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San Jose Water Company's Backflow Department plays a critical role in preserving our water quality and ensuring that we deliver the safest, highest quality water possible to our customers.  Our role is to make certain backflow devices are properly installed and annually-tested, where required, to assure our customers that the water we deliver is free of pollutants or contaminants that can be introduced through cross-connection, backpressure or back-siphonage.

Backflow devices can include air-gaps, reduced-pressure assemblies or double-check assemblies.  They are required on fire services and businesses, and in some cases, residential services.  All new assemblies are required to be lead-free as of Sept. 1, 2016.

San Jose Water Company's Cross Connection Control Program is designed to meet the requirements of the California Code of Regulations, Title 17, and Public Health Sections 7583 through 7605. 

The program is administered by a team of AWWA licensed Cross-Connection Specialists and Testers. Their duties include tracking and identifying businesses that are cross-connection candidates, surveying properties for potential cross-connection hazards, designating appropriate backflow prevention, field inspections, and testing backflow prevention devices. 

If you have any questions regarding backflow prevention or devices, please contact our Backflow Department at: 408-279-7872 or fax: 408-292-5812.

Frequently Asked Backflow Questions

What is a cross-connection?

A cross-connection is any temporary or permanent connection between a public water system or consumer's drinking water system and any source or system containing nonpotable water or other substances. 

What is a backflow and why do I need one?

Backflow devices are either one-way valves or air-gaps.  They prevent cross-connections or reduce the risk of potential contamination. The one-way valves acceptable in the San Jose Water Company service area are Lead-Free Reduced Principle or in a few cases Lead-Free Double Checks. An air-gap is a physical separation between the water filling a tank and the water inside the tank. These are usually placed just before a pump in a lower pressure situation. 

Backflow devices are owned and maintained by consumers when required.

By law, testing and recordkeeping is required on all backflow preventers at least once a year. SJWC performs complimentary testing for all customers.

Why am I being told I need one?

If you have been contacted by our Cross-Connection and Backflow Program, it is because you were identified following a survey, observation or list-examination. When the program was initiated, SJWC developed a list of those locations with the greatest need for backflow devices. The list is routinely updated and evaluated and newly identified addresses are contacted each year.

What type of device do I need?

Under most conditions a lead-free, reduced-pressure assembly is required. A few conditions allow a double-check or air-gap and those are generally related to service-type or zone pressure conditions.

What if I need more time to install my device?

We realize that installing a new device can be challenging to coordinate for a variety of reasons. We will evaluate requests for extensions on a case-by-case basis.

Who installs backflow devices?

We have a list of approved testers that service these devices. Most, if not all of them, can test and install backflows when required.

San Jose Water Company's official Cross Connection Control & Backflow Prevention and Backflow Test Report Form .


Please read our memo regarding change of policy regarding leaded backflow prevention assemblies