Farm irrigation systems are comprised of many different elements that work collectively to deliver water to fields to increase yields. Among those different farm irrigation system parts are backflow preventers, which may be required with some irrigation systems. The right backflow preventer will ensure that your planted fields get all the water they need while protecting your water source at the same time.
What Is A Backflow Preventer?
A backflow preventer is essentially a check valve, or a system of valves, installed into the feed line in farm irrigation systems to prevent water from moving back through the line. It works by stopping the flow of water when movement goes backward toward the water source rather than forward and toward the sprinkler at the end of the system in the field.
There are many different types of backflow preventers including control valves, atmospheric vacuum breaker (AVB) valves, pressure vacuum breakers, anti-siphon valves, double check valve assemblies, and a number of others. Although they each work in slightly different ways and prevent backup on a variety of irrigation systems, they all do essentially the same thing. They prevent water from backing through the system to drain back at the source.
Any time water pressure within the feed line reduces and water could leak or be siphoned backward in the line, the backflow preventer will activate to prevent this from happening.
Why Are Backflow Preventers Necessary?
The main reason why farm irrigation systems need a backflow preventer is to protect clean water sources. Since most systems are used to deliver water as well as fertilizers and other chemicals to planted fields, water entering the fields is considered to be contaminated.
In addition, irrigation water may be contaminated with microorganisms, animal waste, and other pathogens. Usually there is no way to differentiate clean water from contaminated water as it passes through the system.
The job of these important farm irrigation system parts is to ensure that no water within the system, from the initial water source to the water that is sprinkled onto the fields, can back up and drain into potable water supplies, the water that is clean enough for drinking. If any of these pollutants were to drain into potable water sources, they would become contaminated and unfit for consumption by humans or animals.
Do You Need A Backflow Preventer?
Whether or not you need a backflow preventer depends upon the source of your irrigation water. If your source is non-potable water and there is no risk of contaminating a potable source due to backflow, this type of valve may not be necessary. If your irrigation system delivers clean water from a potable source, then a backflow preventer should be used.
In some states, backflow preventers are mandatory on agricultural irrigators to prevent incidents that could affect public water sources. Therefore, it is important that you know the laws in your region and check with your county to determine whether your water source is considered potable. If it is, it should be protected with the appropriate backflow valves.
Backflow preventers are relatively inexpensive farm irrigation system parts that can be easily added to any system. Considering this fact and the safety they offer, installing preventer valves as a part of a farm irrigation system is always the best idea.
In addition to protecting clean water sources from the chemicals and contaminants that may end up in irrigation systems, backflow preventers ensure your fields get all necessary water by keeping the water flowing forward!