention device. These devices are required to
protect the quality and safety of the drinking water supply.
What is Backflow and Why Should It Be Prevented?
Backflow is defined as the undesirable reversal of flow in a
potable water distribution system as a result of a pressure
differential or siphon condition that exists between two piping
systems. Backflow is a problem where there is a desire to keep
fluids from one piping system from re-entering another piping
system as in the case of a cross-connection.
A cross connection is a connection (such as a lawn irrigation
system) or potential connection (such as a garden hose) between any
part of a potable water system and any other environment containing
other substances (such as a lawn or a container of
in a manner
that under any circumstances, would allow such substances to enter
the potable water system. (other examples of common
cross-connections include water supplies to heating boilers and
hoses feeding utility sinks)
In other words, water that goes out a faucet, sprinkler head, or
emitter should never be allowed to be drawn back into the potable
water system by siphon, pressure loss, or any other means.
The backflow prevention device is used to keep water that passes
through it, and into the irrigation system, from coming back into
the water supply. Since water in an irrigation system can be
contaminated by chemicals, animal droppings, and other yard debris,
it is considered non-potable. Very strict standards have been set
by the TNRCC (the equivalent of the Environmental Protection Agency
for the State of Texas) and proper backflow prevention is required
on all irrigation systems.
What Type of Backflow Protection is Required?
There are various levels of protection required for differing
situations. In most parts of Texas, a lawn irrigation system is
considered a moderate cross connection hazard to the water supply.
Adding chemicals, such as fertilizers or herbicides, within the
sprinkler lines is considered a high hazard cross connection.
Septic systems are also considered a high hazard cross
moderate hazard and high hazard situations each call for a
different device. The backflow prevention device chosen for a
system must take into consideration the highest threat possible to
the potable water supply that the system will encounter. Your local
water authority can provide information on the back flow device
required in your area.
What About Yearly Re-certification?
Many water purveyors require yearly re-certification of the proper
operation of the backflow device. See your irrigation contractor if
you are notified that you need to have your existing device tested
If you are planning to install a sprinkler system, give us a call.
We can assure you that we will be committed to installing a system
that will save you water and provide your landscape with just the
right amount of water that it needs to thrive. Give us a call today
or fill out our online
for an appointment. We service the entire Houston
metropolitan area as well as San Antonio, Austin and Dallas. Become
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