Why do I need a backflow prevention device for my irrigation system?

Subsection 5.3 (a) of the proposed bylaw describes the installation of backflow prevention devices as already required per Massachusetts Drinking Water Regulations (310 CMR 22.22). These are State regulations and are not specific to Longmeadow or any other community. Just as it is when installing any indoor plumbing, it is the responsibility of the system owner to conduct due diligence and ensure compliance with all relevant local, state, and federal laws. Striking this language from our bylaw would not alter the fact of this requirement. A reputable landscape company or plumber hired to install an irrigation system would know this and comply. If a resident is installing their own irrigation system, it is up to them to perform due diligence and learn what the relevant regulations are as housed in 248 CMR 10.00: Massachusetts Uniform State Plumbing Code and 310 CMR 22.22: Massachusetts Drinking Water Regulations. As with any structural installations, residents and business owners are invited to speak with Paul Healy, the Building Commissioner, to learn about the laws and regulations governing their projects, and which permits may be required.

 Inspection of the backflow prevention devices is also already required by the state; however, the state does not specify which entity (the municipality or the device owner) has the responsibility to conduct the inspections. The language in subsection 5.3 (c) of the proposed bylaw reminds readers of that responsibility. Per the already existing Town of Longmeadow's Water Rules and Regulations Section 7-4.2.h: "It shall be the duty of the customer-user at any premises where backflow prevention devices are installed to have certified inspections and operational tests made at the required intervals as required under Massachusetts Regulations and this Regulation. The Department will conduct testing on these devices. The owner of the device will be charged for these tests according to the Fee Schedule in the Appendix."

Put simply, the DPW is responsible for conducting the inspections and will charge fees to the customer for the inspections, per already existing Town regulations. Again, the proposed Outdoor Water Use Bylaw is not introducing any new policy here.

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1. What does this bylaw require?
2. Why is this bylaw being proposed now? Do other communities have similar bylaws or ordinances?
3. Isn't our excess water usage due to large institutions? Why do residents need to comply when individually, we use very little water compared to a golf course or institutional facility?
4. What will compliance with this bylaw cost me? Will the Town help pay for / cover the cost of compliance?
5. Why do I need a backflow prevention device for my irrigation system?
6. How will this bylaw be enforced, and will it cause additional burdens to our already under-resourced staff?