Accepting a Private Sewer in the Right-of-Way

The City of Portland code requires individual properties to have direct and independent connections to the public sewer. However, the City may accept or adopt a private sewer line in the right-of-way serving residential properties under certain conditions.
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Residential Sewer Line Acceptance

If the City of Portland accepts your private residential sewer line, it means the City will assume ownership of your private line. You will not have to pay a city branch charge if the private sewer is in good condition and meets all acceptance criteria.

Acceptance Criteria

  • The sewer line serves residential properties
  • The sewer line is at least six inches in diameter
  • There is a clean-out or maintenance hole for the line where it connects to the city sewer system
  • The line meets current city standards or standards in effect at the time of original construction, as of the date of petition:
  • All property owners served by the sewer which are requesting the adoption of the sewer line must have paid the applicable charges and fees outlined in Section 9 of the Nonconforming Sewer Conversion Rules
  • All property owners served by the sewer have signed and notarized transfer-of-ownership agreements relinquishing ownership of the sewer
  • The line has been cleaned and its condition verified with a video or other city-approved inspection method within the previous six months, and Environmental Services has given the line a grade of 2 or better according to the scale in Section 7.A.7 of the Nonconforming Sewer Conversion Rules

The City's Decision

Environmental Services staff will evaluate the request and make one of four decisions:

  1. The City will accept the line as-is
  2. The line needs repair to meet the eligibility criteria in Section 7.B.1  of the Nonconforming Sewer Conversion Rules
  3. The properties served by the sewer meet the Systems Improvement Decision Criteria in Section 6 of the Nonconforming Sewer Conversion Rules, and the city already has plans (subject to change) to provide a new public sewer adjacent to the property within two years based on current budget priorities
  4. The line does not meet the criteria, and the city will not accept the line

Encroachment Permits 

Continued use of a private system within the public right-of-way that the Environmental Services Chief Engineer has refused to accept or for which the property owners have decided not to seek acceptance will require a revocable private utility encroachment permit from PBOT per Portland City Code Chapter 17.24 and Administrative Rule TRN-8.08.

Apply for a Private Sewer in the Public Right-of-Way Acceptance

To apply for a private sewer in the public right-of-way acceptance, visit the application page for information on how to apply.