Backflow F.A.Q.

What does a backflow prevention device do?
Backflow prevention devices prevent the flow of non potable (and possibly dangerous) water from your lawn irrigation system or fire sprinkler system into your house and then into the public water supply.

Does it really need to be tested every year?
Yes, to keep your family and the community safe these devices need to be checked regularly to be certain they are in working condition. 

“I.E.P.A. Title 35 Section 653.802 part e subpart 1. - Each device shall be tested at least annually or more frequently if recommend by the manufacturer.” 

“Village of Buffalo Grove Municipal Code 13.05.110 A.2 - Reduced pressure principle backflow prevention devices shall be tested at the time of installation and at least annually or more frequently if recommended by the manufacturer, and required service performed within five days.”

Are there different kinds of backflow devices other than the RPZ type?
Yes, but only RPZ or Reduced Pressure Zone type devices are acceptable for lawn irrigation systems. If you have any other type device it cannot pass the inspection.

“Illinois Plumbing Code Section 890.1140 subsection d. Lawn Sprinklers. Any lawn sprinkler system connected to a potable water supply shall be equipped with a reduced pressure principle backflow preventer assembly (RPZ). The RPZ may be located outside provided it is protected from freezing or is removed at the end of the season, and it conforms with Section 890.1130(g)(1).”

My lawn irrigation system is old, and it passed it’s original inspection, Am I grandfathered in with my non-RPZ backflow device?
No, due to the fact that these devices are connected to the public water supply and the health and safety of your family and your neighbors can be impacted by non compliant backflow devices, State Code does not allow a device to be grandfathered.

“Illinois Plumbing Code Section 890.110 subsection b part 2.. Regardless of the age of the building, where a health or safety hazard exists because of an existing plumbing installation or lack thereof, the owner or his agent shall install additional plumbing or make such corrections as may be necessary to abate the hazard or violation of this Part.”

Where can I find a Cross Control Device Inspector?
This year the Village of Buffalo Grove requested proposals for Backflow testing services for residential customers. View the most recent list of backflow inspectors.

I’m not using my Lawn Irrigation system this year so I do not need a test, is that correct?
An application for temporary waiver of backflow testing is available for download here. There is a $25 fee for processing this waiver. If you do not wish to use your Irrigation system for more than a single season then the Village recommends that the system be properly and permanently disconnected.

For more information on backflow prevention devices, the following web resources contain excellent information: