Is Your Landscape Irrigation System Ready for Winter?

Image result for winter residential landscape(Note: Portions of this article originally appeared in SportTurf Magazine)

The dreary days of November remind us that it’s time to start thinking about preparing your irrigation systems for winter.

Here are some tips for winterizing an irrigation system:

Preventing Pipe Damage

Of course, water expands when it freezes. Since automatic irrigation systems are usually buried only about twelve inches below the surface of the soil, any water left in the system over the winter (even a mild winter) will certainly freeze. This causes damage to pipes, fittings, valves, and sprinklers. And this damage can be expensive and time-consuming to repair next spring. So, preventing winter damage by properly winterizing the irrigation system is important.

The following video clip demonstrates the consequences of failing to do so:


The most common method of winterization is to use compressed air to force water out of the irrigation system. However, some irrigation systems are equipped with automatic or manual drain valves. These do not require compressed air to winterize. Check with your installing contractor to determine if your irrigation system has automatic or manual drain valves.

If you’re not sure, then go ahead and use compressed air. Using compressed air on an irrigation system equipped with automatic or manual drain valves will not harm the system components, and will ensure the irrigation system is properly winterized.

Selecting an Air Compressor

Air compressors are available in various sizes. A properly sized air compressor is critical in order do effectively and efficiently blow air into the irrigation system, forcing any water out. The most common portable air compressor (representing about 80% of the portable air compressors in use today) is the 185 portable air compressor. This machine is rated at 185 cfm at 100 psi at full load.

This type of compressor can be found through a contractors’ equipment rental shop, and it’s more than adequate for most residential and commercial irrigation systems. Smaller 5 h.p. electric air compressors, even if they’re 100 psi, do not deliver enough volume of air to adequately winterize an irrigation system.

How-To: Compressed Air Winterization

When using a compressor to winterize your system, follow these steps:

  • Shut off the water to the system at the point of connection. The system shut-off valve may be either a ball valve or gate valve. It should be located in the basement or directly behind the water meter.
  • Next, open a zone valve to relieve the system pressure.
  • Attach the air hose from the air compressor to the blow-out point. The blow-out point is usually located directly behind the backflow device. The blow-out point may be a quick coupling valve, a hose bib, or a boiler drain.
A note of caution: The expanding air coming from the air compressor into the irrigation system will get hot and may melt the plastic pipe. Carefully check the temperature of the air hose connection at the blow-out point. Slow down or stop momentarily if it feels too hot! Cycling through each zone two or three times for short intervals will prevent too much heat buildup.


  • Set the pressure regulator on the air compressor at 50 to 80 psi.
  • On smaller residential systems, where the zones are typically about 10 gpm or less, open one electric remote control valve manually. Then cycle through all the other zones two to three minutes by manually opening each valve or by electrically operating each valve at the controller. Opening one valve manually will help to keep the air compressor from building up too much pressure, while assuring an adequate volume of air to thoroughly blow out all the water in the system. (On larger systems, it may not be necessary to open one valve manually.)
  • Allow the air to flow through each zone until water and water vapor no longer appears from any sprinklers in the zone. Start with the zone with the highest elevation in the system or farthest from the point of connection. Blow out each zone successively toward the point of connection. It’s a good idea to cycle through each zone two times, to ensure no water is remaining.

How-To: Automatic Drain System Winterization

Some systems are equipped with automatic drains that open when the system pressure falls below 10 psi. For these systems, it is usually only necessary to turn off the water.

  • Open a drain valve after the point of connection.
  • Winterize the backflow device and controller (See “Backflow Preventer Winterization” below.)

Some irrigation systems incorporate automatic drain valves on the laterals with manual drain valves on the main line. The manual drain valves will be located in small valve boxes at the end and at low points on the main line. Open the drain valves, and allow the water to drain out completely. Then close the drain valve.

How-To: Manual Drain System Winterization

If your system is equipped with manual drain valves:

  • Locate the drain valve for each zone and the main line. The manual drain is usually located in a small valve box at the end of the zone and at every low point. Also, the main line will have a manual drain at the end of the line and at every low point.
  • Open each drain valve, allowing all the water to drain out, and then close the manual drains.
  • Winterize the backflow device and controller (See “Backflow Preventer Winterization” below.)

How-To: Backflow Preventer Winterization

The backflow preventer is the plumbing device attached to the outside of your house. It is the source of water to the irrigation system, and it can can freeze and burst in only a few hours of below-freezing temperatures. So winterizing your backflow preventer is critical.

Here’s how: (Refer to the above diagram.)

  • Turn off the main shut-off valve to the system (1).
  • Using an adjustable wrench, remove the outlet drain plug or spigot (5) on the outside piping.
  • Turn valves (3 and 4) to a 45-degree angle (half-open/half-closed position).
  • Cover/wrap the backflow valve and all copper pipe with a large towel or blanket.
  • Place 2-3 gallon bucket underneath drain (2) and open the drain valve. Generally, 1-2 gallons of water will empty into the bucket. Once all the water has drained out of the pipe, close the drain valve.

How-To: Controller and Rain Sensor Winterization

To prepare the irrigation controller for winter, simply turn the controller to the off or “rain shutdown” position. (You can also disconnect the power and remove the battery, but this is not necessary.) Do not allow the controller to cycle through an irrigation schedule without water in the system. 

If your irrigation system is equipped with a rain sensor or a soil moisture sensor, it’s not usually necessary to cover or remove the sensor for the winter. Check with the manufacturer to make sure your rain sensor does not require any special instructions for winterization.

How-To: Pump Winterization

If you have a submersible pump (i.e., located in a lake, stream or pond), the check valve at the pump must be removed to keep the discharge hose from freezing. The best way is to simply remove the pump and discharge hose from the water each winter, and reinstall in the spring.

If you have a centrifugal pump, follow these steps:

  • Remove the drain valve (located at the base of the pump housing) and store it for the winter.
  • Disconnect the power supply, to prevent the pump from being accidentally turned on without any water. (A pump running without water will quickly burn up.)
  • If the pump is drawing water from a lake or stream, you must remove the intake hose or suction line completely from the water and store it for the winter.
  • If a check valve is located on the discharge side of the pump, it too must be removed and stored for the winter.

Leave It to the Pros

As you can see, preparing an irrigation system for winter can be a complicated process. A knowledgeable professional is essential to minimize damage caused by freezing. An improperly winterized irrigation system can be an expensive proposition next spring.

Join Us at the 2017 Irrigation Show in Orlando!

Show Is Set for November 8-9, Education Conference for November 6-10

Irrigation Show 2017 is the only national trade show designed specifically for irrigation professionals. It’s where the irrigation industry comes together to network, learn and promote irrigation.

