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Old 09-11-2009, 08:22 PM   #1
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irrigation plumbing at meter


Recently purchased a 1925 home. A PO had an underground irrigation system installed off of a dedicated meter at the street. My question is why is the PVC tubing brought out of the meter and immediately above ground about 8 inches extended horizontally about a foot and then again back underground. What is the purpose of doing that? Thanks

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Old 09-11-2009, 08:57 PM   #2
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irrigation plumbing at meter


Before this piping that comes out of the ground and after the meter is there a valve that you open or close to turn on the water?

Typically the valve is just after the meter is below ground.

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Old 09-11-2009, 09:49 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Plumber101 View Post
Before this piping that comes out of the ground and after the meter is there a valve that you open or close to turn on the water?

Typically the valve is just after the meter is below ground.
No valve on the exposed plumbing. When I shut it off I have to open the meter box and shut it off there. The meter does have a valve before and after the meter but I thought that might be part of the cities equipment because I have the same two valve arrangement on the meter that supplies the house. It does look like there are some kind of removable connectors at the two pipes that come from and go into the ground but they are just below ground level so not sure what that's about either Color me ignorant Looks like two-piece connectors that screw together. Also, I'm guessing this should be protected from damage with a cover. Right now it's exposed and close to the driveway Would some kind of valve installed on the exposed piping that would drain the system by useful?

Last edited by Mike in Arkansas; 09-11-2009 at 09:52 PM.
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Old 09-11-2009, 09:56 PM   #4
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irrigation plumbing at meter


How about a picture of the pipes above ground and inside the meter pit? You should have a back flow preventer on the line and that may be the reason for the pipe going up out of the ground then back in. Either you have one on that pipe or one should be but never was added.
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Old 09-12-2009, 02:36 AM   #5
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irrigation plumbing at meter


Agreed, probably something to do with backflow prevention...
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Old 09-12-2009, 01:38 PM   #6
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irrigation plumbing at meter


couple of pictures of what I have. No external valves on the pvc or any kind of back flow prevention. It is on a dedicated irrigation only meter.
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Old 09-12-2009, 02:15 PM   #7
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irrigation plumbing at meter


well, if that dedicated meter is being fed from a potable water main then it must have a backflow preventer. If its reclaimed water then i don't know for sure but think not. ask your water department.
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Old 09-12-2009, 02:33 PM   #8
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irrigation plumbing at meter


I have something that looks like that on a baseball field irrigation system but mine has a backflow preventer on it.
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Old 09-12-2009, 02:43 PM   #9
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irrigation plumbing at meter


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I have something that looks like that on a baseball field irrigation system but mine has a backflow preventer on it.
I think this would qualify as the "eureka" moment.

If this is potable water, there must be a backflow preventer on the line.
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Old 09-12-2009, 05:57 PM   #10
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irrigation plumbing at meter


Looked at back flow preventers and it says they must be installed at least 12 inches above the highest point in the irrigation system. The pictured location is at least 3 feet lower than my yard. The location is out by the street and my yard/house is elevated quite a bit from the street. So if I need to install a backflow preventer it is going to have to be up in the yard somewhere before the first outlet. I'm not planning on using the irrigation system but there are some hose bibs that are connected to the irrigation piping and I do use those.
I suppose this system was not installed by a professional. This irrigation systems also provide potable water for a detached second story garage apt. Not going to be renting it at all as the apt is in pretty bad shape but at least you would think the city would be unhappy about that. Other than from a safety standpoint the city would get ripped off because sewer charges are based on water consumption but irrigation water is exempt.
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Old 09-12-2009, 10:19 PM   #11
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irrigation plumbing at meter


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Other than from a safety standpoint the city would get ripped off because sewer charges are based on water consumption but irrigation water is exempt.

but do you get charged for water? and if the pipe was broken, whose side of the meter is it on (it should be on your side of the meter).
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Old 09-13-2009, 05:58 AM   #12
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irrigation plumbing at meter


Sounds like someone pieced together something to get water to the apt. The irrigation service isnt supposed to have anything on it but...irrigation. Even those hosebibs arent supposed to be fed from it.

