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Chapter 21.12 Water Services

City Code Chapter

21.12.010 New Service to Property Adjacent to Water Main.

A request for a new service within the City and adjacent to a City water main is subject to the provisions of this code and the Annual Rates Ordinance.

To obtain water service, the service connection must be along the front lot line of the property to be served and be adjacent to a right-of-way in which there is a public water main.

The Chief Engineer may approve of a new water service within an easement across a separate parcel of land if the parcel the applicant desires to serve has no front lot line along a right-of-way (a landlocked parcel).  The landlocked parcel must be originally platted and may not have been created through a street vacation or land-use action.  The applicant must provide a copy of the recorded easement prior to startup of construction.

The Chief Engineer may approve of a new water service from a main within an existing public easement.  The service must be within the easement and be readily accessible for construction, maintenance and meter reading.

If an application is made for service from a water main less than 6 inches in diameter, the connection will be deemed temporary unless such main was designated as a permanent main.  If the connection is temporary, the connection will not entitle the person or premises to have said main replaced with a larger main at the City’s expense.  The application for service from a 4-inch main or smaller will be deemed a waiver of any deficiency of supply, pressure or any other inadequacy, whether attributable to prior or future connections or extensions. The application will be deemed a covenant and the applicant must comply with all the provisions of this Title and the rules and regulations of the Portland Water Bureau.

Any application for a new service outside the city limits must comply with all provisions of this code and the City’s Comprehensive Plan Policy 8.11, Annexation.

21.12.020 Size of Service and Meter.

Whenever an application for water service and meter is received, the Chief Engineer may reject such application if, in the judgment of the Chief Engineer, the service and meter size requested is not sized appropriately for estimated use by the premises. Estimates of use must follow generally accepted engineering standards from the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The Chief Engineer will specify the appropriate size of the Portland Water Bureau service and size and type of meter. The service size, as determined by the Chief Engineer, will not be a warranty of sufficiency for pressure or volume of water to be afforded the premises. No service and meter less than 1 inch in size may be installed.

The installation of a backflow prevention assembly may cause the pressure or volume of water to be less than supplied previously by the City at the meter.  It is the responsibility of the applicant to calculate the effect of installing a backflow prevention assembly in addition to sizing for domestic and fire needs.

If larger waterflows are required for fire protection, the applicant must pay for that improvement.

21.12.030 Application for Installation or Removal of Water Service.

All applicants must make written application to connect with or disconnect premises from the City water system on forms provided by the Portland Water Bureau. The applicant must complete these forms in full and must agree to abide by the rules and regulations of the Portland Water Bureau. If the applicant is not the property owner, the applicant must include written approval from the property owner that the work is authorized on the private property.

All applicants for water services must submit a scalable site utility plan showing the whole street running along the length of the property at the time of application that indicates the size and type of service required, location and type of backflow assembly when required and all existing and proposed utilities in the proximity of the proposed service location and the entire width of the right-of-way. The site plan must show all required clearances from existing and proposed utilities, guy wires, trees, appurtenances, structures and the distance from the service to the nearest property line. If an easement is being used, that must be included on the site plan as well.

Payment for service to a new building or structure that requires a building permit will not be accepted until the permit has been issued as provided in the building regulations of the City. No application for a service may be approved unless the conditions set forth in this Title are met.

Following approval and payment of the service and the connection to the City water, the new water main must be installed and tested before the new main and service can be connected to the public water system.

Where backflow protection is required, the backflow assembly must be installed and tested prior to connection to the main and must be compliant with applicable State of Oregon and City backflow prevention and cross-connection control rules and regulations. Installation costs associated with providing required backflow protection must be borne by the applicant.

The City’s acceptance of any fees for application or permits does not waive any of the conditions set forth in this Title or grant specific right of connection.

Upon application for any development-related building permit or application for additional services or upgrades, the Portland Water Bureau may review the site for adequate water service size or other code requirements. If an existing service is determined to be inadequate to serve the site or nonconforming to this code, the Portland Water Bureau will determine the appropriate requirements to bring the site into compliance.

