In Texas, every home with an irrigation system is required to have a backflow prevention assembly (BPA) to eliminate the risk of contaminating the water supply. BPAs are commonly referred to as a double check valve, or double check assembly (DCA).
Double Check Valves
The double check valve acts as a barrier between your irrigation and the City water source. The void space between connections prevents backflow contamination if water pressure is suddenly reduced.
Texas Regulations for Irrigation Systems
There are currently no regulations requiring homeowners to have their double check tested periodically. However, businesses in Texas are required to have their BPAs tested on a yearly basis, and we predict that similar regulations will affect homeowners very soon.
For more information see TCEQ’s regulations for irrigation systems.
The Million Dollar Question
Lee Engineering asked ten Dallas – Fort Worth homeowners, “When was the last time you had your backflow prevention device tested?”
9 out of 10 homeowners had no idea they had a backflow prevention device
With so few homeowners understanding the importance of backflow prevention, it is no wonder that there are hundreds of documented cases of illness, injury, and even death resulting from backflow of hazardous substances:
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Backflow?
The undesirable reversal of contaminants into your potable water system.
How does backflow contamination occur in sprinkler systems?
Reduction in water pressure from a burst pipe or an unexpectedly high demand on the water system (for example, when a fire hydrant is opened nearby) may allow contaminated water from the soil to be drawn into the system.
Typical hazards posed by an irrigation system include:
- Parasites, insect larvae, pathogens living in the water of the irrigation system
- Exposure of the sprinkler heads to fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides in the yard
- Exposure of the sprinkler heads to fecal material from animals living on the site
- Direct connection of chemical additives to the irrigation system
- Connection of alternative water sources (creeks, lakes, private wells, stock tanks, etc.)
How can I prevent backflow?
Have a Licensed Irrigator inspect your system to make sure that your irrigation system has a backflow prevention assembly, and that it is clean and dry. The average life of a well maintained BPA is 10-18 years. If your system is older than that, have your double check tested as soon as possible.
Why do double check valves need to be tested periodically?
They have internal seals, springs, and moving parts that are subject to wear and tear. It is important to have your BPA tested to ensure that your drinking water is not at risk for contamination.
Tips for Homeowners
- Make sure that anyone who repairs or installs your irrigation system is a Licensed Irrigator.
- Keep your double check clean and dry to reduce wear and tear.
- Reroute drainage away from the double check to prevent water accumulation.
- Have a Licensed Irrigator inspect your double check valve yearly to verify proper functioning.
To have a Licensed Irrigator from Lee Engineering inspect your backflow prevention assembly, call 817-277-6022 or email firstname.lastname@example.org