Nearly 5,000 distributors, dealers, contractors, consultants and growers are expected to attend this year’s event. You’ll have the opportunity to:

  • Check out innovative products, technologies and services.show2
  • Explore new suppliers.
  • Learn about the latest business trends and irrigation best practices.
  • Network with current business partners and with industry leaders who share the Ohio Irrigation Association’s commitment to efficient irrigation.

For exhibitor information, including booth space fees, assignment, and 2017 floor plan, click here.

Educational Opportunities

While enjoying sunny Orlando, be sure to attend some of the many irrigation seminars and classes that are offered. You’ll learn concepts and practical skills you can implement immediately.

244IrrigationShow2015LongBeach_boxScheduled classes offer:

  • Real-world applications and irrigation case studies.
  • Current techniques, field-tested information and best practices.
  • Instructors with industry expertise and proven teaching experience.

One-hour seminars will provide detailed coverage on a focused topic in landscape irrigation. Seminars are open to all attendees with a full registration. Participants will earn 1.00 CEU for each hour. This year’s topics will include:

  • Irrigating Green Roofs
  • Pressure Regulation to Improve Irrigation Efficiency
  • Basis of Design
  • Top 5 Employment Law Issues Facing Contractors

For a complete list of irrigation education classesclick here.  For a complete list of irrigation seminarsclick here.

A Proven Winner

Attendance at last year’s Irrigation Show was up double digits. Exhibitor presence was strong, and new product introductions were plenty.

In fact, research of past shows has indicated a strong correlation between show attendance and future sales. Specifically, within 12 months of the show:

  • 77% of the attendees purchased a product or service as a result of contacts made at the show.
  • 90% of the attendees contacted exhibitors met at the show.
  • 90% of the attendees visited exhibitor websites based on information from the show.

Check out this promotional video from last year’s Irrigation Show: 


Irrigation Association

Green Industry Pros

Wi-Fi-Based Irrigation Technology Explained

Are you still in the dark about how to best incorporate Wi-Fi-based irrigation technology into your business?

The national Irrigation Association recently aired a webinar focused on the growing popularity of this technology, as well as the advantages and opportunities it brings to the landscape irrigation market. (See related article, “Internet-Based Smart Irrigation Systems.”) To purchase the IA webinar, click here.

Landscape Management magazine recently spoke with webinar presenters Stuart Eyring, president of Hydro-Rain, and Chris Klein, CEO and co-founder of Rachio. Here are some highlights of that interview:

How They Work

Q: How do Wi-Fi irrigation controllers work?

Chris Klein (CK): A Wi-Fi-based irrigation controller uses the homeowner’s Wi-Fi network to connect to the cloud. That’s where a lot of the process and scheduling takes place, and then that information is sent back down to the controller. You can have access to it through an app on any device you want—a desktop computer, mobile phone, tablet, etc.—and they all communicate with the same computers in the cloud.

Q: Have you seen examples of Wi-Fi controllers being used to upgrade older systems?

CK: Yes, this is happening at a rapid pace. Eighty-five percent of our customers are replacing working controllers, and it’s just as easy as replacing any other controller.

Q: How do you program Wi-Fi controllers?

Stuart Eyring (SE): In terms of programming, the smartphone apps dramatically add to the ease of which programing is done—it’s much better than programming a typical display controller. But there’s a difference in comfort level in terms of where the user base is coming from. There is a transition point to getting people comfortable with this.

Weather Station Access

Q: Traditional smart controllers had their own weather instruments on-site, but Wi-Fi-based irrigation controllers now have access to millions of weather stations. How do they get evapotranspiration (ET) information?

CK: We use a variety of weather data providers and run them through equations to get ET. This process is getting more and more sophisticated. The other cool thing is homeowners can choose a weather station, which promotes continued engagement with their irrigation system.

SE: In our case, we use the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service database in the U.S. Internationally, we use a database out of Norway. But it actually can be very helpful to have a rain sensor at the location, as well, because it can improve reliability.

Q: So you can add other sensors to a Wi-Fi controller?

SE: Yes, we’ve seen an increase in the use of sensing devices like weather stations and moisture sensors on-site that improve the quality of data.

Connections, Security and Updates

Q: What happens to the controller if it loses the Wi-Fi connection?

SE: The majority of the data is kept in the cloud, but there is a basic operating program that’s stored on the actual controller. While the controller won’t typically make any adjustments based on environmental conditions while in that mode, it will continue to run. When the connection is reestablished, the adjustments will begin again. This is typical across manufacturers.

Q: How do you protect security in terms of Wi-Fi and passwords?

SE: Security definitely can be a concern to a homeowner when they allow someone access to their network. But there is a difference between a contractor connecting to a homeowner’s network and connecting through the cloud. In an ideal case, the homeowner is sharing an access code through an app that would allow their contractor to control the system through the cloud, but not have access to the homeowner’s network.

Q: What happens if I buy my controller today and in 60 days it’s out of date?

CK: Updates to the firmware and the app happen automatically, so customers always have the latest and greatest version. In terms of hardware, who knows what will happen in the future, but as of now, our Generation 1 and 2 products work the same.

SE: In most cases, you won’t even know the firmware has been updated unless you go in and look at it. 

(The above flyer can be downloaded and customized for your business. Ewing Irrigation and Landscape Supply offers it to irrigation contractors as a free sales tool.)

Opportunities and Support

Q: What are the business impacts and opportunities that can be enjoyed by contractors venturing into this arena?

CK: There is a great opportunity to impact a contractor’s business by having a number of connected customers. By installing that product and working with them you have a connection with them. You can stay in touch, the homeowner knows where to go for help and it presents an opportunity for customer retention.

Q: What about support? How do you help contractors when they are stuck?

CK: We have a dedicated contractor phone line and can be reached through email and chat, too.

SE: We have noticed that there is really more upfront hand-holding required. But once the Wi-Fi-based irrigation controller is installed and operating, support requirements go down. That’s because of the ease of the interface and how intuitive it is. Getting started can be challenging, but once contractors get the hang of it, it’s really very easy.


Landscape Management

Irrigation Association

AWE Fears WaterSense May Lose Funding

The Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) believes that the EPA’s WaterSense labeling program is in grave danger of losing its funding as part of Trump administration EPA budget cuts.

Which is why the AWE recently delivered a letter to EPA Administrator Pruitt to urge continued funding for the labeling program. WaterSense labeling has been proposed for elimination in the White House budget, along with the EPA’s Energy Star program.

The AWE’s letter outlines the numerous benefits of WaterSense. And it represents the support of 187 manufacturers, businesses, water providers, and other organizations.

EPA Administrator Holds Key to Funding

The 10-year-old WaterSense program was designed to help consumers save water by labeling products that use at least 20% less water, while performing as well as or better than standard models.

But the program has never been congressionally authorized and has been funded at the discretion of the EPA Administrator.

“The WaterSense program is a cornerstone of our nation’s water sustainability strategy, and has become vital to American communities, manufacturers, and service providers.”  That’s according to Mary Ann Dickinson, AWE President and CEO.

“Defunding the program will be harmful to US businesses and families.”   Mary Ann Dickinson, AWE President and CEO

She believes the Trump administration’s budget “undervalues the contribution water efficiency makes to economic growth and the benefits of efficiency for US-based manufacturing.” According to Dickinson, “Defunding the program will be harmful to US businesses and families.”

The AWE letter calls on Administrator Pruitt and Congress to maintain the $2 million budget for WaterSense, stating in part that WaterSense is “a voluntary public-private partnership that has saved American consumers more than $33 billion (in 2015 dollars) on their water and energy bills over the past decade.”

The letter goes on to state that “WaterSense has already saved more than 1.5 trillion gallons of water. That’s more than the amount of water used by all of the households in California for a year!”

Click Here to view the complete letter.

Corporate Support

The letter was supported by leading American companies and organizations such as the Irrigation Association, Hunter Industries, Rain Bird Corp, Kohler Company, and more than 183 other organizations, including water providers from around the country.

According to the AWE, the WaterSense program has more than 1,700 partner organizations that rely on the program to support their businesses or water efficiency strategies. The WaterSense standards are also the basis for legislation in four states and other local plumbing codes that reference it. In addition, the program helps consumers manage their water costs and can help American families reduce their water bills by up to $350 per year. 

Others agree that defunding the program is a bad idea. Such as Pete DeMarco, AWE Board Chair and Executive Vice President of Advocacy & Research at the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials. “Eliminating WaterSense would destabilize the marketplace for manufacturers… and irrigation professionals that market their WaterSense certification.” 

As a result, the AWE is working closely with the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, Plumbing Manufacturers International, American Water Works Association, and the High-Performance Buildings Coalition to preserve the labeling program. They invite all organizations with a stake in water resources to join them in the effort.

Want to Get Involved? Here’s How…

The Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) is accepting new members.

The AWE is the only non-profit organization dedicated solely to the sustainable and efficient use of water in North America.

The Alliance is carving a path to a water-efficient and water-secure world, and they invite you to join this group of leading thinkers, decision-makers and pioneers.

To Join the AWE or to Learn More…
Click Here


Alliance for Water Efficiency


What Are YOU Doing to Promote Smart Irrigation Month?

It’s that time of year again…July is Smart Irrigation Month and, as usual, there are many ways  for businesses and consumers to participate in the campaign.

First launched in 2005, Smart Irrigation Month continues to gain traction each year as consumers and irrigation specialists alike recognize the positive impact efficient irrigation and water use provides to all of us.

Give This a Try!

Place a few empty tuna cans around your lawn while you’re watering and measure how long it takes your sprinkler to fill them with a half inch of water. Then, try watering that amount of time twice a week, gauge how your landscape responds, and adjust based on weather conditions. Or simplify by replacing your standard clock timer controller with a WaterSense-labeled irrigation controller.

Smart Systems

Among the strategies being presented to consumers, first and foremost is proper programming of automatic watering or sprinkler systems to deliver just the right amount of water at the right time.

Additional strategies include:

  • Proper landscaping, keeping soil healthy, mulching and routine landscape maintenance
  • Investing in an irrigation system that uses the best, most flexible, components, has “smart” controls, and meets code requirements
  • Watering during the evening and early morning to prevent evaporation, taking soil type and sprinkler placement into consideration
  • Maintaining the sprinkler system regularly by adjusting sprinkler heads, repairing leaks and monitoring pressure


According the the EPA’s WaterSense website, adopting water–savvy habits also is essential to maintaining and extending our communities’ water supplies, especially during peak use. WaterSense partners with manufacturers, retailers/distributors, and utilities to bring high-performing, water-efficient products to the marketplace.

WaterSense also partners with professional certifying organizations to promote water–efficient landscape irrigation practices. Since the program began in 2006, WaterSense has helped consumers save a total of 1.5 trillion gallons of water, resulting in more than $32.6 billion in water and energy bill savings.

Smart Ideas

Since July is the peak month for water consumption, the national Smart Irrigation campaign is also encouraging industrial firms and professionals to promote smart irrigation practices and technologies.   Here are just a few of the many  “Smart Ideas” to promote the national campaign that are listed on the Irrigation Association website:

  • Add the Smart Irrigation Month logo to your website, ads, customer presentations, field signs, invoices and more.
  • Submit a press release or letter to the editor of your local newspaper.
  • Ask employees to add the Smart Irrigation Month logo to their e-mail signature block.
  • Host a live demonstration of water-saving irrigation technologies, in the field or at your location.
  • Feature water-efficient products and services in displays, ads, promotions and product demos with the Smart Irrigation Month logo.
  • Use a banner, outside signage or counter sign to encourage customers to ask about smart irrigation.

smart irrigation month

  • Make smart irrigation the theme of sales calls.
  • Give awards to customers and/or business partners who promote water-efficient practices.
  • Volunteer to speak to a local homeowner association, garden club or civic group.
  • Distribute copies of the Smart Irrigation Month coloring book at a farmers market or county fair.
  • Ask your local radio station to play a public service announcement, promoting July as Smart Irrigation Month.

Remember…Every Drop Counts! What are YOU doing to promote Smart Irrigation Month? 


Irrigation Association

EPA WaterSense

Incorporating Green Infrastructure into Irrigation Systems

As an irrigation specialist, if you’re not already on the “green infrastructure bandwagon,” what’s holding you back?

The green infrastructure (or GI) movement is growing in communities throughout the U.S.  In its position statement, the national Irrigation Association has officially recognized GI as “a promising new market” for irrigation contractors, manufacturers, and suppliers.

(To access the Irrigation Association’s 2014 webinar titled “Green Infrastructure: The Role of Irrigation in Stormwater Management,” Click Here.)

What Is It, and Why Is It Important?

In a nutshell, green infrastructure utilizes living plant material to create a more natural method for stormwater mitigation. GI tools include vegetated swales, rain gardens, porous concrete, green roofs and rain barrel installations.  (See related article, “Rainwater Harvesting: Rain, Rain, Don’t Go Away!“)

Why is this an important topic for irrigation and landscape professionals?

Well, for one thing, in our current era of heightened water quality concerns, new state and federal investments are being aimed specifically at green infrastructure.

“The opportunity here is to be a resource for water quality managers and sustainability professionals.” That’s according to Paul Lander (Ph.d, ASLA, LEED AP), a consultant with Dakota Ridge Partners in Boulder, Colo.

“In almost every city across the nation, they’re going to have a whole suite of things on their plates. If there’s an opportunity (for irrigation professionals) to be seen as a resource, the profession’s going to go a lot further, and we’ll get more resources coming our way to help with this green infrastructure movement.”

It’s All About Runoff

The big issue, of course is stormwater runoff. Particularly with combined sewer systems, where the stormwater pipes connect to the sewage pipes. Combined sewer systems are found in approximately 860 municipalities across the U.S.. These are mostly concentrated in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Great Lakes.

Not only is this a waste of stormwater, but the sewage treatment facilities are not designed to handle the large volume of water that occurs from a rain event. With as little as a 1/4 inch of rainwater, the combined systems will overflow the rainwater mixed with untreated sewerage into the local waterways.

You may recall when Ohio’s stormwater runoff issues became national news in 2014. That’s when the pollution in Lake Erie forced the City of Toledo to shut off its water supply. For three days.

Green infrastructure has been heralded as a more efficient and effective solution to these water pollution issues than traditional gray infrastructure.

For Municipalities and Neighborhoods

John  Farner, Government and Public Affairs Director for the Irrigation Association, recently explained that, at the municipal or county level, GI refers to the patchwork of natural areas that provide habitat, flood protection, cleaner air, and cleaner water for the community.  (See related article, “Can the Ohio River Be Saved?”)

With neighborhoods, on the other hand, GI refers to stormwater systems that mimic nature by soaking up and storing water. Many states and municipalities (such as Philadelphia) have adopted holistic approaches to watershed management that strongly feature green infrastructure. 

Unfortunately, landscape overwatering is commonplace, Lander said. And it’s the bane of water quality managers. These local, state and federal officials are tasked with ensuring compliance with regulations to minimize ill effects on water sources.

“Increasingly, nonpoint-source pollution, like irrigation runoff, is coming under scrutiny by these folks,” Lander said. Landscape and irrigation professionals who aren’t familiar with nonpoint-source pollution are behind the times, he added.

Opportunity Missed?

Not only that, but they’re missing out on a huge opportunity to partner with water quality managers in pursuit of GI projects.

“It’s all the little things around us that in aggregate can have a big impact,” Lander said. He believes the onus is on the professional irrigation community to step up and participate.

Why? “Sites need green infrastructure and green infrastructure will need smart irrigation,” he said.


Irrigation Association

Irrigation Market Watch

Rainwater Harvesting: Rain, Rain, Don’t Go Away!

With April upon us, we are reminded that every year Mother Nature provides us with trillions of gallons of water. Free of charge. In the form of rain.

Last year, for instance, the storms which pummeled the Carolinas dropped enough water to halt California’s five-year drought. And yet, few of us take advantage of learning how to capture this precious resource.

Instead, it flows off lawns into streams, then rivers, then oceans.

A recent article in Irrigation & Green Industry magazine suggests that, when irrigation specialists build cisterns to harvest rainwater, they are providing their customers with “manna from heaven.”

But they’re also helping to build the water infrastructure of the future. And providing themselves with an additional revenue source.

New Revenue Stream

Paul Lawrence, president of Texas Land & Water Designs LLC, has been installing rainwater harvesting systems for the past seven years, and he’s a huge proponent of the practice. Lawrence feels that, not only is it a good source of revenue, but startup costs are low for the contractor.

“Licensed irrigators already have many of the skills that are required for rainwater harvesting; it’s a real natural fit for them,” he says.

And it’s not as complicated as it might seem. Virtually every house and commercial building already possesses roofing, gutters and downspouts. The catchment system simply takes the rainwater that now flows down the street and stores it for use at a later date.

The Basic Setup

There are several different options for storing rainwater: above-ground storage tanks, below-ground cisterns, or downspouts directed to bioswales. Smaller systems (such as those that capture less than a hundred gallons) can use rain barrels for storage.

Whatever option is chosen, a pump may be required to release the water when it’s ready to be used. Most pumps on residential systems are between one-third and one horsepower. That amount of power is sufficient to pressurize the water for either spray or drip irrigation. The pump can be activated manually, or a controller can be used to automate the rainwater flow into the irrigation system.

A couple of important considerations:

  • Sanitation should be the first consideration. At the very least, a screen should be placed in the gutter over the downspout. This will keep out large particulate matter, large solids and leaves.
  • Storage tanks must be properly sealed against pests and bacteria; otherwise, the water inside can become toxic.

  • Every storage tank needs to have an overflow device to prevent backup in heavy-rain situations.
  • The overflow device should be fitted with a flapper valve that will close up immediately after excess water has stopped flowing out. This will keep vermin from crawling up the spout.

An Attractive Option

For property owners who find traditional storage units unattractive, more aesthetically-pleasing options are available. For instance, Aquascape, an Illinois-based company, offers its “RainXchange” system, which combines a recirculating, decorative water feature with an underground storage basin.

According to Irrigation & Green Industry magazine, RainXchange offers the same functionality of other storage systems. Specifically, “It makes use of modular storage basins, stackable blocks that are somewhere between milk crates and Legos, which can be arranged in different shapes to fit a variety of application settings. They sit inside a rubber membrane to form a single, water-tight unit underground.”

Contractors can install the RainXchange system under turf grass. An increasingly common option is to install the system beneath a patio made of permeable pavers. According to Ed Beaulieu, director of field research for Aquascape, “This way, the pavers act as a catchment area that prefilters the rainwater before it enters the blocks. It’s very, very efficient.”

The following video demonstrates the installation of a similar underground system by a Texas-based vendor, Innovative Water Solutions:


Closer to home, Rain Brothers, a rainwater-harvesting company based in Columbus, offers system design services throughout Ohio and much of the Midwest.

A simple residential project typically runs between $1,500 and $5,000, depending on a variety of factors, such as size and excavation costs. For instance, if a client’s property doesn’t allow room for heavy equipment, digging by hand will increase the labor time substantially.

Who Are the Target Customers?

According to most irrigation contractors, conservation is the primary motivator when property owners consider installing a rainwater catchment system. Despite the fact that the installation costs them money, these clients are more worried about the long-term consequences of water shortages, pollution and soil erosion.

They may have heard that capturing rainwater is a tried-and-true method of simultaneously controlling runoff and withstanding drought conditions.

“In a residential setting, it’s next to impossible to show an ROI in three to five years,” Lawrence says. “By and large, those clients are doing it for environmental concerns.”

