Irrigation system backflow prevention devices are used to protect water supplies from contamination or pollution.
Irrigation backflow prevention devices are designed for installation on potable water lines to protect against both back-siphonage and back-pressure of contaminated water into the potable water supply. Backflow assemblies provide protection where potential health hazards exist.
One of the most popular and durable back flow prevention devices is a pressure vacuum breaker. A pressure vacuum breaker consists of a check device or valve and an air inlet, usually a chamber vented to the atmosphere. The pressure vacuum breaker is installed close to the water source in the water flow before it goes into the sprinkler valves. It needs to be installed above the highest point in the system, usually the highest sprinkler head or the highest slope in the yard. The check valve is designed to allow water through and keep the air inlet closed during normal conditions. When the air pressure is greater than the water pressure the vented chamber opens and closes the check valve preventing backflow of water.
There are several good reasons to install a pressure vacuum breaker as part of an irrigation system. The first reason is that most local building codes require the use of a backflow prevention device on all water systems. A pressure vacuum breaker is an affordable backflow option for use in residential irrigation systems. Contamination of the water supply can have wide ranging effects so prevention is very important. Since there is usually only one water system in the home for both drinking/household use and irrigation use there is always the risk contamination through cross-connections. Therefore, safety is another very important reason to use a pressure vacuum breaker in the home.
Here are some examples of pressure vacuum breakers that have failed
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