The State of Tennessee requires every lawn sprinkler system installed in the state to be protected by a certified backflow preventer, backflow vale or backwater valve. These devices are required to protect the quality and safety of the drinking water supply.
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 herbicide) 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 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 chemicals, animal droppings, and other yard debris can contaminate water in an irrigation system, it is considered non-potable. Very strict standards have been set by the TNRCC, (the equivalent of the Environmental Protection Agency) and proper backflow prevention is required on all irrigation systems.
There are various levels of protection required for differing situations. In most parts of Tennessee, 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.
Smart Water Irrigation & Lighting technicians are certified in the state of Tennessee to install, test and/or repair any make and model of backflow prevention device. Each calendar year your device must be tested and must pass, in accordance with your water department codes. Some water departments sub this work out themselves, while others count on residents to make sure their devices are tested and results are submitted in a timely fashion.
If you have questions about the requirements for a backflow preventer in your area, or if would like to set up an appointment to have your backflow device installed, tested and/or repaired, please contact us or call 901-382-8352 today for a consultation.
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