Cross Connection Control Program
Attention residential customers with an existing backflow prevention device:
Beginning on October 1, 2023, a $3.50 fee will be assessed to customer accounts whose backflow tests are submitted by means other than the North Port Utilities' (NPU) online backflow portal. Please verify that your certified backflow testing company is registered with NPU and will be recording your completed test online to avoid the additional fee.
On March 24, 2020, City Commission approved Ordinance 2020-02, amending City Code Section 78-129 to eliminate the residential “opt-in” program. This program previously permitted customers to appoint the City as their agent for the purposes of completing the testing, installation, repair, and replacement requirements of the Cross-Connection Control Program, more commonly known as the Backflow Program. If you previously opted-in to this program, you will now be required to independently coordinate with a licensed plumber who is also a certified backflow device tester to comply with the testing requirement and submit the required documentation to the Utilities Department by the testing due date. To learn more, download the
Check when your backflow inspection is due.
View a current listing of certified back flow testing specialists.(PDF, 4MB)
NOTE: North Port Utilities DOES NOT send out backflow inspectors from "the City."
Scams have been reported in the area of companies claiming to represent the City of North Port, or to have been contracted by the City. This is false. Homeowners must contact their own certified backflow inspector, schedule and appointment, have the testing completed, and the inspector will then submit their findings to the City of North Port. The City has no backflow inspectors nor inspection companies contracted. If you are in doubt regarding someone approaching you from "the City" regarding your backflow inspection, please call us directly at 941-240-8000.
To view a current listing of certified back flow testing specialists, please view or download the file by clicking here.(PDF, 4MB)
The link above provides a list of several backflow certified plumbers in the area who are active in the City of North Port's online portal for backflow test entry. North Port Utilities DOES NOT make any recommendations, nor guarantee the service provided.
Please download and have your Certified Back Flow Tester complete and submit the Back Flow Test Form(PDF, 61KB) to City of North Port Utilities.
For more information on the City of North Port's Cross Connection Control Program, please see our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) below, call: (941) 240-8000, or email NPUtilitiesBackflow@cityofnorthport.com.
What is backflow?
Backflow is the backward flow of water through a pipe. The normal direction of water flow is from the utility water main, through the water meter and into homes or businesses. The backflow of water from home plumbing systems into the public drinking water supply happens when water is pulled backward due to a pressure loss in the utility water main. This can occur if a water main breaks, a fire hydrant is damaged by a vehicle or a high volume of water is used such as during a fire.
What is a cross-connection?
A cross-connection is any physical connection or arrangement of piping or fixtures between two otherwise separate systems, one of which containing potable water and the other containing water, fluids, gases or other materials through which backflow may occur. An example is the common garden hose submerged in a swimming pool. There are two ways that contaminated water can backflow into the public drinking water supply; back-siphonage or backpressure.
What is back-siphonage?
Back-siphonage is the reversal of normal flow in a water system caused by negative pressure in the supply piping. Back-siphonage can be created when there is stoppage of the water supply due to repairs or breaks in the city water main or increased demand at a location such as fire fighting.
What is backpressure?
Backpressure is the reversal of normal flow in the system due to downstream pressure being greater that supply pressure. Backpressure can occur in any pressurized system such as a boiler. For example, a boiler operating under 15-20 lbs. of pressure would backflow into the potable water supply if the pressure of the supply fell below 15-20 lbs and the two systems were cross connected. Sometimes all this requires is flushing the toilet.
Why is it important for water suppliers to prevent backflow?
Backflow into a public water system can pollute or contaminate the potable water in that system, making the water unusable or unsafe to drink.
What is a backflow prevention device?
A backflow prevention device is a means or mechanism to prevent backflow. The basic means of preventing backflow is to create an air gap, which either eliminates a cross-connection or provides a barrier to backflow. The basic mechanism for preventing backflow is a mechanical backflow preventer, which provides a physical barrier to backflow. The principal types of mechanical backflow preventer are the reduced- pressure assembly (RP), the dual check assembly (DC) and the double check valve assembly (DCVA).
What are examples of cross-connection and backflow scenarios?
- Soapy water or other cleaning compounds backsiphoned into your water supply plumbing through a faucet or hose submerged in a bucket or laundry basin.
- A hose submerged in a swimming pool creates a pathway for pool water to enter your water supply plumbing.
- Fertilizers/pesticides backsiphoned into your water supply plumbing through a garden hose attached to a fertilizer/pesticide sprayer.
- Chemicals/pesticides and animal feces drawn into your water supply plumbing from a lawn irrigation system with submerged sprinkler heads.
- Bacteria/chemicals/additives present in a boiler system backsiphon into the water supply plumbing.
- A connection made between a private well supply and the water being supplied by a public water system through the water supply plumbing.
What is the Cross-Connection Control (“Backflow”) Program and why does the City of North Port need to have a program?
The purpose of a Cross-Connection Control Program is to prevent waterborne diseases and contaminants from entering the distribution system. Specifically, the program is intended to prevent delivered water (water that has passed beyond the public water system and into the private distribution systems of consumers) from reentering the public distribution system and being delivered to other consumers. In accordance with federal, state and local statute, the program aims to protect the City of North Port and its consumers from any potential connection which could possibly harm the quality and safety of the City of North Port water supply through backflow and/or cross-connection.
