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Backflow Regulations in Georgia

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Southern Sky, Dec 23, 2006.

  1. Southern Sky

    Southern Sky LawnSite Member
    from Georgia
    Messages: 13

    Hello guys, this is my first post on this website, however, I have been a longtime reader. I read most of the posts on the irrigation forum and find that most of you guys have a tremendous amount insight.

    Just to give you some background on me: I am not an irrigation expert by any means, but I did work on an installation crew for one of Atlanta's large irrigation companies during the summer for 7 years when I was in High School and College. I am no longer in the irrigation business, but I enjoy helping neighbors and friends do small irrigation repairs/rehabs/installations the appropriate way.

    My question is related to back-flow prevention regulations in Georgia. My understanding is that the International Plumbing Code requires that the potable water supply to lawn irrigation systems shall be protected against back-flow by an atmospheric vacuum breaker, a pressure-type vacuum breaker, a reduced pressure principle back-flow preventer and (as of a few years ago) a double check back-flow prevention assembly. The Georgia Plumbing Code basically mirrors the same principles:

    608.16.5 Connections to lawn irrigation systems: The potable water supply to lawn irrigation systems shall be protected against back-flow by an atmospheric-type vacuum breaker, a pressure-type vacuum breaker, a double-check back-flow prevention assembly or a reduced pressure principle back-flow preventer. A valve shall not be installed downstream from an atmospheric vacuum breaker. Where interconnected chemical dispensers are used in conjunction with lawn irrigation systems, the potable water supply shall be protected against back-flow by a reduced pressure principle back-flow preventer.

    All of the residential irrigation system installations that I have seen done in the Metro Atlanta area (for a number of years) have all been installed using a "Dual Check Valve", which seems to be much different than the minimum standard of a Double Check Valve Assembly. As a matter of fact, I have never seen even a Double Check Valve Assembly installed on a residential job in the State of Georgia, much less any of the other back-flow types.

    For those of you in the State of Georgia: have you seen the "Dual Check Valve" installations? How do Companies get away with this?

    Sorry for the long post, but I appreciate your responses.
  2. aquamtic

    aquamtic LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 303

    I'm not from Georgia but the philosphy from all of us that take and follow the backflow laws seriously say: Dont go by what you see other guys doing, go by what the local code requires. What you see in place might of been installed years ago before code was enforced on backflow prevention or that other guy was more interstested in saving a few bucks and possibly killing someone. The American backflow Prevention Association categorized irrigation as a "High Hazard" potential for backflow. A Double Check or Dual Check is made for low hazard situations.

    Here in Rhode Island we are required to install a PVB or a RPZ device on irrigation.

    Do follow your local codes!
  3. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,571

    Every state is different, but I kind of doubt that there is any regional plumbing code that still specifies the use of a double-check-valve-assembly for lawn sprinklers. (codes are more likely to become regional, or even national, than the other way around) Dual-Checks were probably never rated for lawn sprinkler use. They meet an entirely different ASSE standard, and are more of a 'just in case' device, and not a true lawn-sprinkler backflow protector.

    If you want to best cover your tail, you'd stick to PVBs (when their elevation requirement can be met) and RPZs - if a local inspector gave any grief about these choices, you could point to these being the only toxic-rated devices designed to be under pressure 24/7 - it's always okay to exceed local standards, but sometimes it might be a struggle, if local authorities are living in the past.

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