Environmental Services is moving forward with proposed changes to ENB-4.07 regarding the criteria the bureau will apply when evaluating route of service

News Article
Environmental Services proposes revisions to ENB-4.07 to remove obsolete policies and provide guidance and clarity on the decision-making criteria it will apply when evaluating route of service options for properties connecting to the public sewer system. The public comment period is now closed.
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What is Route of Service and Why is it Important?

The route of service is the path sewer pipes take from a building to a public sewer mainline and is how a given property establishes sewer service. It is officially defined in Portland City Code Chapter 17.32 and implemented through the guidance and decision-making criteria provided in ENB-4.07. City code defines route of service as “the Environmental Services-approved path of connection of a building sewer or private stormwater conveyance to a City sewer, storm sewer or drainage system.”

These policies define Environmental Services’ authority to dictate the configuration of a property’s connection to the public sewer system, and require sewer extensions for properties that do not currently have sewer service. Environmental Services maintains these specific standards to ensure the public sanitary sewer system protects public health and safety, and to govern the construction of new public sewer lines to provide effective and efficient development, operation and maintenance of the sewer system.

What is Not Changing?

Environmental Services retains the authority and existing policy to require properties to connect to the public sewer system along an Environmental Services-approved route of service, including the possibility of requiring a public sewer extension. Determination of a route of service relies on policies requiring conformance with current sewer design and construction standards, which are not changing (e.g., Sewer and Drainage Facilities Design Manual and the Standard Construction Specifications).

Proposed Changes

Environmental Services has rewritten and renamed the rule to focus on the guiding principles and criteria that will be considered when evaluating route of service options for properties requesting or required to connect to the public sewer system. The summary below describes the changes proposed. In all cases, the changes are intended to clarify the criteria Environmental Services will apply when evaluating route of service approvability.

Applicability. Environmental Services will apply this rule when evaluating route of service options for developing and redeveloping properties, properties with nonconforming sewers, properties converting from an onsite sewage disposal system, and for situations where connection to the public sewer system is otherwise requested or required.

Guiding principles for route of service. This rule now describes the defining characteristics of the preferred route of service and provides criteria to facilitate connections that will align with those features. As further described in the rule, properties will connect to the public sewer by the most direct route possible, taking into consideration current design and construction standards, worker safety and health, ability to maintain operational and performance efficiency throughout the sewer system, and ability to provide services at a reasonable and economical cost to residents. 

To the extent practicable, an approvable route of service will exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Provides a lateral connection that is perpendicular to the sewer main and the public right-of-way.
  • Enables a property to make a connection that flows by gravity within the limits of the public right-of-way. 
  • Enables a property to directly connect to a public sewer main without crossing another property.
  • Meets current sewer design, construction, maintenance, and operational standards.

Route of service options. The rule provides more guidance and improves clarity regarding the criteria that will be used when prescribing the following routes of service:

  • Direct Lateral Connection. A property with frontage to an existing public sewer is required to make a direct perpendicular connection to the public sewer main from an existing and available public sewer lateral (i.e., branch sewer), or construction of a new sewer lateral, when possible.
  • Other Options: When a direct connection is not possible, the new rule discusses criteria for other route of service options. These include:
    • Connection through an angled lateral 
    • Connection through a private sewer easement
    • Construction of a public sewer extension

Factors that can influence route of service decisions. Environmental Services retains the authority to approve the route of service, dictate a new route of service, or prescribe an approvable route of service options for any property based on site and system conditions. For all route of service evaluations, several factors are considered, including: 

  • System type (e.g., pressurized, gravity, sanitary, combined, etc.) 
  • Condition of the existing system
  • Topography and geographic location
  • System maintenance and operation
  • Geological and soil conditions

Sections Removed from ENB-4.07

Updates will remove the following sections that contain policies that are outdated or that have been superseded by other codes and rules:

  • Sewer Connection (Section 6 of existing ENB-4.07): The policies and design standards included in this section are superseded by ENB-4.14 and ENB-4.17.
  • Connections to Existing Manholes (Section 8 of existing ENB-4.07): The policies and design standards included in this section are superseded by ENB-4.14 and ENB-4.17.
  • Building Plan Reviews (Section 9 of existing ENB-4.07): This section is informative and provides little in terms of policy. City code establishes the authority for Environmental Services to review and issue permits for any project that prompts compliance review within its legal authority and responsibility.
  • Public Works Permit (Section 10 of existing ENB-4.07): The criteria and policies included in this section are superseded by other policy documents, including ENB-4.14 and TRN-9.07.

Why are We Making Changes?

The guidance and criteria included in the existing ENB-4.07 have not been substantively updated since the rule’s adoption in 2004. Over the years, there have been significant changes in development types, configurations, and patterns. As a result, Environmental Services has determined updates to policies affecting route of service decisions are needed to clarify the guiding principles for route of service and to reflect the full range of criteria, and options that staff will apply during its review.

What Are the Anticipated Impacts?

Environmental Services anticipates minimal impacts on applicants because the changes and additions to this rule formalize existing staff practices regarding route of service approvability.

Proposed Changes to ENB-4.07

How to Comment

The public comment period closed at 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 21. Contact the Environmental Services Manuals, Code and Rule Team with questions.

Public hearing cancelled.

Environmental Services received no requests to hold a public hearing by the deadline on June 13.

For More Information 

Contact the Manuals, Code and Rule Team for questions or more information. Contact information is on this page.