As the summer season approaches, people will begin filling swimming pools and activating lawn sprinklers. But there are some important things you should know and do to protect our public drinking water.
If a lawn sprinkler or irrigation system is connected to the municipal water system, state and local regulations require them to have a backflow preventer that must be inspected and tested every year upon startup or when the backflow preventer is re-installed every season.
A backflow preventer is a device that protects the drinking water supply from any connection between the drinking water supply and non-drinking water sources, which is called a cross-connection. The backflow preventer works by preventing the reverse flow of non-drinkable water, therefore keeping contaminants from infiltrating the public water system.
Backflow preventers are mandatory on connections to manufacturing processes, industrial, commercial establishments, fire sprinklers, and lawn irrigation systems.
Backflow preventers may not be required on swimming pools that are filled from a water hose. However, a cross-connection can occur if the hose is not used properly. For example, filling a swimming pool with the water house submerged creates a cross-connection that could allow non-drinkable water into the public drinking water system. The correct way to fill a pool with a water hose is to keep the hose above the waterline creating an air gap.