Michigan plumbing code - check valves

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by Dead Ringer, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. Dead Ringer

    Dead Ringer New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Michigan
    I read somewhere else on this forum about Michigan plumbing code forbidding the use of check valves above ground. I've been looking since I read this and can't find it. Can someone give me a reference? Give me chapter and verse?
  2. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,428
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Here is the rule. Michigan is one of very few states that realize a check valve after the wellhead can cause negative pressure and possible contamination to enter underground water lines. The only way to have “positive pressure at all times” is to not have any check valves after the wellhead.


    http://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/deq-rmd-ehpu-wc-wellcodeadministrativerules_350163_7.pdf

    Rule 155. (1) The buried portion of a water service line between the well casing and the pressure tank in any installation shall be under positive pressure at all times. If a check valve is installed in the water line between the well casing and the pressure tank, the water line between the well casing and the check valve shall be in compliance with the requirements for a suction line pursuant to the provisions of R 325.1654.
  3. Dead Ringer

    Dead Ringer New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Michigan
    Thank you Valveman. That is an interesting rule. It appears to me that the rule looks to prevent the possibility of contaminants being sucked into the underground line feeding the expansion tank from the well head. That's a good thing and makes sense to me. I'm confused on a thing or two though. Check valves after the expansion tank are OK? I'm guessing with a check valve after the expansion tank the pressurized air in the expansion tank allows for a positive pressure buffer in case the well pumps check valve begins to fail, and it also allows the pressure switch to operate the pump too. These things making a check valve after the expansion tank OK. Is that thinking right?
  4. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,428
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    You are correct. Some states even require a double check or even an RPZ for an attached irrigation system. As long as check valves are placed after the pressure tank, the underground line from the tank to the wellhead will remain under positive pressure.

    In other states like Nebraska, it is mandatory to have a check valve before the pressure tank. Not only does this create a possible contamination problem for the well, but it also causes water hammer on pump start.

    I don’t even want to get started on some of the dumb rules in other states like Texas. You just as well beat your head against a wall as try to make sense out of some of them. I think most are politically motivated. If you own a check valve company, and you have enough money to pay the right people, you can get laws past that require a check valve every 20 feet.

    The federal government is just as bad. The EPA recently changed the allowable amount of things like arsenic in water from 50 ppb to 10 ppb. So water systems with as little as 13 ppb are getting shut down and are required to spend millions of dollars to reduce the arsenic content. The difference between 10 and 13 ppb is only like 3 drops of water in an entire swimming pool. It is just a scare tactic. “We are the government, and we are here to protect you form the evil corporations and greedy water suppliers.”

    What we really need is someone to protect us from government incompetence and over regulations. Wouldn’t it be nice if our government officials had at least seen a pump or water system before they started making rules? It is easy to dupe inspectors because they have no idea what they are looking at. You could have a dozen real safety violations and all the Nebraska inspector would care about is that you have that extra check valve which is actually causing a safety problem.

    No place to quit. See I told you I shouldn’t have gotten started. :)
  5. DonL

    DonL Banned

    Messages:
    4,003
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    You speak the truth so well Valveman. I agree big time.
  6. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    They would have to allow a check valve before a tank if its a plain, non diaphragm tank.....
  7. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,428
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Not if you use an air compressor with a probe in the tank instead of the bleeder type system. But then someone would have to explain to the inspector how all that works, and there lies the problem. I can explain it to them, but I can't understand it for them.
  8. Texas Wellman

    Texas Wellman In the Trades

    Messages:
    524
    Location:
    SE Texas-Coastal
    What rules are you referring to? Which ones don't you like? Just curious.

  9. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,428
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    I didn’t want to get started but OK you asked. These are mostly rules for community type water systems. But under the rules, even a convenience store or three trailer houses using the same water are considered “community water systems”. These are just the first few off the top of my head. There are five pages of rules to just ask for an exception to a rule. The rulebook itself is about an inch thick. I was told that even though these rules were written in the 50’s, it still takes an act of legislation to make any changes. There have been a lot of advancements in technology since the 50’s, yet we are not allowed to use any of them. Generally my problem is that the people enforcing these rules have never seen a pump installed yet they have absolute control. They don’t really care if you have the best water system at an affordable price. They only care that you follow the rules, because the government is in charge. Common sense has nothing to do with it.

    You must submit engineering plans and specifications for the installation to the TCEQ Plan Review Team (in accordance with 30 TAC 290.39(j))? Equipment should not be installed without a submittal from a licensed engineer to the TCEQ and subsequent approval from the TCEQ.

    30 TAC 290.39(j)(1) states the TCEQ must be notified of any significant change, and that any increase or decrease in pressure maintenance capacity is considered a significant change.

    30 TAC 290.39(l) Any exception to TCEQ rules must be reviewed and approved prior to submitting engineering plans and specifications to the TCEQ. Exceptions are approved on an individual basis and must demonstrate that the granting of the exception will not result in a degradation of service and water quality.

    30 TAC 290.43(d): This rule requires public water systems to have a pressure tank sufficient to withstand the highest expected working pressure with a four to one factor of safety.

    30 TAC 290.44(a)(1): Components of the water distribution system must be ANSI/NSF Standard 61.

    30 TAC 290.45(c)(1)(A)(ii): This rule requires a transient non-community water system to have 10 gallons per unit of pressure tank capacity with a minimum of 220 gallons. In regards to allowing less than the minimum required pressure tank capacity, this must be supported by a hydraulic analysis conducted to demonstrate adequate pressure maintenance capacity under all anticipated operating conditions (including peak demand). A licensed engineer in Texas must conduct this evaluation.
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