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Septic Decommission Permits

Learn about septic decommissioning permits and inspections for septic tanks, cesspools and seepage pits within Multnomah County. You need decommissioning permits when connecting to a public sanitary sewer from a live septic system, and may be required for demolitions permits or building permits.
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Decommissioning permit application and important information   

When you need a septic decommission permit

Please note, septic decommissioning IS NOT REQUIRED for a real estate transaction. Some examples of when you need a decommissioning permit: 

  • A septic decommissioning permit is required for any septic system, cesspool or seepage pit (septic system) when: A property connects to public sanitary sewer and the active septic system is removed from service. The source of the sewage is permanently eliminated, i.e. the structure served by a septic feature is demolished. New construction is proposed within 10 feet of an abandoned system 
  • Prior to the approval of a land division of a property with an abandoned septic feature 
  • Prior to the approval of a property line adjustment that will result in an abandoned septic feature being located on a different lot than the structure it served or located within 5 feet of a proposed property line. 
  • To fill a depression or sink hole resulting from an abandoned septic feature. 
  • Final inspection approval of a City of Portland septic decommissioning permit is required to have a septic decommissioning on record in Multnomah County. 
  • A separate City of Portland septic decommissioning permit may be required if a septic system has been decommissioned without the benefit of a permit and future development (e.g. work described above) requires an approved decommissioning permit.  
  • Decommissioning will require excavation of the existing yard. 

Apply for a septic decommission permit  

Please complete the information in the left-hand column of the Septic Evaluation Application: 

  • Job Site Information and Location 
  • Property Owner Information 
  • Project/System Description 
  • Applicant Information 
  • Check Decommissioning box on top right 

You don't have to include a building permit or engineered drawings with the application. You can email us your completed application. The decommissioning permit will be set up within 1-2 business days. We'll contact the applicant with information about how to make fee payment using credit card. The decommissioning permit will be issued upon payment. 

Who can do the work 

Many types of contractors can perform septic decommissioning work including excavation companies, sanitary sewer contractors, specialty companies for home sales, and septic professionals. Homeowners and others may also perform the decommissioning work. You do not need a trade license to get a decommissioning permit. 

Get ready for septic decommission permit inspections

To schedule a decommissioning inspection, call the automated Requests for Inspection phone number. You need your IVR number and the three-digit code for the inspection. The IVR code for septic decommissioning is 842. 

Our inspection staff will call between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m the morning of the inspection. We'll confirm the site is accessible and the work is ready for inspection. We'll also provide an inspection window for arrival. 

Schedule a septic decommission permit inspection, get inspection results and make corrections

To schedule an inspection, call the automated inspection request line. You will need your IVR or permit number and the three digit code for the inspection. Get the results of the inspection on Portland Maps permit/case search the next day. Read more about why work does not get approved and how to schedule a reinspection.

When the inspection has been approved, you may cover the cesspool or septic tank.

Contact septic inspectors

If you have questions about septic inspections, you can talk to an inspector between 7am – 8am on business days by calling Onsite Septic Permits & Inspections.


Building Code Plan Review

Development Services

phone number503-823-1456

Monday through Friday from 8 am - 5 pm. Leave a message with detailed information.

Oregon Relay Service711 Oregon Relay Service

Onsite Septic Permits and Inspections

Development Services

phone number503-823-6892

Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Leave a message with detailed information.

Oregon Relay Service711 Oregon Relay Service

Requests for Inspection

Development Services

phone number503-823-7000

Automated Line - Requires an IVR or permit number

Oregon Relay Service711 Oregon Relay Service