Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Health and Human Resources
Virginia Department of Health
State Board of Health
Petition 152
Petition Information
Petition Title Request to Allow Reduced Frequency of Certain Cross Connection Device Inspections
Date Filed 8/31/2011    [Transmittal Sheet]
Petitioner G. M. Loupassi, Member, Virginia House of Delegates 
Petitioner's Request

The petitioner requests that the State Board of Health amend its regulations governing cross connection control and backflow prevention, contained in Virginia's Waterworks Regulations (12 VAC 5-590-580 et seq.).  Currently, the regulations call for, in relevant part, annual inspections of backflow prevention devices on individual homeowners’ lawn sprinkler systems. The petitioner suggests, in a letter to the Commissioner, that a tiered system with lesser requirements for lower risk connections, such as individual homeowners’ lawn sprinkler systems, might be in order, while also recognizing that "[p]erhaps there are solutions that I am unaware of. . . ."  The petitioner writes that "[g]iven the relatively low risk of contamination from such a source [lawn sprinkler systems], combined with the onerous burden placed on homeowners with such systems, I respectfully ask that you review these regulations and consider a tiered system, with lesser requirements for lower risk connections." 

Agency's Plan

Following a 21-day public comment period, VDH will consider the petition in light of any comments or information received.

Comment Period Began 9/26/2011    Ended 10/16/2011
Virginia Register Announcement Submitted on 8/31/2011
The Virginia Register of Regulations
Published on: 9/26/2011     Volume: 28  Issue: 2
Agency Decision Take no action [Transmittal Sheet]    
Response Date 1/13/2012
Decision Publication Date Published on: 2/13/2012     Volume: 28  Issue: 12
Agency Decision Summary

It is the Board of Health's (Board) determination not to grant the Petition for Rulemaking.  The Board believes the current regulatory provisions are appropriate and protective of public health.

The Board relied upon the following information in making its determination:

The Virginia Waterworks Regulations complies with the International Plumbing Code (Sections 312.10.1 and 608.16.5) by requiring annual inspection/testing of backflow prevention devices on irrigation systems to protect public health because of the high degree of hazard associated with these systems.  This practice is also supported by the American Water Works Association Manual of Water Supply Practices, Recommended Practice for Backflow Prevention and Cross-Connection Control.

Should a backflow prevention device fail on a homeowner's irrigation system, there is nothing to prevent contaminants such as chemical fertilizers, pesticides, parasites, animal feces and waterborne viruses from entering the resident's home and the entire public drinking water system, creating a high risk to public health.

The Board received 19 public comments during the regulatory public comment period.  Eleven of the 19 comments came from public utilities and various plumbing and irrigation companies in Virginia in support of the current regulations requiring annual inspection/testing of irrigation systems.  The remaining comments, predominantly from Chesterfield County residents, supported less frequent inspection/testing.

Contact Information
Name / Title: Robert A. K. Payne  / Legal Affairs Manager
Address: 109 Governor St.
Office of Drinking Water
Richmond, 23219
Email Address:
Telephone: (804)864-7498    FAX: ()-    TDD: ()-