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Tuesday, July 1st 2014, 12:46pm

Well, while we're still on this topic...

I appreciate your advice about tightening regs down the road, but I think I'll just deal with it at that time if it ever comes. Unless I'm missing something, I see really zero sense in my using "proper" backflow protection if I know for a fact that nobody else using the system has it. Why spend that money if it is vastly more likely the contamination will come from someone else?

I fully understand that the United States has determined this device is insufficient for the purpose of backflow prevention, but at the same time 100% of the communities in my region of Canada (at least those which publish regulations online) either accept, recommend, or require the use of a dual check valve for "residential irrigation". To date, I don't know of any events of contamination ever happening. Unfortunately, I think that means they're taking the "well let's stick our heads in the sand until it happens" approach, which is just stupid. But it is what it is. What is really stupid is that there's no definition of "residential irrigation". Surely a homeowner could figure it might be a good idea to put a fertilizer injection system on their "residential irrigation" line, right? And the code makes no mention of a higher standard of backflow for this situation, but clearly it would be a bad idea to depend on a dual check valve in that situation. And they know this because when I spoke with the city engineer, she did as me "you're not intending to fertilize with your system are you?". But what if I was and it didn't occur to me to do all this research? I mean, it would be perfectly reasonable to expect a home owner to see the "dual check valve for residential irrigation" and not look into it any further.

The whole thing kinda makes me sick... figuratively speaking (hopefully I don't get sick literally from it down the road).


Supreme Member

Posts: 4,027

Location: Metro NYC


Wednesday, July 2nd 2014, 9:58am

Playing the odds is something the various US regional plumbing codes have dispensed with, and they are correct to do so. Those codes basically declare the entire outdoors to be toxic, and require that it has no possible avenue of entry into a potable water supply. Since toxic backflow is prevented only by those devices rated to do so, that disallows a "dual check" device to serve as sprinkler system backflow protection, as it is rated as effective only against non-toxic backflow.

This "toxic backflow" designation might seem extreme to some people, but employing it creates genuine water-supply protection, and does so in a way that does not require constant vigilance, while also making it possible to confirm that the devices operate correctly (the "dual check" is a piece of brass with a label stuck on it, and you have absolutely no idea whether it functions or not - rest assured the manufacturers did not guarantee it would work perfectly forever and ever)


Supreme Member

Posts: 412

Location: Houston, Texas


Saturday, July 5th 2014, 3:55pm

I respect both sides of this argument.
If I am the only one in the city practicing safe water protection, what is the point. This is a system fail.
For good information and pictures of why backflow devices

I appreciate that you already have done substantial research.

The frustrating part for me is that in one region irrigation backflow can be a low hazard device (double check below grade).
In other regions it must be a high hazard device (PVB or RP).

I am happy to be involved in the water quality field. I began my adventure as a Sprinkler Contractor.
:thumbup: :thumbsup:

This post has been edited 1 times, last edit by "hi.todd" (Jul 5th 2014, 4:02pm)


Supreme Member

Posts: 4,027

Location: Metro NYC


Sunday, July 6th 2014, 8:59am

The choice of contractors installing toxic-rated backflow protection is the PVB, located at a height that is at least a foot above anything downstream of it. It would be worth the expense to install, because even a humble single-family home can become the target of a "backflow event", and a PVB at the correct elevation is trustworthy protection. It works on gravity, and gravity is generally considered to be in good working order at all times. I like the Wilkins 720, for its durable construction.

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