New Law in Texas Affecting Irrigators - Have you heard?

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by saysay, Jan 17, 2008.

  1. saysay

    saysay LawnSite Member
    Posts: 6

    HB1656, a bill mandating all cities with populations of 20,000 or more to regulate irrigators and irrigation systems, was signed into Texas law January 2008. The new law, which goes into effect January 2009, proposes that each municipality creates an ordinance that monitors the efficiency all irrigation installations by (a) requiring that each installation is supervised by a licensed individual and (b) enforcing that all irrigation installations be inspected and approved upon completion by a licensed irrigation inspector (from the municipality or associated water district).

    Also, the irrigation installer licensed will be phased out to become the irrigation technician license.

    What do you think?
     
  2. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 47,992

    Since I don't work in Texas, I'll just watch from the sidelines, and wonder if they'll ever get around to requiring toxic-rated backflow.
     
  3. hoskm01

    hoskm01 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,690

    I like it.
     
  4. Bruiser

    Bruiser LawnSite Member
    Posts: 73

    Here's a summary of all of the proposed changes.

    Changes required by state statute: Yes.
    HB 1656 requires a new type of license, an irrigation inspector. The proposed rulemaking would:
    •
    address the duties and responsibilities of irrigation inspectors;
    •
    require the inspection of the connection of a landscape irrigation system to the water source and the work performed by the irrigator;
    •
    require verification of compliance with the approved design plan; and
    •
    prohibit the inspection of: (1) on-site sewage systems, (2) agricultural irrigation systems, and (3) irrigation systems connected to a groundwater well and used by the property owner for domestic use.
    HB 4 and SB 3 require the adoption of rules related to the duties and responsibilities of licensed irrigators. The proposed rule would:
    •
    require a valid irrigator’s license and seal before engaging in irrigation activities;
    •
    establish that an irrigator is responsible for the work performed using his license;
    Commissioners
    Page 3
    December 28, 2007
    Re: Docket No. 2007-1285-RUL
    •
    clarify that irrigators are accountable to provide proof of licensure when requested by a regulatory authority with jurisdiction over landscape irrigation issues or a potential customer;
    •
    establish that an “irrigator-in-charge” may work in that capacity for only one entity, but may work at other entities as an irrigator;
    •
    establish dates that phase out the installer license;
    •
    add an irrigation technician license that would allow a licensee to supervise the installation, repair, maintenance, alteration, or service of an irrigation system under the direction of a licensed irrigator and would replace the installer license effective January 1, 2010;
    •
    require that irrigation records be maintained for a period of three years and made available to regulatory authorities within two business days of a request;
    •
    require irrigators to accept responsibility for documents that are sealed and specifies which
    documents that require a seal;
    •
    require that license numbers be displayed on both sides of trailers and vehicles used in irrigation activities;
    •
    require written contracts, a written invoice for repair work, and a written warranty for the
    installation, maintenance, alteration, repair or service work on an irrigation system;
    •
    require a maintenance checklist be completed for each job and provided to the irrigation system’s owner or owner’s representative;
    •
    require the irrigator to conduct a final walk through with the irrigation system’s owner or owner’s representative upon completion of the irrigation system, and to explain to that person how the irrigation system operates;
    •
    require the irrigator to provide a statement to the irrigation system’s owner or owner’s representative that the irrigation system has been installed to meet all laws, regulations, and requirements;
    •
    require the irrigator to attach a permanent sticker to the controller that contains contact information for the irrigator and the dates the warranty is valid;
    •
    require the irrigator to provide a copy of the irrigation plan showing the actual placement of the irrigation system to the irrigation system’s owner or owner’s representative;
    •
    require exempt irrigation service business owners to employ an irrigator to perform all irrigation services; and
    •
    add “selling, installing, maintaining, altering, repairing, servicing or inspecting” to the list of prohibited false, misleading or deceptive practices related to irrigation services.
    HB 4 and SB 3 require rules that address the design, installation, and operation of irrigation systems. The proposed rule would:
    •
    set installation standards for backflow prevention devices, reclaimed water, and irrigation systems;
    •
    address cross contamination from the non-potable water in the irrigation system and the potable water supply;
    •
    require the irrigator to provide an irrigation plan that includes a design drawn to scale, and to maintain the plan on site at all times during the installation of the irrigation system;
    •
    require new irrigation systems to be designed and installed to meet the manufacturer’s published standards for spacing of emission devices;
    •
    establish that irrigation system components could not be used in a method that exceeds the manufacturer’s published standards;
    •
    require separate irrigation zones based on factors such as plant type, soil type and other factors and that all emission devices located in the same irrigation zone have a matched precipitation rate;
    Commissioners
    Page 4
    December 28, 2007
    Re: Docket No. 2007-1285-RUL
    •
    require that irrigation systems be designed to not spray water over impervious surfaces such as sidewalks or driveways;
    •
    require rain or moisture sensors (or other technology) that will automatically shut off the irrigation system when sufficient moisture is detected;
    •
    require the installation of an isolation valve to manually shut off the water flow to an irrigation system;
    •
    set standards for the depth and type of fill material used to cover pipes and electrical wiring in the irrigation systems;
    •
    set standards for water outlets that are connected to an irrigation system;
    •
    beginning January 1, 2010, require that either an irrigator or irrigation technician must be on site at all times during the installation of the irrigation system.
    The proposed rule adds definitions to better explain the duties and responsibilities of licensees, and the requirements for the design, installation, and operation of irrigation systems.
    Staff recommendations that are not expressly required by federal rule or state statute:
    •
    Correct citations, cross-references, grammar, and agency name.
    •
    Make language relating to the Irrigator Advisory Council consistent with 30 TAC Chapter 5, Advisory Committees and Groups.
    •
    Specify that unauthorized use of a license is a violation of the Texas Water Code (TWC).
    •
    Include all “irrigation” related requirements in one chapter in response to requests from irrigators.
    •
    Repeal 30 TAC, Chapter 344 in its entirety and propose a new Chapter 344.
    •
    A requirement for a shut off valve was added.
    •
    A requirement to have a master valve was modified to not require the master valve on all irrigation systems. If a master valve is used, the master valve must be located on the discharge side of the backflow prevention device to allow for accurate testing.
    •
    A requirement for a scaled drawing as part of the irrigation plan was added.
    •
    A requirement allowing electronic seals and signatures was added.
    •
    A requirement that an irrigator not engage in irrigation services until the irrigator possesses a license and seal was added.
    •
    Definitions were added to respond to stakeholder concerns/suggestions.
    •
    A requirement to use flow control emission devices and valves was removed and a performance standard relating to water pressure in the irrigation system was added.
     
