Irrigation Systems

All irrigation systems, new or existing, MUST BE EQUIPPED with an approved backflow prevention assembly. Having an on-site sewage facility (conventional or aerobic) causes sprinkler systems to be a health hazard; therefore, TCEQ implemented this new rule in 2009 for irrigation systems to have an above ground REDUCED PRESSURE ZONE ASSEMBLY (RPZ) backflow preventer if it was installed after 2009[30 TAC 344.51(d)]


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If an irrigation system is connected to a potable water supply and requires major maintenance, alteration, repair, or service, the system must be connected to the potable water supply through an approved, properly installed backflow prevention method as defined in this title before any major maintenance, alteration, repair, or service is performed. [30 TAC 344.52(a)]

If your irrigation system was installed prior to 2009, a double-check valve assembly or pressure vacuum breaker is adequate, however you will still need to have it tested by a licensed backflow prevention assembly tester annually. If it passes inspection LSUD will need the original test on file and the annual test report. However, if your sprinkler system fails the inspection as a result you will need to have an RPZ installed.

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344.50. Backflow Prevention Methods

(b) If conditions that present a health hazard exist, one of the following types of backflow prevention shall be used.

(2) Reduced pressure principal backflow prevention assemblies may be used if installed per subsection (a) of this section and:

(A) the assembly is installed at a minimum of 12 inches above ground in a location that will ensure that the assembly will not be submerged; and

(B) drainage is provided for any water that may be discharged through the relief valve.

(e) At a minimum, all backflow prevention assemblies shall be tested by a licensed backflow prevention assembly tester upon installation, repair, replacement, or relocation. Those backflow prevention assemblies used in irrigation systems designated as health hazards shall be tested annually.

344.51. Specific Conditions and Cross-Connection Control

(d) If an irrigation system is designed or installed on a property that is served by an on-site sewage facility,

(1) all irrigation piping and valves shall meet the separation distances from the On-Site Sewage Facilities system as required for a private water line in §285.91(10) of this title (relating to Tables), concerning the minimum required separation distances for on-site sewage facilities

(2) the irrigation system is designated a health hazard and any connections using a private or public potable water source shall be connected to the water source through a reduced pressure principle backflow prevention assembly as defined in §344.50 of this title (relating to Backflow Prevention Methods); and

(3) any water from the irrigation system that is applied to the surface of the area utilized by the On-Site Sewage Facility system shall be controlled on a separate irrigation zone or zones so as to allow complete control of any irrigation to that area so that there will not be excess water that would prevent the On-Site Sewage Facilities system from operating effectively.

344.52. Installation of Backflow Prevention Assembly

(c) The irrigator shall ensure the backflow prevention assembly is tested prior to being placed in service and the test results provided to the local water purveyor within ten business days of testing the backflow prevention assembly.