If your home or property has a lawn sprinkler system – also known as an irrigation system – you are responsible for having your backflow preventer inspected every year. Backflow inspection and testing helps keep the community’s drinking water safe and is required annually.
A backflow preventer is a device that’s installed on your home’s water pipes to keep contaminants, like chemicals from yard sprays or bacteria from animal droppings, out of the water supply. Residential backflow preventers may be found on lawn irrigation systems, wet fire protection systems, hot water heating (boiler) systems, swimming pools, water features, etc.
If you have any of the items listed above, it is tied into the City’s water system, which creates a cross connection. A backflow preventer is required to prevent cross connection and keep contaminants out of the public water main. The installation and annual testing of backflow devices are required by the City of Evansville and the State of Indiana.
EWSU works in partnership with Aqua Backflow to implement and oversee the cross connection program, including backflow testing. You, as the property owner, are responsible for these steps every year:
Failure to have your backflow preventer inspected annually is a violation of federal, state and local regulations – and may result in fines.
For questions about the Cross Connection Control Program, including installing, testing and repairing backflow preventers, please contact EWSU Regulatory Compliance at 812-436-7015.
Backflow preventers may not be required on swimming pools that are filled from a water hose. However, filling a swimming pool with the water hose 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.
If your backflow preventer is outside, you need to prepare it for winter temperatures before the first frost. EWSU recommends hiring a plumbing professional to winterize your irrigation system. If that is not possible, there are a few easy steps homeowners should take to prevent the backflow device from freezing.
If you are unable to disconnect the backflow preventer, and after the water has been removed, it is recommended that you cover the device with a thick blanket, towels, or similar material. Insulation and heat tape may be used, but alone they do not provide sufficient protection from extreme cold during winter months.
If you are disconnecting your lawn irrigation system, first decide if the removal is temporary or permanent. Temporary disconnections involve removing the backflow preventer and leaving much of the surrounding piping in place to make re-installation easier. If the removal is permanent, you should remove much of the surrounding system piping.
Once you have disconnected your lawn irrigation system, please call Customer Service at 812-436-7015 to confirm removal.