Add It to Your Menu of Services

Rainwater harvesting is a viable permanent addition to the menu of services offered by landscape professionals. As homeowners rediscover this ancient practice of capturing rainwater, contractors will have increasing opportunities to offer their services for installation projects.

Contractors can easily acquire the skills necessary to get started with catchment system installations. And there is an abundance of resources to ensure your success. The national Irrigation Association offers online classes on the subject, such as “Water Quality of Alternative Water Sources” and “Earning Points for Green Projects.”

In addition, the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA) hosts workshops across the country for those seeking to pass their accredited professional exam. The ARCSA also offers a Resource Guide of rain harvesting designers, educators and suppliers.

Once you’re up to speed on best practices, rainwater harvesting can become a highly profitable source of revenue for your company… and a valuable service for your customers.


Irrigation & Green Industry Magazine

Irrigation Association

Innovative Water Solutions

American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association

How Do I Become a Certified Backflow Tester?

It’s the question most frequently asked by Ohio IA members: “How do I become a certified backflow tester?” 

But before we get into the details of the certification process, let’s explore the reasons behind the testing in the first place.

Why Is It Needed?

Irrigation system backflow devices help protect a home’s drinking water from contaminants such as lawn fertilizers and pesticides. The state of Ohio requires that these devices be tested on an annual basis. 

But this testing can only be done by individuals who have been certified by an approved testing school. This is a legal requirement. In Ohio, there are two such schools: APHC Backflow School and Ohio Contractor Training.

Backflow Disasters

In order to fully appreciate the importance of backflow testing, we need to see the consequences of backflow mishaps.

For instance, in December of last year, a backflow incident in Corpus Christi resulted in the city’s water being contaminated by an asphalt emulsifier known as Indulin AA-86. When a backflow valve in the city’s industrial district failed, about 24 gallons of the petroleum-based chemical were released into the city’s water supply.

Officials ordered a four-day tap water ban for the city’s 320,000 residents. Schools were closed. Several cases of illness were attributed to the tainted water. In the end, the cause of the crisis was eventually traced back to the city’s failure to enforce a testing requirement for its backflow devices.

Similar incidents occur more frequently on a much smaller scale. To view a list of 14 separate incidents compiled by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, click here.

State-approved certification for testers serves to keep these issues to a minimum.

Back to Certification…

There are several requirements which must be met prior to testing certification.

  1. First of all, you must have at least five years of experience working in the plumbing or water purveying industries.
  2. Then you must attend a three-day training course provided by one of Ohio’s approved testing schools. Here you will learn about extensive regulations enforced through the EPA, the Ohio plumbing code, and various municipalities. You’ll also learn how to dismantle and repair various types of backflow devices.
  3. At the end of the course, you must pass a practical exam.
  4. Finally, you need to apply to the Ohio Dept of Commerce for certification. If you meet the state’s requirements (e.g., you have a clean legal background), then you must take the state test. Once you pass the state test, you’ll receive your backflow testing certification card.

The following video clip from Sean Mullarky, owner of TriState Water Workssummarizes the certification process: 


Once you’ve met all the requirements and received you certification, you may then test backflows for irrigation systems.

But wait!  Every three years, state law mandates that you must be re-certified. This requires an additional one day of training and yet another practical exam.

The Benefits – More Work

Certified backflow testers are in high demand. Because Ohio law requires that irrigation systems be tested annually, potential customers will be seeking you out for this service.

We can help promote your testing services. Once certified, your name will be placed on the Ohio IA’s list of Certified Backflow Testers. This list is the second most trafficked page on our website, so it’s sure to generate new business for your company.

Get Started

If you’re ready to begin the certification process, contact APHC Backflow School or Ohio Contractor Training to get started.


Ohio Codes 

TriState Water Works

It’s Spring Sprinkler Tune-Up Time!

As spring temperatures begin to warm the earth, it’s time to prepare your landscape irrigation system for another season of watering.

Although it’s always best to hire a qualified professional contractor when performing tasks like spring start-up, if you’re an experienced do-it-yourselfer, you’ll want to follow these tips:

Timing Is Everything

First and foremost, you need to make sure spring has indeed sprung. Since the soil beneath your landscaping is always the last to thaw, use a shovel to confirm that the ground is frost-free 12 inches down. Starting your sprinkler system while the ground is still frozen can result in damage to the pipes. If it’s still hard as a rock, wait another week and try again.

Then check the settings on your sprinkler to make sure they are appropriate for your landscape’s watering needs, and replace the back-up battery in the timer/controller, if necessary.

Go with the Flow

Before turning on any water to the system, double-check that all manual drain valves are returned to the “closed” position.  When you first turn the water back on, be sure to open the system main water valve SLOWLY to allow pipes to fill with water gradually. Failure to do so can result in a high-pressure surge called “water hammer,” resulting in burst pipes and damaged valves.

Ensure that the sprinkler flow is unobstructed by checking for rocks, dirt, sand and other types of debris that could block your sprinkler heads. Keep an eye out for spray heads that may have become buried, allowing debris to accumulate around them during the winter.

Also, bear in mind that nozzles and sprinkler heads are designed to withstand normal wear and tear of irrigation, but not errant lawn mowers or snowplows. It’s important to replace all cracked, chipped or worn components.  A broken or leaky sprinkler can wreak havoc on both your landscaping and water bills.

Valves and Pressure Gauges

The valves in your irrigation system regulate the distribution of water throughout; they are its heart. Which is why you need to visually inspect each valve to determine that it’s operating properly. Verify the proper operation of each station valve by manually activating all zones from the controller.

It’s also important to make sure the water pressure is at a safe operating range.  A system with too much pressure will result in cracked pipes, busted valves, sprinkler head leaks and inefficient watering.

To this end, you may wish to invest in a water pressure gauge that can be used to measure water pressure in your home and yard. These devices typically connect to a hose faucet and give you a good idea of the pressure in your irrigation system. (Suggested operating range is typically 40 -65 PSI.) Hint: If water is “misting” out of your sprinkler heads, your pressure is too high and should be reduced.

Think It’ll Rain? 

Most modern irrigation systems are equipped with a rain sensor. This device should also be checked prior to activating your system in the spring. Here’s how:

  1. First, consult the systems operator’s manual to determine the proper setting for testing your unit. (For example, some systems must be set to the “manual all stations” setting to test them. If that is the case with your system, you cannot test it on the “manual single station” setting.)
  2. After properly setting the irrigation system control, check the system to make sure it came on. (You may need a helper to assist you.)
  3. Once you have confirmed that the sprinkler is running, depress the plunger located on the top of the rain sensor.  The sprinkler system should stop irrigating within a few seconds. 
  4. If watering does not stop when you depress the plunger, you’ll have to troubleshoot the system. Confirm that all wiring connections on the sensor and on the sprinkler control unit are tight. Check to make certain that the jumper tab, also called a jumper wire, was removed when the rain sensor was hooked up to the control panel.

