Panama City Beach requires residents to purchase backflow irrigation devices


PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — The Panama City Beach Utility Department will begin enforcing a state law implemented by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection that requires backflow prevention devices be installed on all residential irrigation that use drinking water.

According to Cross Connection technician Shedric Walker, the devices ensure the public water supply is safe by preventing contaminants from flowing back into the public system.

“The machines don’t allow any back siphonage or back pressure from the customer’s supply coming in from the city to move into the city’s water supply and contaminate it,” said Walker.

Those with wells are not required to have the device, nor are those whose irrigation is tied to their home water supply. Those using reclaimed water for irrigation also do not need the device.

According to the city’s website, letters were sent out to affected residents. It included 30 companies and certified technicians who can install the device.

“I would suggest the customer call and shop around because the device can cost anywhere from $200 to $1,000,” said Walker.

Walker said the device should be replaced every 10 years and inspected every two years.

Residents will have 60 days to have the device installed and tested or face having their water turned off.

Walker said the law has been in existence for quite some time, but it has only recently been enforced by the city.

“The city was thinking the Department of Environmental Protection would provide relief to the customers, and that was Panama City Beach’s hold up thinking that would occur,” said Walker.

While he understands some residents may be upset, he wants them to know they are not alone.

“This change is impacting many residents of cities all across the state,” said Walker.

Information on devices that may be the best fit for your property can be found here.

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