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Lawn Irrigation Systems - Backflow Prevention

All irrigation systems, whether they have been installed for many years or newly installed, should have a backflow preventer installed.

As the name implies, this safety device is installed to prevent the reverse flow of water, which may contain toxic residue from powders or sprays, or bacteria from animal waste from being siphoned into your drinking water system from the sprinkler heads.  This is known as a backflow condition and it may occur any time there is a sudden loss of supply pressure such as a water main break or a large demand placed on the supply system due to fire fighting requirements.  In some instances, this condition can be created within the home.

Acceptable types of backflow preventers for irrigation systems are Pressure Vacuum Breakers, Double Check Valve Assemblies or Reduced Pressure Zone Assemblies. Any other type of valve, such as a check or dual check valve that may be installed on an irrigation system is not acceptable for use. The acceptable backflow preventers listed are testable devices.  The CSA Standard on maintenance and field testing of backflow devices requires that these devices be tested annually by a person certified as a tester of backflow prevention devices, this can include plumbers or possibly your irrigation contractor.  The Peterborough Utilities Commission recommends that you have the annual test performed, ideally in the spring when your system is reactivated.  This is the only way to ensure that the device is functioning properly.  Please be aware that you should not operate any irrigation system without an acceptable type and properly operating backflow preventer.

 For more information please contact:

Dave Young
Cross Connection Control Officer
Phone (705) 748-9301 extension 1349
Fax (705) 748-0120