- phone (650) 652-3199
- mail_outline Water Quality Division email@example.com
The City and County of San Francisco has a cross-connection control program to protect the City’s drinking water distribution system from contamination caused by backflow. This program was established through the City’s Backflow Prevention Ordinance, adopted in 1984 and revised in 2016.
Who Must Comply?
If your property has a potential cross-connection or hazard (for example, boiler, chemical feed equipment, dedicated irrigation, an interconnected fire sprinkler system, or building height 40 or more feet above the point of connection/water meter), then the requirements of the Backflow Prevention Ordinance apply to you. You are required to install an approved backflow prevention assembly and have it tested at least annually.
Annual testing of backflow prevention assemblies is required by state and federal regulations and is essential for the protection of your drinking water. The State of California has explicitly confirmed that testing must continue despite the pandemic.
We know that some people are concerned about the potential risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 posed by interacting with a backflow tester. Please contact your testing company to discuss the safety measures it takes to protect your and their tester's health. Your company can work with you to arrange special accommodations to help you feel safe.
What Is Backflow?
Under normal conditions, water from the distribution system flows into a consumer’s premises. When backflow occurs, water from the consumer’s premises flows into the distribution system. If that water is contaminated because of activities on the consumer’s premises (for example, addition of rust-inhibiting chemicals to a boiler or use of photo-processing chemicals), the water can carry contaminants into the distribution system, possibly causing illness or even death.
The City’s cross-connection control program is administered by the Water Quality Division of SFPUC and the Environmental Health Branch of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, in coordination with the Plumbing Inspection Division of the Department of Building Inspection.
To help you comply with San Francisco’s Cross-Connection Control requirements, be sure to check the Consumer Guide to Backflow Prevention and additional program resources listed below. You can also contact the Cross-Connection Control Program at firstname.lastname@example.org or (650) 652-3199 between 8 AM and 5 PM.
How Do I Comply?
All potential cross-connections must be protected with an approved backflow prevention assembly.
To be approved for use in San Francisco:
- An assembly must be on the Approved Backflow Prevention Assemblies list developed by the University of Southern California Foundation for Cross-Connection Control and Hydraulic Research.
- The assembly may not be modified or installed in a manner that differs from the configuration tested and approved.
- New assemblies must be tested immediately after installation and at least once a year thereafter.
After the initial test, Water Quality Division will send you a notice when annual testing is due.
- All testing must be performed by an authorized backflow prevention assembly tester.
For Consumers and Contractors
- Cross-Connection Control Requirements for Dedicated Irrigation Systems
- Cross-Connection Control Requirements for Fire Services
- General Requirements for Installation of Backflow Prevention Assemblies at Point of Connection/Water Meter
- List of Companies Employing Authorized Backflow Prevention Assembly Testers
- Required Levels of Backflow Protection for Potable Systems
I’m a backflow prevention assembly tester. What do I need to know?
Testers must be permitted by the Department of Public Health. Certification requirements are listed on the department’s website https://www.sfdph.org/xconn.
If you have questions or need additional assistance, contact the Cross-Connection Control Program at email@example.com or (650) 652-3199 between 8 AM and 5 PM.
For Assembly Testers and Test Companies
- Water Quality Division Manual for Cross-Connection Control
- Instructions for Authorized Backflow Prevention Assembly Testers - 2020
Last updated: 02/01/2021