If you take a look at this link, http://www.irrigationtutorials.com/d...-preventer.pdf, you will see that it is recommended that a double check backflow preventor be installed 12" above ground. I see nothing about it having to be 12" above the highest point. Most backflow preventors I install are in mechanical rooms in basements. There are plenty of fixtures above the basement....I cant fathom why an irrigation bfp would have to be above the highest sprinklerhead.

Looking at the picture you posted, I'm fairly confident that the piping you have is for a backflow preventor. The unions on the piping make for easy removal in the winter and a good place to blow out the lines so they dont freeze. However, with all that being said, you need to get the hosebibs and the apartment off the irrigation line. That is a catastrophe just waiting to happen. Perhaps that is why there is just piping there and not a backflow preventor. A) They arent REAL cheap B) They have to be tested annually C) There is NO WAY that having a potable waterline (apartment AND hosebibs) would ever pass any code that I know of. Maybe the previous owner ran into one of these things and said "screw it" and took it out???? Who knows, eh?

Good luck!

Last edited by JDC; 09-13-2009 at 06:01 AM.
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Old 09-13-2009, 10:02 AM   #13
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irrigation plumbing at meter


I think someone pulled a "fast one" on the City or water department. Either they had a back flow preventer and removed it after inspection or snuck by without one being installed. Those two unions on the risers show that it was designed to accomodate something installed in the line. I am guessing none was ever installed since the testing company would have turned you in whenever they came to do the yearly inspection and it was removed. Surprised you are not being charged a fee just for having the service available. If the water department ever does a check on the system, you can be charged with Theft of Service since the line supplies fixtures in the home. In Ohio, when I worked for a major water department, the fines started at $150. Since you are not paying for sewer, that could also be in the determining of fines. Bad part is that you could be paying for the previous owners usage.
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Last edited by majakdragon; 09-13-2009 at 10:06 AM.
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Old 09-13-2009, 10:15 AM   #14
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Sounds like someone pieced together something to get water to the apt. The irrigation service isnt supposed to have anything on it but...irrigation. Even those hosebibs arent supposed to be fed from it.

Good luck!
I do have the apt. water turned off though not yet disconnected. If the hose bibs are used only for watering or other outdoor (non-potable) uses is there a problem safety wise leaving them attached? (assuming no one ever drinks from the bib)
I was looking at a different kind of back flow preventer. http://www.irrigationtutorials.com/d...-preventer.pdf It says it must be 12 inches higher than all water outlets. If that's the case I would have to mount it in the attic of the second story apt. The type you linked to seems the better kind for this application.

Finally, could someone explain how something in the ground could make it's way back to the potable water supply? I guess I don't understand. It seems like the high water pressure in the line would prevent anything from getting in in the first place. What kind of condition would have to exist to require a back flow preventer? Don't doubt the requirement, just trying to dispel my overall ignorance a little.
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Old 09-13-2009, 12:22 PM   #15
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=Mike in Arkansas;327134]I do have the apt. water turned off though not yet disconnected. If the hose bibs are used only for watering or other outdoor (non-potable) uses is there a problem safety wise leaving them attached? (assuming no one ever drinks from the bib)
it isn't YOU this is intended to protect. It is the entire municipal water supply. It is to prevent some form of contamination from you backflowing into the muni water supply and causing illness, death, or a lot of trouble and expense to ensure there is no health hazard to other muni water users.


get a backflow preventer on it. It is not optional.




Quote:
Finally, could someone explain how something in the ground could make it's way back to the potable water supply? I guess I don't understand. It seems like the high water pressure in the line would prevent anything from getting in in the first place. What kind of condition would have to exist to require a back flow preventer? Don't doubt the requirement, just trying to dispel my overall ignorance a little.
No problem. While the pressure in the muni line would normally prevent a backflow, if there is a low pressure situation in the muni line (think big fire and a lot of fire trucks drawing from the muni supply or a damaged main line anywhere) the water in your lines could flow back into the muni supply. As well, if you had something that caused a pressure in the line that would overcome the muni pressure, it would also cause a back flow.


as an added reason for removing any non-irrigation water use from this meter; any use that is not considered not to be irrigation use (not sure about the hose bibs. could go either way. I suggest there is a rule concerning this) you are defrauding the municipality by not paying the correctly calculated sewer bill. I suspect if this is discovered,, there could be fees and fines that will make you wish you had remedied the problem long ago.


Last edited by nap; 09-13-2009 at 12:26 PM.
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