Also be aware that the disk inside a rain sensor can become clogged with dirt or insects, which can keep it from functioning properly. Consult your operator’s manual for the correct procedure to clean the disk.

A Word about Backflow

A backflow device has been installed on your irrigation system in accordance with Ohio state law. This device prevents a cross-connection from occurring between the drinkable and undrinkable water in your home.

Spring is a good time to have your backflow preventer tested, as annual testing of the device is required in the state of Ohio. This testing can only be done by individuals who have been certified by an approved testing school. Backflow testers must have at least 24 hours of training in the classroom and hands-on test lab.

To locate a certified backflow tester in your area, Click Here.

Leave It to the Pros

Again, it’s best to leave all spring start-up tasks to the professionals. A qualified service technician will go through your irrigation system zone by zone and check every irrigation spray pattern for optimum turf and plant coverage, as well as check each sprinkler head and valve for any leaks. He can also test and clean your rain or weather sensor to ensure top performance.

Lastly, the technician will program the controller for the proper irrigation schedule, based on your landscape and weather conditions, as well as neighborhood watering restrictions.


Can the Ohio River Be Saved?

ohio river

The Ohio River is the most polluted body of water in the United States.

In fact, more than 24 million pounds of chemicals were dumped into the Ohio River by industries and businesses in 2013. That’s according to the most recent Toxic Release Inventory report produced by the Ohio River Valley Sanitation Commission.

How Bad Is It?

Although this sounds alarming, that figure is actually down from the high point of 33 million pounds in 2006. About 92% of the pollutants are nitrate compounds, commonly found in pesticides and fertilizers.

And, even more surprisingly, the river technically meets the human health standards for nitrates. So minimal changes are being made in their regulation.

But nitrates on the only problem the Ohio River has. Levels of mercury — a potent neurotoxin that impairs fetal brain development — in the Ohio River increased by more than 40% between 2007 and 2013, according to EPA data.

On the Waterfront

The Greater Cincinnati Water Works is well aware of the chemical levels in the Ohio River. Apparently, they have both carbon filtration and ultraviolet (UV) disinfection treatment systems in place to remove the toxins.

According to Jeff Swertfeger, Water Works’ Superintendent of Water Quality Management, “This facility is specially designed in order to remove the industrial-type contaminants like the gasolines, herbicides, pesticides, and things like that. If they get into the Ohio River and they get into the water, we can remove them here with our system.” 

He added that the Water Works monitors chemical levels hundreds of times a day to ensure the drinking water is safe.  

So Who’s to Blame?

Despite several clean-up initiatives and stricter regulation over the years, Ohio River industries still discharge more than double the amount of pollutants than the Mississippi River receives.

Most of the toxic compounds emanate from AK Steel’s Rockport, Indiana, plant, according to environmental website Outward On.  But the plant shifts the blame to farm run-off from nitrogen-based fertilizers. Currently, the EPA does not require farm run-off to be reported in their Toxic Release Inventory.

Science has shown that nitrates contribute to toxic algae blooms and oxygen-depleted dead zones. (Once such area in the Gulf of Mexico, for instance, is about the size of Connecticut.)

One Vision for Restoration

But Collin O’Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, is hoping to ignite a new vision for the region’s most vital natural resources.

“Twenty-five million people live in the Ohio River Valley Basin,” O’Mara said. “That’s almost a tenth of the country. And yet we’ve seen virtually no investment of federal resources in trying to clean up the legacy pollution. The Ohio is still the most polluted waterway in the entire country.” 

That is not acceptable, according to O’Mara. “We’ve been working with some of the mayors and different advocacy groups in the region, trying to just begin talking about the Ohio River as a system and [develop] a vision for the entire watershed.”

Because the Ohio is considered a “working waterway,” it’s typically been treated as simply a support for larger industrial facilities. And while industrial jobs are important, O’Mara says, we cannot afford to degrade our waterways.

“Right now across America, the outdoor economy is about a $646 billion economy. It employs more than six million people. And that puts it on par with many of the largest industries in the country. A lot of those jobs are water-dependent jobs related to fishing or swimming or outdoor activities. So one of the cases we’re trying to make is that it doesn’t have to be ‘either/or.’ The technologies exist now that we can actually have some industrial facilities and still not have to contaminate the waterway.”

O’Mara added that “Given the political power that’s in the region between Pennsylvania, Ohio and Kentucky—I mean, you have some of the most important people in Washington that live along this watershed—there’s no reason why we can’t have significant investment go into the region.”

One thing is clear: Without significant change, the environmental future for the Ohio River is grim.

Hope Floats

But O’Mara is optimistic.

“If we can show progress in the Ohio River Valley…in a place that has a lot of legacy pollution…we can make it work anywhere.”

Until then, lest we forget what crystal clear water actually looks like:


WLWT Cincinnati

Environmental Law & Policy Center

Ohio Irrigation Association Annual Meeting at the CENTS Show – Monday January 11

You are Invited to the Ohio Irrigation Association’s Annual Meeting

CENTS Show 2016 Annual Meeting LogoThe meeting, held in conjunction with the CENTS Show, will be followed by a FREE Reception at Barley’s Brew House.

Ohio Irrigation Association Annual Meeting

When: Monday, January 11th

Time: 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm
(reception following at Barley’s Brew House)

Where: The Greater Columbus Convention Center

Reception – Free Beer, Wine, and Food

Join Ohio Irrigation Contractors

Draft Beer

When: Monday, January 11th

Time: 6:30 pm to whenever

Door Prizes Courtesy Hunter , Rain Bird & Toro)


Barley’s Brew House

467 North High Street

Columbus, Ohio

(Across the street from the Convention Center)

Don’t miss out of the best party of the year. Mingle with old friends, vendors, and manufacturer’s representatives. Hunter, Rain Bird, and Toro personnel will be there as well as the Board of Directors for the Ohio Irrigation Association.

Find out how others fared through 2013. Learn about new products and old tricks. We will have companies from all over the state of Ohio.

Get the latest news and views from experts.

