The prevention of backflow due to cross connections in irrigation lines can be more critical with agricultural users than with residential users. The use of fertilizers (both chemical and organic) introduced through a process called fertigation can result in those chemicals being back siphoned into the Keremeos Irrigation District system.
Fertigation is the process of using the water system to apply the nutrients directly to the plants; this is most common on ground crop production. A big concern for the KID is the use of spray tanks to mix the chemicals; these tanks are directly connected to the water system and then are moved to the next operation with out any protection device in place. The use of backflow prevention devices for users that use fertigation in any form is mandatory.
The installation of Reduced Pressure Backflow Devices (RPBD) prevents any possible back flow into the district system. Prior to fertigation the installation of this device must be done. The KID must be contacted to ensure the proper device is installed; it has been properly placed and has been inspected. The RPBD’s are very important as the presence of fertilizers in the water lines provides these chemicals with a direct conduit to contaminate the district system and residents.
This concludes my final column as my summer employment with the KID ends. I would like to thank all the residents who took the time to read this column, helping to ensure that Keremeos was as water efficient as possible.
By Jeremy Auger-Patry