Sprinkler System Backflow Testing

The purpose of the backflow device on your sprinkler system is to keep the outside water (which can contain contaminants such as fertilizer, pesticides etc.) from backing up and entering into your drinking water. Testing your backflow will keep your drinking water safe. A device that fails this test needs to be repaired or replaced immediately.

We test backflows in Lorain County and some western suburbs that receive their water from Cleveland.

This test is required annually by the EPA. Avon, Avon Lake, Lorain require that testing be done by the end of May each year. Cities serviced by Cleveland water is the end of May also. North Ridgeville’s deadline is June 15th of each year.

This test must be performed by a state licensed backflow tester registered with your city. We have 3 licensed testers on staff. We fill out and file all necessary paperwork with your city. A copy of that test report is also given to you for your records.

You do not need to be home when this test is done, provided you have an outdoor backflow. The only requirement is that the water to your sprinkler system is on. If the water is not on, the test cannot be done.

Commonly Asked Questions

How do I know if my city requires this test?
Your city will send you a notification when your test is due. If you haven’t received a notice, and are still unsure, call your city water department. Remember: Many suburbs receive their water from Cleveland, so the requirement would be from them, not the city you live in.

When is the test due?
This varies from city to city. Avon Lake is due at the end of May each year. The City of Lorain is May 25th. The city of Avon is May 30th. North Ridgeville is 12 calendar months from the date of your last test. Some require that it is tested when it is turned on in the spring. If unsure, check with your city.

Wouldn’t I know if my backflow was not working properly?
Absolutely not. Depending on the extent of repairs needed, your sprinkler system would continue to work. The only way to know with any certainty is to have the system tested.

Who can perform this test?
While a certified irrigation installer can install your backflow, he cannot test the device unless he is a state certified backflow tester. Your city will not accept a test performed by anyone else.

What does this test cost?
Seems to be anywhere from $45.00 – $110.00 for a residential backflow device. Big price range and a yearly expense, so call around. You can get pricing over the phone.

How do I find a backflow tester?
Call your city (water department). They will have a list of contractors which have been approved and possess the credentials to perform the test.

Do I need to be home so the test can be performed?
No. The only thing you need to do is make sure the water to the sprinkler system is on. If the water is not on, the test cannot be performed. The test is done on the outside of your home, so no one needs to be present.

Am I exempt from this testing if I no longer use my sprinkler?
Some cities require that backflow be tested, regardless of its usage. Check with your city. This seems to vary.

How would my city even know if I have a sprinkler system?
If your system was installed by a reputable irrigation company they would have followed proper procedure and obtained a permit from your city. If you obtained a permit from your city that would be the case, as well. Also, if you obtained or applied for a second meter from your city they are certainly aware you have a system.

What if I just ignore my city’s request for the backflow test?
Not advisable. They have the ability to disrupt water service to your home until you comply.

Does Brunner Landscape perform this test?
Yes, we have a state certified backflow tester on our staff. He is also certified by the Cleveland Division of Water (they have an additional test they require, in order to do the test on any systems receiving their water from Cleveland). If you live in a city using Cleveland water the request for a backflow test would come from the City of Cleveland – not the city which you reside in.

What does Brunner charge?
That depends on which city you live in (travel time is a determining factor). We are one of the lowest priced companies for cities in Lorain County.