Certified Backflow Assembly Tester Permit to Operate

Required to operate as a backflow prevention tester, testing potential connections between potable water and a source of contamination.

Issuing Department

SF Department of Public Health

Agency Type



A cross connection is a potential connection between a potable water system and a source of contamination, such as waste water, where backflow can occur from the source of contamination and cause a serious public health hazard. 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.

Please submit the following to obtain a Permit to Operate as a Certified Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester:

- Application for Authorized Backflow Assembly Tester Permit to Operate
- 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).

You will also need an original Certificate of General Liability Insurance, minimum $1,000,000 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.

Upon submitting your application, you will 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.


See Environmental Health Water Quality: Cross Connection Control Program for more information.

Permit Documents

The following documents are part of this permit. Fill out the necessary forms and submit them to the issuing department to apply.