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Portland Water Bureau

From forest to faucet, we deliver the best drinking water in the world.

GENERAL INFORMATION: 503-823-7404

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97204

More Contact Info

Legal Requirements

What Does the Law Say About Backflow Assemblies?


Oregon Administrative Rules on Backflow govern public water systems and includes backflow regulations. The Department of Human Services enforces these rules and approves the types of backflow assemblies that can be installed. DHS requires the following of property owners:

  • Install a backflow assembly if there is an existing or potential cross connection.

  • Test the assembly after installation, annually, and if the assembly is moved or repaired, also a requirement of the State Plumbing Code. A State-certified backflow tester must perform the test, and send copies of the test report to the local water provider. The assembly must function properly to pass the test. 

  • Repair the assembly if it is not functioning properly. A certified tester must retest the assembly after a repair. 

  • The Water providers can deny or discontinue water service if a property owner fails to follow the law.

Local water providers must:

  • Set up and maintain backflow assembly records for water services located inside their distribution system. 

  • Enforce all state and local laws regarding backflow assembly installation. This includes ensuring that owners test the assemblies each year. The Portland Water Bureau sends annual test notices to backflow assembly owners. 

  • Send an annual report to DHS. The Portland Water Bureau compiles this report from test reports received from backflow assembly testers.

Can property owners remove their backflow prevention assembly?
The law requires that you notify your water provider before removing a backflow assembly. A water provider inspector will need to inspect the plumbing to verify the cross connection has been eliminated. A plumbing permit may be required to perform this type of work.

Plumbing permits are required for irrigation systems.

All irrigation systems supplied by privately owned water systems require a plumbing permit before installation. Piping and plumbing materials upstream of the backflow prevention assembly must meet State Plumbing Code standards. To learn about permits and standards for the City of Portland, call 823-7479.


- 21.04.030 Backflow Assembly Installation Requirements  (The Portland Water Bureau has posted the standards referenced in this section of City code)
- 21.04.040 Backflow Prevention Assembly 
- 21.12.020 Size of Service Connection 
- 21.12.060 New Service Where Change in Size or Relocation is Desired 
- 21.12.090 Permit for Temporary Service 
- 21.12.100 Annual Fire Hydrant Permit 
- 21.12.190 Reactivation of Abandoned Service 
- 21.12.200 Leaking or Unused Services 
- 21.12.220 Fire Protection Service 
- 21.12.230 Permit and Report Required to Do Plumbing Work 
- 21.12.240 Service Location Change 
- 21.12.270 Ownership of Meters 
- 21.12.320 Contamination of the City Water Supply and Requirements for Backflow Protection 
- 21.24.020 Fire Hydrants 
- 21.24.030 Water for Naval Vessels in Harbor 
- 21.28.010 Service Outside City 

Backflow Program
Coordinator: 503-823-7336
Records: 503-823-3256
 

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