News & Media |  Donate  |  Contact Us | 
SFDPH Home
Search
 
Frequently
Asked Questions
  
San Francisco Health Network
Environmental Health

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Cross Connection policies during the COVID-19 emergency

Due to the shelter-in-place order in effect for San Francisco, SFDPH Environmental Health and SFPUC Water Quality are extending without penalty the deadline for conducting annual backflow prevention assembly tests.

Specifically, please note:

  • If your test month is January and you received an SFDPH Notice of Violation for being delinquent we will not assess penalties or shut-off water during the shelter-in-place order and will establish a reasonable grace period upon resolution of the COVID-19 emergency.
  • If your test month is February and you received a 2nd Notice from SFPUC Water Quality, you will not be referred for enforcement at this time, and we will establish a reasonable grace period upon resolution of the COVID-19 emergency.
  • If your test month is March or April, you should have received by U.S. Mail a notice that deadlines are being extended. Please note that letters are sent to the customer contacts on water service accounts.
  • Plumbing work to eliminate or correct a cross-connection that is an immediate health hazard is allowed under the shelter-in-place order as an essential service.

Once the coronavirus situation has stabilized, we will determine the length of the extensions and post them here.

Please contact michelle.kanemoto@sfdph.org and backflow@sfwater.org if there is a specific situation that needs attention. Due to the volume of inquiries and our attention to other public health response activities, it may take some time before you receive a response.

Stay safe and in good health.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Water Quality: Cross Connection Control Program

The cross-connection control program protects the integrity of the city’s drinking water by making sure that there are no connections between the potable water distribution system and other water pipes, storage tanks or other non-potable water sources.

The collaborative program with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) Water Quality Division is authorized under San Francisco Health Code Article 12A and governed by Section G of the SFPUC's Rules and Regulations Governing Water Service to Customers.

 

Backflow Assembly Annual Testing

Tens of thousands of backflow prevention assemblies are installed throughout the city to keep things like fertilizers, anti-corrosive agents or other chemicals that may be added to the water for industrial and other uses, from being drawn into the drinking water pipes. These assemblies must be checked each year by an authorized tester. San Francisco Department of Public Health Environmental Health Branch does not recommend specific Backflow Prevention Assembly Testing Companies, however we maintain a list of companies that employ backflow assembly testers authorized to work in San Francisco under San Francisco Health Code Article 12A.

All water service customers with one or more backflow prevention assemblies receive an annual "30-Day Notice" letter and test forms from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Water Quality Division which will specify the date that proof of annual testing is due. During the annual test month, assemblies must be tested and passed by an authorized tester. The customer must provide the test form or the PIC number to the tester to access backflow assembly information in the database. Please contact Water Quality Division at backflow@sfwater.org or 650-652-3199 if notices are not received during the test month. Penalties may be imposed if testing is overdue.

 

Backflow Prevention Tester Certification

If you would like to be included on San Francisco's Backflow Tester List, you must obtain a permit to operate by submitting the following:

  1. Completed Application Form
  2. A non-refundable application fee in the form of a check or money order made payable to the S.F. Department of Public Health
  3. A photocopy of current Test Equipment Calibration Certificate
  4. A photocopy of the 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).
  5. An original Certificate of General Liability Insurance with attached cross-liability clause.
  6. The Certificate of General Liability Insurance must:
    1. Show a minimum $1,000,000 General Liability
    2. Show the name of Tester holding the valid Certificate of Competency from AWWA, ASSE, ABPA, or NCBPA.
    3. 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.
    4. Certificate Holder: SFDPH Environmental Health, Attn: Cross-Connection Program. 1390 Market St. Ste 210, San Francisco CA 94102
    5. 10-day prior written notice of cancellation, non-renewal, or material change to SFDPH-EHB
  7. 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 the program contact to schedule an appointment to submit your application packet and 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.

 

Required Account Updates

Annually:
  • A photocopy of current Test Equipment Calibration Certificate (submit to SFDPH).
  • A current and updated original Certificate of General Liability Insurance that meets the requirements shown above (submit to SFDPH).
  • SF Annual License Fee (paid to the SF Tax Collectors Office)
  •  
    Every three years:
  • Every three years - a photocopy of the renewed 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) (submit to SFDPH).
  •  
    If your business has closed or you are a tester no longer working in San Francisco:
  • Please fill out a Business Closure Form (email it to michelle.kanemoto@sfdph.org)
  •  

     

     

     

    Making a Complaint

    If you would like to make a complaint regarding cross connection control, you may call 311.

    311 City Customer Service Agency - Service 24x7

    San Francisco Department of Public Health Environmental Health Branch