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Did You Know...


Q: How would a backflow issue occur with a lawn irrigation system? 

A: A backflow issue exists if a lawn irrigation sprinkler malfunctions and a city water main breaks at the 
same time. When the water pressure drops, it creates a vacuum that sucks some water, which may be 
contaminated, into the city water supply. An example of this situation would be if a homeowner found 
worms, along with rust, and other debris in his bathtub when he filled the tub. These contaminants came 
into the water system after a contractor installed a sprinkler system and used an unapproved atmospheric 
vacuum breaker. When the sprinkler system malfunctioned and the city water main broke, it created the
suction that pushed the contaminated water into the bathtub.

Q: Must my home or business have backflow prevention? 

A: Many businesses must install and maintain backflow prevention devices. Common examples are 
manufacturing facilities, process plants, medical facilities, restaurants, laboratories (including school 
chemistry and biology labs), and buildings with boilers, fire sprinkler systems and irrigation systems. 
 Usually residential facilities are exempt from the rule unless a specific cross-connection is identified. 
For example, single-family residences with a lawn irrigation system require backflow prevention. 
Multi-family residences with a boiler or fire sprinkler system require backflow prevention. 

Q: Is my home or my business “grandfathered” in? 

A: There is no “grandfathering” of backflow devices which are out of compliance with current regulations.
The State considers backflow regulations to be a health and safety issue. These issues must be 
addressed in a timely matter for the safety of the public water supply and the health of our customers. 

Q: Why is the City responsible for enforcing the rules, since they are State of Texas (TCEQ) rules? 

A: The EPA enforces the backflow regulations by delegating the responsibility to the State or the Texas 
Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). The TCEQ then enforces the backflow regulations by 
requiring the City to administer the backflow program locally. The City is inspected annually by the 
TCEQ to determine if the City is administering the program according to regulations.