21.12.040 Cancellation of Application for Service.

An applicant may request in writing that an application for service be canceled up to the time that the service is installed. The Portland Water Bureau will refund the application fee, except for any portion of the fee needed to cover Portland Water Bureau costs for partial processing of the application or for actual work done on partial installation, plus a 15 percent service charge for the cost of handling and overhead. A service that has not been installed within one year of the date of payment of fee statement will be canceled, and the fee less the accrued costs plus 15 percent for the cost of handling and overhead will be returned to the applicant.

21.12.050 Service Branch Installation and Removal.

Service branches for future services may be installed before the design of a development is constructed if there is a planned development with preliminary site and utility plans submitted to the Portland Water Bureau, another public agency, or by a developer, with the prior written approval of the Chief Engineer, when the Chief Engineer determines that such installation will benefit the City. Installation of a service branch for a future service may be installed concurrently with the construction of a public improvement project if sufficient detail on size and location can be determined and prepayment for the service branch is made. If an application is not made to install the meter or service activation within 5 years of service branch installation, the Portland Water Bureau may disconnect the service branch at the main with appropriate notice to the property owner. If service is requested after 5 years from date of the branch installation and has not been previously disconnected, the Portland Water Bureau will determine the condition of the service branch and whether it may be used. The applicant must pay for the cost of renewal of the service, if required. Service branches not used at the time of the development or redevelopment of the property must be removed when new services are installed. The applicant is responsible for all costs to renew or remove the unused service branches.

21.12.060 New Service Where Change in Size or Relocation Is Desired.

A.  When a new smaller or larger service is desired at a property and the Chief Engineer concurs that the requested size is appropriate, the following charges will apply:

1.  For each new larger domestic or irrigation service, an old domestic service that is 2 inches or smaller will be removed at no cost.

2.  For a new smaller or same-sized service, the charge to remove an existing service is provided in the Annual Rates Ordinance.

3.  Charges to remove inactivated service pipes larger than 2 inches are provided in the Annual Rates Ordinance.

B.  Charges to install new or relocated services are provided in the Annual Rates Ordinance.

C.  If the Portland Water Bureau has identified a service as being defective, a new service of the same size will be installed by the Portland Water Bureau at no charge. A smaller size may be substituted at no charge to the applicant at the time the defective service is being replaced, provided there is written authorization from the property owner if that is someone other than the applicant. If an application for a larger service is received prior to replacement, the applicant must pay the difference between installation fee of the two sizes, and the System Development Charge (SDC) for the larger meter, with a credit for the SDC equal to the meter for the service being removed as provided in Chapter 21.16.

D.  If a service is relocated or changed in size, additional backflow protection may be required and must be installed and inspected by the Portland Water Bureau prior to service activation. The cost of backflow protection is the responsibility of the property owner.

21.12.070 Separate Service.

A.  Separate meters are required to supply water to:

1.  Each separate lot, parcel, house or building under separate ownership;

2.  Buildings on multiple contiguous lots under the same ownership;

3.  New mixed-use buildings will be required to have a separate commercial meter;

4.  New non-residential developments which will include irrigation of 1,000 square ft or greater will be required to install a separate irrigation meter.

B.  Separate meters may be installed to supply water to:

1.  New accessory dwelling units (ADU’s);

2.  New residential and multifamily developments with more than one unit;

3.  Developments that are required to up-size their meter; or,

4.  Other developments approved by the Chief Engineer.

Effective Date. This Subsection will go into effect on July 1, 2021.

21.12.080 Service to Property Partially Outside City.

Where service is requested for a property lies partially inside and partially outside the city limits, service may be provided if the principal structure is on the portion of the property inside the city limits and within the urban growth boundary of the City. Should other structures be in said portion of the property outside the City, the Portland Water Bureau may provide service through separate services and meters and must charge rates in accordance with outside City service rates. Such services must be installed at the expense of the property owner.  See Section 21.08.040 for additional requirements.

21.12.090 Temporary Water Service.

The Portland Water Bureau may install a temporary water service to a site that has no long-term need of a permanent water service, such as to a construction site or temporary irrigation for plant establishment in the right-of-way. Use of a temporary service must not exceed two years from the date of installation.

The applicant desiring temporary service must submit a request for service to the Portland Water Bureau and declare the intended purpose of the service. The applicant must specify the location of the service, the length of time needed, the volume of water required, and the peak flow rate anticipated.