  5. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 22,062

    I like it a lot, tho, as posted, are there plan reviews & inspections before it gets
    signed off & is there a cross-connection software the purveyor is using to insure
    yearly testing..or six months in high hazard?
     
  6. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 47,992

    Is there a similar requirement for landscapers? Moving a tree over there? Not without filing a change order with the Landscaping Bureau, followed by a rewrite of the irrigation plan. (ka-ching!!)

    Still has all the potential for a cluster.
     
  7. jimmyburg

    jimmyburg LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 701

    Yes, there are some cities that require year round testing. and the software they use in fort worth is XC2
     
  8. jimmyburg

    jimmyburg LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 701

    Yes, there are cities that require you to replace one with one you take it out or move.
     
  9. jimmyburg

    jimmyburg LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 701

    they are going to have a public meeting on feb 26 in austin. remember this is a proposed rules, not the final draft.
     
  10. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 47,992

    No, you miss my point. I deal with a lot of landscaping that is done on the fly, so to speak, and not by detailed plan. The irrigation comes afterwards, and has to fit the landscaping. Folders filled with paperwork don't get the job done.

    Another potential problem with all this is that there isn't any real knowledge base in Texas (or most any state) government about what's correct and proper as far as irrigation design goes. Require head-to-head spacing? Easy to say, but the real world has a different opinion, since landscaping isn't always laid out in ways that make it necessary, or even advisable.
     

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