Who is required to have a backflow preventer in North Port?
- Residential properties connected to the public water system with no auxiliary water or irrigation systems are required by Section 608 of the Florida Building Code to have, at a minimum, an in-ground, non-testable dual check (DC) backflow prevention device, subject to mandatory replacement every five-years by a certified backflow prevention technician.
- Residential, single-family properties connected to the public water system with an irrigation system connected to the public water system or an auxiliary water source, such as an irrigation well or reclaim water system, are required to have an above-ground, testable backflow prevention device, subject to mandatory biennial testing by a certified backflow prevention technician.
- All Commercial and Multi-family properties connected to the public water system are required to have an above-ground, testable reduced pressure zone (RPZ) backflow prevention device, subject to mandatory annual testing by a certified backflow prevention technician.
Who owns and is responsible for maintaining the backflow prevention device?
The property owner is responsible for the installation and maintenance of their backflow prevention device. It must be located on the owner’s property near the City owned water meter.
Why does my above-ground backflow prevention device need to be tested?
Backflow prevention devices have internal seals, springs, and moving parts that are subject to fouling, wear and fatigue. Therefore, they must be tested periodically to ensure that they are functioning properly. Backflow prevention devices must be tested by a State-certified Technician, with properly calibrated gauge equipment.
How will I know when to have my backflow prevention device tested?
If you have a testable device on your property, you will receive two separate notifications, at 60 days and 30 days prior to the testing due date, in order to allow sufficient time to comply with the testing requirement. I have a non-testable, inground backflow device, how will I know when it needs to be replaced? Inground, non-testable dual check (DC) devices are subject to mandatory replacement every five years. You will receive two separate notifications, at 60 days and 30 days prior to the device’s replacement due date to allow sufficient time to comply with this requirement.
I have a non-testable, inground backflow device, how will I know when it needs to be replaced?
Inground, non-testable dual check (DC) devices are subject to mandatory replacement every five years. You will receive two separate notifications, at 60 days and 30 days prior to the device’s replacement due date to allow sufficient time to comply with this requirement.
Can I cover or hide my above ground backflow prevention device?
You can place plants or shrubs near the backflow prevention device, but they should not be closer than two feet from the backflow so that they do not impede in the testing or repair of the backflow. Mobile artificial landscape rocks may also be used to cover and protect the backflow prevention device as well.
Who can test, repair or install backflows?
State Statute and City Administrative Code require that backflow prevention devices be tested, repaired, replaced or installed by a State-certified Backflow Prevention Technician that is also registered with the City.
Why can’t the Utilities Department take care of my backflow?
Because the backflow prevention device is located on private property, the property owner is responsible for meeting the testing requirements as well as repair or replacement of the device as needed. A copy of the passing certification must be submitted to North Port Utilities by the due date listed on the compliance notification you received.
My irrigation well is not connected to my drinking water, why do I need a backflow?
Although your well may not be currently cross-connected, the potential still exists for a cross-connection to occur. This degree of hazard requires a testable backflow prevention device be installed after your water meter.
Do I need a City permit to have a backflow installed?
Yes, a permit is required for backflow installation. For more information about permit requirements and costs, you can contact Neighborhood Development Services – Building Division at 940-429-7044 or visit the Building Division page.
I am a tenant, who is responsible for meeting the backflow requirements, me or my landlord?
The property’s legal owner is responsible for all backflow requirements. All notices will be sent to the property owner of record.
I don’t have City water. Am I required to have a backflow prevention device?
No, residents who are not connected to City water are not required by the Cross- connection program to have backflow prevention device. The Cross-Connection Program and Ordinance is only for properties who are City water customers.
Can I have my own plumber handle the testing of my backflow?
Yes, as long as the plumber is a certified backflow prevention device tester that has registered with the Utilities Department. They will need to send the passing certification and proof of equipment calibration to North Port Utilities by the due date listed on the compliance notification you received.
Can I install a replacement device?
If your property does not contain an irrigation system connected to the public water system or an auxiliary water source, such as an irrigation well or reclaim water system, you may be eligible to replace your device. Contact the Utilities Department at (941) 240-8000 or email your request to NPUtilitiesBackflow@NorthPortFL.gov. Our Field Operations office may schedule a site visit to confirm that no hazards exist on your property prior to giving approval. Once approved by the Utilities Department, installation may be completed at the property owner’s expense by a certified backflow technician in compliance with City Building and Administrative Code and after the required permit has been obtained through Neighborhood Development Services.
Written certification of device installation must be submitted to the Utilities Department upon completion.
How will the Utilities Department know that I have complied with the certification requirements?
It is the homeowner’s responsibility to ensure that passing test certifications or device installation/replacement certifications are submitted by the due date. While in most cases the technician will submit the required certification, it is recommended that the homeowner verify with the technician that they have done so to avoid any potential noncompliance fees.
Where should testing and device installation/replacement certifications be sent?
Certifications can be mailed to the Utilities Field Services Office at 6644 W Price Blvd North Port, FL 34291, emailed to NPUtilitiesBackflow@NorthPortFL.gov or faxed to (941) 240-8022. Please ensure that the property address and/or utility account number is clearly written on the certification.