If temporary service is allowed, the Portland Water Bureau will install a service and a meter at the expense of the applicant. Fees to remove the service must be charged to the applicant at the same time as the installation fee. If the Portland Water Bureau installs a temporary service, the applicant must utilize it as if it were a normal permanent service.

All temporary water services are required to be equipped with a minimum of a double check valve assembly installed for backflow protection. The backflow assembly must be installed at the service connection to the premises in accordance with Section 21.12.320.

Temporary fire hydrant permit. If the temporary service is supplied from a fire hydrant, the applicant obtaining the temporary fire hydrant permit must continuously follow the established rules and regulations governing the use of a fire hydrant, as detailed in Section 21.24.020, as well as all City, state and federal rules, regulations and guidelines governing the proper use and disposal of water. The applicant must meter or accurately gauge usage of water from the fire hydrant and report that usage to the Portland Water Bureau. The applicant must not use water from a fire hydrant other than that specified in the permit without prior written approval of the Portland Water Bureau. The applicant must use water exclusively for the stated purpose of the permit and must not allow others to utilize the permit to obtain water for any other purpose.

All temporary water services are required to be equipped with a minimum of a double check valve assembly installed at the service connection to the premises or on a City fire hydrant when permitted for such use. A reduced pressure backflow assembly may be required if the type of use of water warrants a higher level of protection. The backflow assembly installation must be inspected by the Portland Water Bureau prior to service activation.  See Section 21.12.320 for additional requirements.

21.12.100 Annual Fire Hydrant Permit.

The Portland Water Bureau may, upon application, issue a permit for the use of fire hydrants as a source of water for commercial enterprises or government agencies that have continuous need of water at various locations throughout the City.  Sufficient need must be shown to preclude obtaining water from a single permanent service. The fire hydrant permit allows use of the water exclusively for the stated purpose of the permit and must not allow others to utilize the permit to obtain water for any other purpose. Annual fire hydrant permits are renewed for the calendar year, beginning in January.  The cost for an annual fire hydrant permit, not issued in January, must be prorated. The cost for an annual fire hydrant permit is set in the Annual Rates Ordinance. The applicant receiving the permit, and all persons who obtain water from fire hydrants, must continuously follow the rules and regulations governing the use of fire hydrants, as detailed in Section 21.24.020, as well as all City, state and federal rules, regulations and guidelines governing the proper use and disposal of water.  All water trucks must be inspected for proper backflow protection equipment every three years by the Portland Water Bureau.

21.12.110 Installation of New Services from the Mains.

A.  The Portland Water Bureau performs all work for installation of a water service within the existing public right-of-way or within an approved easement for domestic, fire and irrigation services, from the meter and the meter stop through the vault wall if the meter is in a vault to the first coupling, and for fire services from the main to the property side of the curb valve.

B.  The property owner, tenant or developer is responsible for connecting to the service at the termination point whether in the public right-of-way, an approved easement, or on private property. When the service is in a vault, the connection must be on the private property side of the meter after the pipe exits the vault wall.

C.  The Chief Engineer may allow a developer to install all or some of a water service in a subdivision or in conjunction with a developer installed water main currently on private property.  Installation and maintenance of private water lines on private property is regulated by Title 25 of Portland City Code, as administered by the Bureau of Development Services. The Portland Water Bureau may also inspect, with notification to the property owner, private premises plumbing to apply applicable City or state cross-connection control rules and regulations as warranted.  See Sections 21.12.320 and 21.24.040.

D.  New services that are installed for future use without the meter are referred to as a Service – Branch and additional fees will apply for installation of the meter and activation.

E.  A Service – Curb may or may not be useable for new connections and fees may apply.

F.  Responsibilities for maintaining water services are found in Section 21.12.130.

21.12.120 Connections to the Water Service.

No connections to the water service may be made between the main and meter stop for metered services, or the valve nearest the property line for fire services, if in a public street, or the easement line if in a private street or an easement, unless installed by the City or authorized by the Chief Engineer. No private hose connections are allowed within a public or private street. Any discovered connections will be deemed a public health hazard, illegal and subject to enforcement actions per Chapter 21.24.

