American Backflow Prevention Association
Southern California Chapter

Tester and Specialist Information

How Does a Backflow Preventer Work?

Submitted by Jim Purzycki, Orange County Director

This series of seven articles explains the workings of backflow prevention assemblies. These articles appeared over seven issues of the Chapter newsletter.

How Does the RP Work?: Article #1
How Does the RP Work?: Article #2
How Does the RP Work?: Article #3
How Does the RP Work?: Article #4
How Does the RP Work?: Article #5
How Does the DC Work?: Article #6
How Do the PVB/SVB Work?: Article #7

Installation Criteria
Submitted by Jim Purzycki, Orange County Director

This article explains the installation criteria for backflow prevention assemblies, including hydraulic and mechanical concerns. These articles appeared over three issues of our Chapter newsletter.

Hands-On Hints

Submitted by Mike Ahlee, San Diego County Director

As a proctor for way too many years now, I have seen people fail the hands-on exam for many reasons.  Quite often, I see the same errors being made by many different people.

Since this stuff isn't top secret, I thought that it would be good to talk about some of the common errors before you make one.  I'll try to post one or two new tips on the web site often; you can collect them all and trade with your friends.

Hands-On Hint #1: Holding the Gauge at the Proper Height
Hands-On Hint #2: Don't Touch that Dial!
Hands-On Hints #3: Staying on Track
Hands-On Hints #4: You Have the Right to Remain Silent
Hands-On Hints #5: The Devil in the Details


Training Opportunities

USC Foundation for Cross Connection Control and Hydraulic Research: (213) 740-2032

Mt. San Antonio College 40 hour Tester and Specialist Training
San Bernardino Valley College Instructor: Gary Verholtz (909) 593-3266
Santiago Canyon College Cross-Connection Control Specialist Class is WUS 091
L.A. Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Contractors Backflow Technician Training
Cuyamaca College Instructor: Felix Garcia (Tester Class) (858) 292-6392 WWTR 280
Instructor: Thom Deeds (Specialist Class) WWTR 282, 284
Palomar College: Instructor: Steve Plyler (Tester Class) (760) 438-2722
Instructor: Chris Castaing (Cross-Connection Control Specialist Class)
Ventura College: Water Quality Protection and Cross-Connection Control WS V16
Los Angeles Trade Tech College: Course is Plumbing 31
Cal-Nevada AWWA Jennifer Sandoval (909) 481-7200

ABPA Tester Certification Program

Excerpts from the Frequently Asked Questions at the ABPA National Site

The ABPA Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester certification program is for individuals meeting all of the requirements of the rules governing the program.  In many jurisdictions where there are no local certification programs, the ABPA Tester Certificate may be recognized.  Certification means that you have met minimum performance requirements as a backflow prevention assembly tester.

To attain ABPA tester certification, you must have:

Training in the theory, design and field testing of backflow prevention assemblies; and/or

At least two years of experience in testing backflow prevention assemblies within a recognized certification program.

The application fee is $60.00, and the certificate is valid for three years.  There is a two part test.  First, a closed book written exam must be successfully completed.  Second, an individual hands-on performance exam on the RP, DC, PVB and SVB must be successfully completed.  

For more information, check the ABPA web site or contact ABPA via phone at (877) 227-2127 or via e-mail.

ABPA Cross-Connection Control Certification Program

As a benefit to the cross connection control community, ABPA has introduced a voluntary certification program, the Cross-Connection Control Specialist. The Specialist certification was developed to test the knowledge of persons administering a Cross-Connection Control Program. Many states and provinces in North America today have cross-connection control programs, but very few certification programs exists for cross-connection control specialists. The Specialist certification examination is available to any person who meets all ABPA rule requirements governing the program.

The applicant must take a closed book written exam consisting of 100 multiple choice questions based on the cross-connection control specialist Need-To-Know criteria. A minimum score of 70% must be achieved.

Prerequisites for taking the ABPA Certification Specialist examination (must meet one of the following options):

Option One: Obtain traiing based on the ABPA Specialist Need-to-Know criteria and be a currently certified ABPA Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester.

Option Two: Show two (2) years experience in the administration of a cross-connection control program and be a currently certified ABPA Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester.

Option Three: Show five (5) years experience int he administration of a cross-connection control program.

The Specialist Need-to-Know Criteria was developed by the certification committee from an analysis of the required job responsibilities of a cross-connection control program administrator. The Need-To-Know criteria may be found on the ABPA website.

To apply for the Specialist exam:

Obtain an application from the ABPA website.
Submit the completed application and the application fee to the national office at least 30 days prior to the exam day.
Exams are conducted at various times and places throughout North America. Visit the ABPA web site for an examination site near you.

The Specialist Certification is valid for three (3) years. A recertification is required every 3 (three) year period.

Upon successful completion of the written examination, an applicant will receive:

A wall certificate.
An ABPA Specialist certification number.
Information/wallet card.
Your name may be published on the ABPA web site.

To obtain additional information regarding the Specialist Certification and become part of the leading organization in cross-connection control, visit the ABPA web site or contact the ABPA National Office, P.O. Box 3051, Bryan, TX 77805. The office can be contacted by e-mail as well.

Southern California County Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester Certification Requirements

The USC Foundation for Cross-Connection Control and Hyraulic Research has compiled an extensive list of Southern California Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester Certification Requirements for the various counties.


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Revised 08/30/2016 10:11 AM