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Small steps in lawn irrigation systems can prevent big problems

Nov. 1, 2018 - Protect the water supply and save money by preventing backflow.

Backflow prevention can be a big concern for Texas water systems. Backflow is when water travels the opposite direction than intended, back into the water system through spigots, faucets, or irrigation systems. It allows water to bring contaminants with it, like pesticides, herbicides, animal feces, mud, and even automotive fluids.

Several public water systems have received notices of violation and have paid penalties as a result of failing to prevent backflow into their public water supplies.

For homeowners, backflow from outside faucets and irrigation systems can be easily avoided. The first thing to do is to install a hose bibb vacuum breaker on all outdoor water spigots. This is a small valve that can be attached to the end of the spigot that keeps water from returning back into the supply pipes in your house in the event there is a drop in pressure.

For those with irrigation systems, the requirement to install a backflow prevention system ensures that pesticides, herbicides, and animal fecal matter do not make their way into the water system.

One reason a backflow prevention valve is crucial for irrigation systems is that parts can freeze and break over the winter. Not only do pipe breaks waste water, but when the homeowner turns on the system in spring, the valve will fail to prevent backflow.

The video below from Take Care of Texas provides instructions on how to properly prepare your irrigation system for winter. More information on backflow prevention is available on the TCEQ website. When irrigation systems, along with their backflow preventers, are functioning properly, you’ll save water and help keep the water supply safe.