Chemigation allows agricultural producers to apply chemicals or fertilizers directly to the soil or plant surface through an irrigation system. However, there is risk of accidental back flow of these materials into a ground water source if the system does not have a working chemigation check valve and back flow check valve in place.

In-line, automatic, quick-closing chemigation valves are mandated by state law and are strongly encouraged by the Water District. “Required equipment shall be installed on all systems whenever a pump is installed or repaired or at the time of a chemical injection,” according to Texas Water Well Drillers and Water Well Pump Installers’ rules.

“If during daily work activities, a Water District field technician finds a chemigation system operating without a check valve, we will send the land owner a reminder that state law requires these safety devices,” said Arnold Husky, water use division director for the High Plains Water District.

By state law, these check valves must contain an automatic, quick-closing, tight-sealing mechanism designed to close when water stops flowing in the output direction. This prevents flow back into the well and potentially contaminating ground water. In addition, check valves must be installed between the pump discharge and the point of chemical injection.

Chemigation and back flow check valves are available through any irrigation dealer. Producers with questions should contact Arnold Husky, High Plains Underground Water Conservation District No. 1, 2930 Avenue Q, Lubbock, TX 79411-2499. He may be reached at (806) 762-0181 or by e-mail: ahusky@hpwd.com.

e-mail: rsmith@primediabusiness.com