Annual Membership Meeting Minutes – January 14, 2013

Minutes from the Annual Membership Meeting

January 14th- 2013


Type of Meeting: Annual Membership Meeting and Election of Officers and Board of Directors at the Ohio  CENTS Show

Call to Order by President


I. Attendees  -Roll Call – Secretary

  1. John Newlin
  2. Justin Heil
  3. Jeffrey Heil
  4. Chris Corney
  5. Steve Cambell
  6. Adam Marrette
  7. Drew Schwamburger
  8. Joe Boff
  9. Aaron Knepp
  10. Silas Jagger
  11. Dave Matthews
  12. Tom Johnson
  13. Mike DeFranco
  14. Renzo DeFranco
  15. Patrick Ferrell
  16. Chris Foster
  17. Jeff Mgebroff
  18. Chris Dolle
  19. Scott Knowles
  20. Mike Mastrodonato
  21. Joe Twardzik
  22. Larry Fisher

II. Review and Approval of Minutes from previous meeting

III. Treasurers Report – Justin Heil, (New and Renewing Members, Invoicing)

IV. OUPS – John Newlin Up date on Sub. H.B. 458 passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor

*Requires an excavator, contractor, or utility that uses a protection service to obtain training in the protection of underground utility facilities, but specifies that the individual is deemed to have training if the individual is a member of a protection service or association that provides training.

*Eliminates a requirement that a protection service must notify the excavator of the names of each limited basis participant with underground facilities in the municipal corporation or township and county of the proposed excavation site.

*Requires, except in certain circumstances, excavators to define and premark the approximate location of a proposed excavation site before notifying a protection service about the proposed excavation and makes modifications to notification requirements.

V. Election of Officers 2113

President: JC Wheaton (Centerville Landscape and Irrigation Inc.)
Vice President: Justin Heil (O-Heil Irrigation Co.)
Treasurer: John Dolle (Rainscapes Irrigation Services)
Secretary: John Newlin (Quality Services)

Board of Directors
Scott Knowles (Wolf Creek Co.)
Dave Matthews (Simmons Landscape & Irrigation Inc.)
Renzo DeFranco (Irrigation Pro)
Steve Campbell (Essential Landscaping & Irrigation, LLC)
Tim Owen (John Deere Landscaping)

VI. Adjournment

Irrigation Contractor Reception at the CENTS Show – Monday January 14th

Calling All Irrigation Contractors

You are Invited & It’s FREE

Free Beer Image

Free Beer, Wine, and Food

Join Ohio Irrigation Contractors When: Monday, January 14th

Time: 6:30 pm to whenever

Door Prizes Courtesy Hunter , Rain Bird & Toro)


Barley’s Brew House

467 North High Street

Columbus, Ohio

(Across the street from the Convention Center)

View Larger Map

Don’t miss out of the best party of the year. Mingle with old friends, vendors, and manufacturer’s representatives. Hunter, Rain Bird, and Toro personnel will be there as well as the Board of Directors for the Ohio Irrigation Association.

Find out how others managed to weather the drought. Learn about new products and old tricks. We will have companies from all over the state of Ohio. Get the latest news and views from experts.

Welcome Sean Mullarkey, Owner of Tri State Water Works

The Ohio Irrigation Association welcomes Sean Mullarkey, owner of Tri State Water Works, as our newest member. Tri Sate Water Works is located in Cincinnati and is servicing landscape irrigation & lighting systems in the Greater Cincinnati area and Northern Kentucky.

Although new to our association, Sean is no neophyte to the landscape and irrigation industry. In fact, Sean has spent almost twenty-five years in our industry. Sean holds four prestigious certifications from the Irrigation Association:

— Certified Irrgation Designer

— Certified Irrigation Contractor

— Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor

— Certified Golf Course Irrigation Auditior

Tri State Water Works was started by Sean because there is a big need for quality irrigation services with a water conservation approach. Getting a landscape irrigation system functioning properly creating the greatest water savings possible is the mission of Tri State Water Works.

Sean Mullarkey Image

Sean Mullarkey, President of Tri State Water Works, Cincinnati, Ohio

“Replacing older, inefficient spray landscape irrigation systems with high efficiency drip irrigation can save, literally, thousands of gallons of water that is otherwise wasted,” says Mullarkey. ” Newer technology like weather-based control systems can increase those water savings further. Additionally, alternate water sources, like rain water harvesting, can completely eliminate the use of potable water for landscape irrigation.”

Landscape irrigation is serious business for Sean Mullarkey and Tri State Water Works. The company is offering the following services:

  • Irrigation System Design
  • Specifiations Advocation
  • Irrigation System Inspection Services
Sean has been working on landscape irrigation systems since 1988 when he was the owner of Shamrock Landscapes. Shamrock was sold to Natorps where Sean worked as a landscape designer. Sean earned a certification in landscape horticulture from Ohio State University.


Our Mission Statement:

  • Water is a precious resource that should be conserved for current and future generations; water is the source of life, we will respect it as such.
  • We will give back to the community through education and charitable acts to make a difference in the environment.
  • We will embrace technology, while always providing our customers no nonsense service with prompt, clear and truthful communications.

Prior to starting Tri State Water Works, Sean worked as a territory manager for Wolf Creek Company. Sean and his wife, Denise, live in Cincinnati and have two growing children – Christopher is thirteen and Malachi is eleven. Sean, a big advocate of education, is an adjunct instructor in irrigation at Cincinnati State.

Irrigation 101 Class at the CENTS Show a Huge Success

Irrigation System SplashBy Scott Knowles, President, Wolf Creek Company

Irrigation Class for Future Irrigation Contractors

On a chilly Sunday morning January 22nd, Scott Knowles, president of the Wolf Creek Company,  and John Newlin, owner of  Quality Sprinkler Systems in Lorraine, Ohio, taught a group of twenty-three participants the basics of landscape irrigation installation at the Ohio Nurserymen & Landscape Association Short Courses.  The Ohio Irrigation Association was well represented as our members, Scott and John, lead the students through the process of how to install a landscape irrigation system.

Participants actually constructed a working landscape irrigation system.

Being winter, the irrigation system was constructed in one of the Ohio State campus green houses.  The system consisted of rotor, spray head, and drip zones.  The valves were wired to a controller and they even installed a booster pump!  “This is the phase where it comes together for people”, said Scott. After installation students were shown how to adjust sprinklers and some tips and tricks to finish the job.

Denise Johnson, a leader in the Ohio State University landscape program, requested the class be part of the Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association’s  Short Courses because of member demand.  Due to material, space, and coordination the class size was capped at 20, although Denise let a couple extra in but turned away a few others. “I enjoyed sharing my lifetime experience to help others” said John Newlin.  John also reported that several students approached him the next day on the CENTS trade show floor to compliment him for the class.  Scott Knowles says all the evaluations came back with glowing remarks.  Denise was very happy with the results.Ohio State Greenhouse

Scott organized the event with Denise and arranged for the materials to be on hand.  It was a team teaching effort with knowledge and the wealth of experience these two irrigators have being shared in presentations and lots of questions and discussions.  The most exciting part was the hands on work.  Students practiced gluing pipe, connecting wires, etc before the final project, building a functioning irrigation system!