21.12.130 Service Maintenance Responsibility.

This Section clarifies which sections of the service are the responsibility of the Portland Water Bureau or the property owner, tenant or other party responsible for the water service to maintain, repair or replace. Responsibilities for installation of new service are in Section 21.12.110.

A.  For domestic and irrigation services:

1.  If the connection is 1 inch or smaller, the Portland Water Bureau is responsible for maintaining, repairing, or replacing the section from the main through the meter to the meter stop. The property owner is responsible for maintaining, repairing, or replacing the portion from the meter stop to the right-of-way and on the private property.

2.  If the connection is larger than 1 inch, the Portland Water Bureau is responsible for maintaining, repairing, or replacing the section that goes through the meter and the meter valve, through the vault wall if the meter is in a vault, and the vault itself.  The property owner is responsible for maintaining, repairing, or replacing the portion downstream from the meter valve, or if the meter is within a vault, the portion downstream of the meter after the pipe exits the vault wall.

B.  For fire services, the Portland Water Bureau is responsible for maintaining, repairing, or replacing the section that goes from the main to the property side of the curb valve. The property owner is responsible for maintaining, repairing, or replacing the portion downstream from the property side of the curb valve.

C.  The Portland Water Bureau may do work on the property owner’s side of the meter as necessary to reconnect an existing service line as part of a Portland Water Bureau project, maintenance, repair, or replacement activity with permission from the property owner.

21.12.140 Water Pressure at Service.

The Portland Water Bureau's goal is to provide water pressure to the property line in the range of 40 pounds per square inch (psi) to 110 psi. State of Oregon Department of Human Services and Oregon Health Authority rules dictate that a water service must provide a minimum of 20 psi at the meter. Pumps, elevated reservoirs and tanks, and pressure-reducing valves are utilized to provide pressure in the range of 40 psi to 110 psi when possible or practical. The Bureau of Development Services Plumbing Division, through Title 25 of Portland City Code, regulates plumbing and pressure on private property.  Title 25 requires a pressure-reducing device for on-site domestic water systems that receive water at greater than 80 psi.

If the pressure to the service is within the range of 20 psi to 40 psi, the property owner may choose to install a booster pump system on the property owner’s side of the meter to improve the pressure of the private plumbing system. The property owner is responsible for the installation, operation and maintenance of any pressure-boosting system. The addition of a booster pump may require the property owner to install an appropriate backflow prevention assembly on the water service, on private property, directly adjacent to the property line on the centerline of the City water service. See Section 21.12.320 for requirements.

The Portland Water Bureau does not guarantee that water can be provided continuously at a particular pressure or rate of flow. Varying demands on the system and the requirement to change in operations affect the flow and pressure available to the service.

21.12.150 Damage through Pipes and Fixtures.

The Portland Water Bureau is not liable for damages caused by water running from open or faulty fixtures or pipes installed by the property owner or tenants or their contractors. The property owner is financially responsible for the repair of any water facilities that are damaged as a part of the property owner’s or tenants’ maintenance or repair work.

When a service pipe at the proper elevation or grade is damaged or destroyed by contractors or others in the performance of street work, or when service pipes are damaged by electrolysis, the person, contractor or company responsible for such damage or destruction must be billed by the Portland Water Bureau for the cost of repairing or replacing such pipes on the basis of the cost plus overhead, as provided in the finance regulations of Title 5 of Portland City Code.

21.12.160 Authority to Disconnect a Property Due to Potential Damage to Water System or Another Property’s Facility.

A.  The Portland Water Bureau may disconnect a property if it determines that the operation, location or configuration of the facilities or the meter used to provide service

1.  poses a hazard to the City system or City employees or to the system or facilities of other properties;

2.  causes pressure surges;

3.  creates other hazards that are detrimental to operating the City water system or the water system or facilities of another property; or,

4.  lacks required currently approved backflow protection.

B.  If the Portland Water Bureau determines that such operations present a significant hazard, the property may be disconnected without prior notice. The Portland Water Bureau will notify the property owner or appropriate person of the disconnection as soon as is reasonably possible and explain the necessity of the action taken. Before the water service is reconnected, the property owner must provide the Portland Water Bureau proof that changes have been made that may preclude a recurrence of the hazardous condition.

