Lawn Irrigation Guidelines
Many Glenmore residents have underground irrigation systems. While water used through these systems is not charged a sewer usage fee - verses water used from a garden hose attached to your outside hose bibb - there are many requirements to maintain the underground system. An irrigation system is not an inexpensive investment.
First is the cost to install an underground system. In 2010 ACSA (Albemarle County Service Authority) adopted a requirement that all new underground systems must have a separate tap to the water main in the street. Depending on whether the main is on your side of the street, a trench cutting the street may be necessary - and GCA frowns upon cutting newly paved streets. ACSA will do the work, but you will pay actual cost to get the irrigation system installed up to a new meter - and it could cost more than $3000. All costs for piping, sprinkler heads, control valves, backflow protection and installation on your lot are additional costs and can be installed by a local contractor.
Some residents have irrigation systems that were installed before the new requirement was implemented and they have been grandfathered in, as long as all maintenance requirements are met. However, if you abandon your grandfathered system by not meeting the maintenance requirements, neither you nor a future buyer can reactivate the old system and must install a new connection to the main in the street.
Maintenance of an underground system requires draining the water from all pipelines before the frost and recharging the system in the spring. This can be done by the resident, but it requires an air compressor to insure all traces of water are removed from the entire system because freezing damage can occur to the delicate equipment. Usually a landscape irrigation contractor is used and charges for this service are about $100 per visit. A critical part of the irrigation system is backflow protection. The Health Department requires that no irrigation water enter the drinking water supply. ACSA enforces this requirement by having residents install an above ground backflow preventer and test it once a year to ensure it is working properly. This test must be done by a licensed tester and the results sent to ACSA. Failure to do this testing or reporting results to ACSA will result in the water service to be terminated or denied and the grandfathered system to be abandoned. Even if you do not use your underground system, annual testing must be done. If you have any questions, please call ACSA customer service.
ACSA does not encourage excessive outdoor usage of our precious water supply. A tiered water usage rate is applied to monthly bills to encourage conservation - meaning the more water you use, the higher the rate. Water used for irrigation can be charged at a rate up to 4 times as high as water used for household use.