Backflow Information

Backflow preventers keep public drinking water safe by stopping water in your plumbing from flowing backward into your community water system They are U-shaped pipes with two check valves, normally located adjacent to your water meter.

You are required to have your backflow preventer tested every year.

Backflow devices are installed in houses built after 1987. If your home was built before 1987, you will be required to comply with current standards during the permitting process when you make any modifications to your home.


Who is required to have a backflow preventer?

Manatee County’s Cross Connection Control Program requires you to have a backflow preventer if your property has a:
  • Swimming pool
  • Fire sprinkler system
  • Underground sprinkler / in-ground irrigation system
  • Secondary source of water, such as reclaimed water or a well
  • Fountain with a dedicated fill pipe
  • Flood zone designation
  • Body of water, including river, bay, lake or pond on your property or bordering your property
  • Solar water heating system
  • Commercial, industrial, multistory or multifamily residential facility
  • Cross connection (any other connection between your drinking water and another source of water that combines the two waters)

If you irrigate with potable water, you are required to have two backflow preventers, one at the meter and another one on the irrigation line. If you have two meters, potable and irrigation, you are also required to have two backflow preventers, one at each meter.


Annual backflow preventer testing

Every customer who owns a backflow device is required to test the device annually. Log into your Manatee County Utilities online account to find out when your backflow was last tested and the result of your test.

Testing must be done by a contractor registered with the Cross Connection Control office. The contractor must possess a valid, up-to-date plumbing license/Fire Marshal certificate, current insurance, and backflow test/repair certification. If a test is required for a fire line backflow, the tester must be certified for the fire systems.

Prices vary depending on who you call. We recommend getting multiple quotes.
If your device fails to pass annual inspection, you are responsible for repairing or replacing the device within 30 days. If you are still out of compliance after 30 days, all water services to the property will be discontinued until you are compliant.
There are no time extensions for testing. You do not need to be present during the test. If your backflow preventer is not tested in the allotted time, the County's contract tester will be scheduled to perform the inspection and a minimum charge of $40 per backflow device will be charged to the property owner. 


Did you receive a letter about your backflow preventer?

You need to arrange for testing of your backflow preventer with a company from the County's tester list. The tester will report your test results to us through the secured website. Testing has to be completed within 30 days from the date of the letter.
Final Notice for the Testing of your Backflow Prevention Assembly
You have seven days to notify Cross Connection Control office whether your backflow preventer testing has been completed. If your backflow preventer is still out of compliance in seven days, the County's contract plumber will be scheduled to perform the inspections and a minimum charge of $40 per backflow device will be charged to the property owner.
Failed Backflow Assembly - BF#XXXXXXXX
Your backflow preventer failed the annual inspection and needs to be repaired or replaced and re-certified within 30 days. Call a plumber immediately and the plumber will contact the Cross Connection Control office.

Additional Information

Removing a backflow preventer
If an irrigation system or other cross connection is removed and no other conditions requiring backflow preventer exist at the property, you may submit a Petition to Remove a Backflow Prevention Assembly to the Cross Connection Control Office. Petitions can be mailed to 4520 66th St. W., Bradenton, FL 34210 or emailed to Petitions will be reviewed within 30 days.
Failed inspection due to excessive vegetation
The standards for backflow installation require a 3' clearance to prevent damage of the device from overgrowth and accommodate room for the tester to safely inspect the backflow preventer. Please trim back your plants and arrange for testing with a company from our certified tester list. This must be completed within 30 days to avoid water service disruption.
Becoming a backflow tester in Manatee County
To register with Manatee County please submit the BFPD Authorized Agent Form to the Cross Connection Control office. Contractors must possess a valid, up-to-date plumbing license/Fire Marshal Certificate, current insurance, backflow test/repair certification and calibration of equipment.  
Registered contractors are required to record backflow test result through the Backflow Prevention Assembly Testing and Inventory application within 15 days of test. All reports submitted through mail, e-mail or FAX will be rejected.
The Cross Connection Control Program is required by:


Contact Us

For more information regarding Backflow Prevention, contact:
Cross Connection Control, Utilities Department
Telephone (941) 792-8811 Ext. 5267