This is the second successful year of  the Ohio Irrigation Association partnering with the Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association Short Course program.  Last year Scott Knowles and John Newlin conducted an Irrigation Association Landscape Irrigation Auditor program to another full house.  Denise has already asked that we do a class again at the 2013 show.

“I enjoyed sharing my lifetime experience to help others” said John Newlin.  John also reported that several students approached him the next day on the CENTS trade show floor to compliment him for the class.  Scott says the evals all came back with glowing remarks.  Denise was very happy with the results.

Ohio Irrigation Association Announces a Partnership with the Irrigation Association

Irrigation Association Logo

The Irrigation Association and the Ohio Irrigation Association are pleased to announce a collaborative partnership agreement that reaches beyond traditional scope the Irrigation Association’s Affiliate Organization structure.

Traditionally, the Irrigation Association works with regional, state and international irrigation and green industry associations for the benefit of their respective memberships.

The Irrigation Association partners with our affiliate organizations to:

  • Improve industry proficiency and professionalism.
  • Define best practices for effective water management.
  • Promote efficient irrigation and sound water management.
  • Influence public policy at the local, state, regional and national level.

“This initiative is very important to us,” says Deborah M. Hamlin, Irrigation Association executive director. “Each organization will benefit from the assistance provided by the other to achieve similar goals – enhanced product and service provision to those in the irrigation industry.”

This new agreement promises to a be significant step in developing a proactive collaborative process that enhances the effectiveness of both organizations. The memorandum of understanding was signed on February 21, 2012 by John Dolle, President of the Ohio Irrigation Association and Deborah Hamlin CAE, Executive Director of the Irrigation Association.

Under this agreement, the members of the Ohio Irrigation Association stand to benefit from an increased level of communications between the two organization. The new level of communication will provide the following benefits:

  • Insight into primary interests and concern’s of the respective memberships of both organizations.
  • Joint marketing efforts design to promote professionalism and water saving within the irrigation industry.
  • Frequent and collaborative communication design to promote membership and participation in both organizations.

“We look forward to working with the Irrigation Association to further advance our membership opportunities,” said John Dolle, President of the Ohio Irrigation Association. “Membership in the Ohio Irrigation Association is a great way to showcase irrigation education, meetings, standards, professionals and the outlook of the irrigation industry.”

As part of this agreement, the Irrigation Association will work in concert with Ohio Irrigation Association to offer support for their membership marketing efforts, while OIA will help IA promote key events such as the Irrigation Show to its membership.

To learn more about this partnership or to become a partner, contact IA Membership Manager Marcia Cram.

About the Irrigation Association

The Irrigation Association (IA) is the leading membership organization for irrigation companies and professionals. Together with thier members, the Irrigation Association is committed to promoting efficient irrigation and to long-term sustainability of water resources for future generations. The Irrigation Association works to improve industry proficiency, advocate sound water management, and grow demand for water-efficient products and services. For more information visit

About the Ohio Irrigation Association

The Ohio Irrigation Association (OIA) was founded with the goal of irrigation professionals coming together from all over this great state in hopes of improving landscape irrigation standards in Ohio. The Ohio Irrigation Association offers educational events and technical information to raise the level of professionalism within the landscape irrigation industry. For more information, visit

Call 811 Before You DIG ! ! ! It’s the Law

OPUS 811 LogoCall 8-1-1 or 1-800-362-2764 before you dig: It’s the law!

By law, everyone MUST contact the Ohio Utilities Protection Service, 8-1-1 or 1-800-362-2764, at least 48 hours but no more than 10 working days (excluding weekends and legal holidays) before beginning ANY digging project.

A vital resource for Ohio residents and businesses alike, the Ohio Utilities Protection Service acts as a communication link between utility companies and individuals planning any digging activity.

Meeting Minutes – January 23, 2012

Meeting Notes

Date : January 23, 2012

LOCATION: CENTS Show, Columbus, Ohio


1. Approved Minutes from last meeting.

2. Treasure Report: Justin Heil (approved)

3. Update from the Irrigation Association: Chad Forcey

4. Election of officers for 2012

– President: John B. Dolle

– Vice President: JC Wheaton

– Treasurer: Justin Heil

– Secretary: John Newlin

5. Strategic Plan: For officers and board members is February 20th 2012 at the OTF building on the Ohio State Campus.

6. New Business: Every Member of the OIA will receive an annual Certificate of Membership.

Ohio Western Reserve Cemetery Entryway

7. The OIA will be participating in the annual Ohio National Cemetery volunteer

effort to work on projects that the National Cemetery in Rittman Ohio needs.

This effort will be a joint effort with other green industry associations. John

Newlin will do an audit of the irrigation at the Cemetery the spring of 2012.

Further Details will be forth coming.

8. Meeting Adjourned


Meeting Minutes – December 8, 2011

Minutes Notes

Date: December 8, 2011

LOCATION: Conference Call


  • John Newlin
  • J.C. Wheaton
  • Justin Heil
  • John B. Dolle
  • Tom Barrett
  • Tim Owen


1. Approved Minutes from last meeting.

2. Treasure Report: Justin Heil (approved)

3. WEB SITE: Tom Barrett

New Website up and running (11-16-11)

210 visits as of 12-7-11

Face Book up and running

90 E mails address so far to send info out. Monthly news letter will be sent out

Using E mail addresses

Officers Photos needed to post on website. Please email photo to Tom Barrett

Meeting notes will be posted. John Newlin will forward to Tom Barrett.

4. CENTS Show: John Newlin

Booth has been reserved.

Banners and hand outs will be taken care of by John Newlin

Business Cards will be printed for the annual meeting and reception by John


Business Cards for contractors to go to Website and apply for membership will be printed by John Newlin

Sign up sheet will be sent via Email for members to help man the booth by John Newlin

Fish Bowl and to collect business cards will be provided at the booth for $50.00

Card give away to help increase the number of Email addresses we have on file to send out news letter by John Newlin

5. Annual Meeting (CENTS): John Dolle

Meeting Room by Tim Owen

Speaker, Chad Forcey Irrigation Association by John Newlin

6. Annual Reception (CENTS): John Dolle

Monday January 23rd at 6:00 PM

Barley’s Food and Drink by John Dolle

Sponsors ($500.00)& give aways by JC Wheaton


6. Membership Rates for 2012: John Dolle

Due Date April 1st 2012

Contractor Membership $150.00

Suppliers and Manufactures $350.00