C.  Where a hazard exists, but potential damage is not judged to be imminent, the Portland Water Bureau will give the property owner prior notice of the intent to disconnect. The Portland Water Bureau will state the reason for the disconnection.

21.12.170 Use of Private Water and City Water.

A property owner of premises desiring to use both the City water supply and a supply of water other than that furnished by the Portland Water Bureau, including City water that has been stored for alternate use, may obtain water service only upon complying with the following conditions:

A.  Prior to obtaining water service, an approved reduced pressure backflow assembly (RPBA) must be installed as outlined in the Portland Water Bureau’s “Backflow Assembly Installation Requirements” and Oregon Administrative Rules 333-061-0070, “Cross Connection Control Requirements.”  See Section 21.12.320 for additional requirements.

B.  If water from a supply other than that provided by the Portland Water Bureau is found without RPBA protection, the City water supply to the premises must be immediately shut off with or without notice. Service must not be reestablished until an approved RPBA has been installed at the service connection to the premises and has been inspected, tested and registered with the Portland Water Bureau.

On-site independent potable supply systems must comply with all rules and regulations determined by the Oregon Health Authority and must be assessed by the City for all standard System Development Charges for connection to City water service.

21.12.180 Disconnection of Service When Charges Have Not Been Paid.

If base or volumetric charges are not paid for a period of 12 months, the Portland Water Bureau may consider the service abandoned and may disconnect the service.  When backflow protection is required as outlined in this Title, abandoned or disconnected services must not be reactivated until adequate backflow protection has been installed, inspected and approved by the Portland Water Bureau. See Section 21.12.320 for requirements.

21.12.190 Reactivation of Curb Service.

The property owner or person responsible for the service may apply to the Portland Water Bureau to reactivate a curb service by paying the current service activation fee, listed in the Annual Rates Ordinance, to reinstall a meter on the service. The Portland Water Bureau may also require installation of a backflow prevention assembly prior to reactivating service. The existing pipe and connections may be used if the Portland Water Bureau determines them to be in sound condition and adequate for the intended use. If the piping or connection is found to no longer be fit for use and base charges have not been continuously paid, the property owner must pay for replacement of the existing piping.

If service is desired at a different location than existing or if a larger pipe and connection are required, service installation must be per Section 21.12.060.

21.12.200 Defective Services.

Where there is a defective service or leaking service within the public right-of-way or within a Portland Water Bureau easement between the main and the meter of a domestic (standard) or irrigation service, or between the main and the valve behind the curb of a fire service, the Portland Water Bureau will make all repairs free of charge. However, if the defect or leak is on a service for which the base charge or other charges are not being paid, the Portland Water Bureau may disconnect the service at the main. Services replaced because of defects or leaks must be renewed in the same size as the service removed, subject to the provisions which allow an owner of the property to request a change of service size (refer to Section 21.12.060). The Portland Water Bureau may require the installation of an approved backflow prevention assembly when a new service is approved.

21.12.210 Master Metering of More Than One Water Service.

Upon approval by the Chief Engineer, the Portland Water Bureau may permit the master metering of more than one water service, or to wholesale customers.  In such case, the owner or tenant of the premise served must designate someone who must, through written agreement with the Portland Water Bureau, be responsible for the payment of all water charges and the acceptance of service of all water related notices.  This person is liable for all water related charges until the agreement is terminated or a written agreement is established with another party.  In the event payment for water charges is not made in full when due, the Portland Water Bureau may terminate the service pursuant to normal procedures, in spite of the tender of partial payment by any other owner or tenant of the premises so served.

21.12.220 Service - Fire.

Water through a fire service may be used only for fire protection and suppression, and requires periodic system testing at the premises being served. It is unlawful to use a fire protection service for domestic supply, maintenance, irrigation or any other purpose.

A fire service 2 inches or larger that supplies only a fire system must be equipped with a detector metering device that is part of the backflow prevention assembly. This assembly must be installed and maintained by the property owner. A service that supplies water for multiple needs, such as for domestic use and for fire suppression, must be fully metered and must comply with the requirements of Section 21.12.030.

Backflow protection that complies with Section 21.12.320 is required on all fire services.

