Water Quality: Cross Connection Control Program
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. 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 a joint effort by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, the Department of Building Inspection, and the Department of Public Health. The program is administered by the Water Quality Division.
The Environmental Health Section certifies backflow prevention testers and inspects for cross connections in the City to ensure San Francisco residents have clean and safe potable water.
Backflow Prevention Tester Certification
Please submit the following to obtain a Permit to Operate as a Certified Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester.
- Completed Application Form (pdf)
- A non-refundable application fee in the form of a check or money order made payable to the S.F. Department of Public Health
- A photocopy of current Test Equipment Calibration Certificate.
- A photocopy of your current Certificate of Competency - Backflow Prevention Assembly General Tester from American Water Works Association (AWWA), American Society of Sanitary Engineers (ASSE), American Backflow Prevention Association (ABPA), or Northern California Backflow Prevention Association (NCBPA)
- An original Certificate of General Liability Insurance, minimum $100,000 General Liability with the following information:
- Name of Tester holding the valid Certificate of Competency from AWWA, ASSE, ABPA, or NCBPA.
- The Certificate of Insurance must contain the following language: "The City and County of San Francisco, its Officers and Employees, are named as additional insured pursuant to all operations performed for them by the named insured."
- The Certificate Holder shall be the San Francisco Department of Public Health, Environmental Health.
- Take a written examination on San Francisco Health Code, Article 12A, Backflow Prevention. A score of 70% or better is required to pass the exam.
Please call (415) 252-3811 to schedule an appointment to submit your application packet and to take the exam.
Your application will be processed and the Tax Collector's Office will bill you for your annual license certificate. Once payment is received, your Permit to Operate will be mailed to you. Your Name and Company will then be added to the list of Certified Backflow Prevention Assembly Testers (pdf). This list is updated on a quarterly basis.
For fee information, please refer to the SFDPH Fee Schedule. All application materials should be submitted to:
SF Department of Public Health - Environmental Health
Cross Connection Control Program
1390 Market Street, Suite 910
San Francisco, CA 94102