Most people don’t know about it yet, but the City of Waco made a change that affects just about everyone who owns a sprinkler system. Any way you look at it, it’s going to add additional cost to the citizens. Bummer. This cloud, however, may have a silver lining. (The good news is at the bottom of this post.)

First, what changed?
Your yard is now classified as a “high hazard” from the folks that sell you your water. You have always had to have a backflow device as a part of your sprinkler system (to protect other folks that use water from the city), but now you must have a Reduced Pressure Zone (RPZ) backflow device. Because it is engineered so that it cannot fail without obvious signs, it is considered the most full-proof device–except for air-gap, and we won’t get into that here.
But, I’m “grandfathered in,” aren’t I?
Well, sort of. You don’t have to go out right now and update your system to code, but you will eventually have to. By “eventually,” I mean, we cannot bring your system back into service without bringing it up to code if we do a “major repair.” A “major repair” is defined by the state as any repair that opens your system’s main line to the atmosphere. Obviously, that means we can’t repair your existing backflow device without bringing it up to code. But, it also means we can’t even repair a valve without this update.
How much, you might ask, does this cost?
I’m not quoting prices here because we need information specific to your system. We need to know what you have now and what size RPZ you need. Brace yourself, though, ’cause it’s not cheap. The RPZ itself is a fairly large bronze apparatus. And, the upgrade of the backflow device isn’t the only thing that is required. Your system now requires a valve that isolates the sprinkler system from the rest of your domestic water supply. You may already have this, and, if you don’t, you should. A filter must be installed, too.
So, this new rule means you will eventually upgrade your sprinkler system to include a Reduced Pressure Zone (RPZ) backflow device, a filter and an isolation valve.
Does this sound like it’s all Lemons and no Lemonade?
Now for the good part:
By upgrading to an RPZ, you can do some fun stuff with your sprinkler system you have probably wondered why it’s not done all the time. Like fertilizing or getting rid of mosquitos. Injecting stuff into your sprinkler system is the perfect way to distribute anything that goes on your lawn. It couldn’t be done before because your old backflow device would not adequately protect the water supply. Well, now it does!
Now, fertilizing is as easy as adding a water soluble fertilizer (a lot of choices–including organic) to a tank. It dispenses a very small amount of fertilizer to your system every time you water. Is that too much fertilizer? No. Our most popular system, when set at its highest output is 400 parts water to 1 part fertilizer. At it lowest setting, it is 37 times less fertilizer than that. And, because of the way it is applied, it is much, much more beneficial to the plants than throwing fertilizer granules on the ground and watering them in.
Once you have a system for distributing a solution through your sprinkler system, a lot of possibilities open up. Want to cook out, but he mosquitos are carrying you away? Add some organic insect repellant, run through a short cycle and viola! you have re-occupied your back yard.
So, the painful part is updating your sprinkler system to meet the city’s new code. That’s the lemon. The lemonade is what you can do now that you have complied with the new code. Hello to no-work-fertilization and hello to no-mosquitoes.
We would love to give you a no-obligation Promise. (A Promise is our guaranteed, up-front price. It’s not an estimate.)
You can call Drew at 254.829.3800 or email us at
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