Irrigation & Backflow Prevention FAQs

Why is my water usage higher in the spring and summer?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that household water usage increases anywhere from 30 – 60 percent during spring and summer months. This is largely due to the use of sprinkler systems and swimming pools, as well as general outdoor water use like washing the cars and cleaning decks and patios.

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Are dual meter systems worth the investment?

Some homeowners who have installed irrigation systems choose to have separate irrigation meters installed. This is a decision that is entirely at the discretion of the homeowner, and largely depends on how much you plan to water. To determine if this might be a good approach for you, feel free to call our office at 615-672-4110 and ask to speak to one of the managers in our Meter Department.

Does WHUD offer seasonal sewer averaging?

WHUD calculates sewer usage based on your monthly water use. To account for outdoor uses that may not impact the sewer system, we use an “averaging program” from April through October each year. This program prevents our residential customers from paying sewer charges on additional watering (irrigating, swimming pools, etc.) that commonly take place during this time period and is not returned to the sewer system.

Averages are based on water usage from November through March, excluding the highest and lowest months. Customers are not charged over that amount for sewer billing while the program is in effect. Averages are automatically calculated each year, and new customers without usage history will be set up on an average of 5,000 gallons the first year.

What is backflow?

Backflow is the undesirable reversal of flow of water from its intended direction in any pipeline or plumbing system. Backflow is dangerous because it can allow drinking water in plumbing systems to become contaminated and unusable, possibly even deadly.

What is a backflow preventer?

Backflow Preventers are mechanical plumbing devices installed in a plumbing system to prevent water from flowing backward in the system. A properly installed, tested and maintained backflow preventer at the service entrance to a building or property can reliably prevent the backflow of water of an unknown quality from flowing back into the community water system.

What is a cross connection?

Any pipe, valve, fixture, etc., in a drinking water plumbing system that may allow the drinking water within the system to become contaminated or questionable in quality. Cross-connections can either be eliminated or protected by an air gap or mechanical backflow preventers. Unprotected cross-connections are prohibited by state regulations, plumbing codes, and local codes. Consult you local water utility for proper methods of cross-connection control.

This information is provided by the members of The Tennessee Backflow Prevention Association: Your Help is Needed to Protect the Quality of Our Community’s Drinking Water.

Why is it important to prevent backflow?

Yes. The Tennessee Division of Water Supply requires all public water systems in the stateto operate an on-going program to protect the public water supply from contamination from possible cross-connections. The most effective method for the water utility to meet this requirement is to require customers to install a backflow preventer on the main supply line to their property or facility, thus protecting the community water system from any cross connections that may be present inside a customer’s plumbing system. All water users benefit from an active, on-going cross-connection control program that includes the installation of backflow preventers where required by state regulations and local codes.

Why does the customer have to pay for and install the backflow preventer?

The backflow preventer is installed to protect the public water supply against possible hazards in the customer’s plumbing system. The actual or potential cross connection belongs to the property owner and not to regulatory officials or the water utility. Once the water goes beyond the meter, in many cases the water quality is altered. The water utility does not want the water back, nor do the water customers want to purchase used water. If a backflow preventer is required to keep the water safe, then the person who purchased the, installed and maintained the cross-connection (actual or potential) should purchase, install and maintain the backflow preventer.

Is it necessary to winterize my backflow prevention device?

Winterizing your backflow device is necessary each winter to prevent the devices from freezing and causing a disruption to your water service. The best way to ensure your backflow prevention device is properly winterized is to contact a plumber or irrigation professional for assistance.

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