Cross-Connection & Backflow Prevention

Important Notice

The newly adopted VDH revisions to the Waterworks Regulations were signed into Virginia State Law on June 23, 2021. These revisions {in 12 VAC 5 - 590 - 630} include the following requirement: Starting January 1, 2023, persons testing and repairing backflow prevention assemblies and devices shall be certified by a Commonwealth of Virginia tradesman certification program (identified by DPOR as backflow prevention device workers). 

What is a Cross-Connection?

Cross-connections that contaminate drinking water distribution lines are a major concern. A cross-connection is formed at any point where a drinking water line connects to equipment (boilers), systems containing chemicals (air conditioning systems, fire sprinkler systems, irrigation systems), or water sources of questionable quality. Cross-connection contamination can occur when the pressure in the equipment or system is greater than the pressure inside the drinking water line (backpressure). Contamination can also occur when the pressure in the drinking water line drops due to fairly routine occurrences (main breaks, heavy water demand), causing contaminants to be sucked out from the equipment and into the drinking water line (back siphonage).

Outside water taps and garden hoses tend to be the most common sources of cross-connection contamination at home. The garden hose creates a hazard when submerged in a swimming pool or attached to a chemical sprayer for weed killing. Garden hoses that are left lying on the ground may be contaminated by fertilizers, cesspools, or garden chemicals. Improperly installed valves in your toilet could also be a source of cross-connection contamination.  

Industrial, commercial, and institutional facilities in the service area are also surveyed to make sure that potential cross-connections are identified and eliminated or protected by appropriate valves, known as backflow prevention devices.

The Virginia Department of Health Waterworks Regulations (12VAC5-590-580) requires the Utilities Department to maintain and enforce a Cross-Connection Control Program (Code 1980, § 17-52(c)) Sec. 22-184. Administration of the ordinance), to ensure all backflow prevention devices are installed, maintained, and annually tested.

Device Installation

Consumers are responsible for installing, testing, and maintaining required backflow prevention devices or backflow prevention by separations and/or pressure sensing devices at certain connections to the County’s water supply.  

Backflow Prevention Devices are required to be inspected and tested annually by a Certified Backflow Prevention Device Tester.  A copy of a completed Backflow Prevention Device Test Report must be submitted to the Utilities Department to verify compliance.


Submit the Backflow Prevention Device Test Report Form (PDF).
Send by email to [email protected]
or by mail to:
Attn: Cross-Connection Coordinator
Spotsylvania County Utilities
600 Hudgins Road
Fredericksburg, Virginia 22408.

Other Helpful Information

Types of Connections Backflow Prevention is Mandatory

Approved Backflow Prevention Devices for Lawn Irrigation Sprinkler Systems

EPA Waster Sense Smart Controllers List - Updated 2020

International Plumbing Code Resources

Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code

Cross-Connection and Backflow Prevention Program 2021 Bill Insert