To avoid unauthorized use of a fire system, the Portland Water Bureau requires the property owner to install an approved full-flow meter under the following conditions:

A.  The existing detector metering device registers use of water for purposes other than to extinguish a fire or to test the system or

B.  Connections have been added where only a detector-metered backflow assembly exists.

When full-flow metering is required because of unauthorized use, the Portland Water Bureau will charge the property owner for installing the meter and/or the meter vault and will assess a System Development Charge based on the size of the service. The Portland Water Bureau policy for additional charges for unauthorized use of water from a fire protection system is established in Section 21.16.200.

21.12.230 Permit and Report Required to Do Plumbing Work.

It is unlawful for any plumber or other person to make installations, replacements, extensions or repairs to any City water service pipe, to connect one service pipe with another service pipe, to extend a pipe from one building to another building or to turn water on or off at any premises without written permission from the Chief Engineer. Such changes may require the installation of an approved backflow prevention assembly, as detailed in Section 21.12.320. After the issuance of a permit from the Bureau of Development Services to a plumber or other person authorized by the plumbing inspector to do plumbing work, the permittee must make a report in writing to the Plumbing Division of the Bureau of Development Services of all connections, attachments and extensions made in accordance with the permit within three days of completion of work.

21.12.240 Service Location Change on Portland Water Bureau Projects.

A.  When an existing service needs to be relocated as part of a Portland Water Bureau project, including when an existing service does not connect to a water main along the Front Lot Line, and the Portland Water Bureau is laying a new main or replacing an existing main in the right-of-way along the Front Lot Line, Portland Water Bureau will:

1.  Notify and coordinate with the property owner;

2.  Move (also known as relocate) the service connection to the new main in the right-of-way; and,

3.  Cut and permanently remove the old service connection.

B.  Re-alignment of the existing service line on private property, also known as backside plumbing, necessitated due to work identified in Subsection 21.12.240 A., must be coordinated with the property owner and performed by a licensed plumber as part of the Portland Water Bureau project or by a licensed plumber hired by the property owner.

C.  The Portland Water Bureau is responsible for reasonable costs to accomplish work identified in Subsections 21.12.240 A. and 21.12.240 B.

D.  After connection of the new service, the service line on the downstream side of the meter becomes the responsibility of the property owner to maintain, repair, and replace. See Section 21.12.130. Portland Water Bureau has no ownership or maintenance responsibility once the private service line has been tested, passed final plumbing permit inspection, and has been turned over to the property owner. 

E.  If a property owner wishes to change their service or meter size as part of the Portland Water Bureau project, the property owner is responsible for the difference in cost to upsize their service and/or meter, including SDC’s.

F.  When a service connection is relocated, the Portland Water Bureau will apply current engineering and public health standards, including but not limited, to replacement of any existing backflow devices and pressure reducing vaults.

G.  If the existing backflow protection does not meet current codes or the work is related to a code compliance order, the property owner is responsible for the cost of providing or updating backflow protection required by Section 21.12.320.

H.  If the backflow protection meets current codes, is in good condition and functioning correctly, and the service relocation is due to a Portland Water Bureau project, the Portland Water Bureau will pay for the costs to relocate or replace the backflow prevention device at the same time as the service relocation.

21.12.250 Location of Meters Inside City.

A.  Within the City, the water meter must be located in or adjacent to the street except where a City main is already located in an easement upon private property. For service within easements, the Portland Water Bureau may allow a water meter to be located on or adjacent to an existing line if the necessary easements for the meter installation are approved by the Chief Engineer. If a service from an easement requires a premises isolation backflow assembly, such protection must be installed immediately adjacent to the service connection on the private property side of the easement, at the easement line, and on the centerline of the City’s water service as it exits the easement.

B.  Unless this requirement is waived in a particular circumstance at the discretion of the Chief Engineer, and except as provided in Section 21.12.260, all water meters must be outside any buildings on the premises and must be safely accessible by Portland Water Bureau staff 24 hours a day for reading, testing, servicing or replacement.

21.12.260 Water Service in Basements Within the Public Right-of-Way.

A.  A metered water service and associated piping and equipment installed within a building's basement that extends into the public right-of-way (also known as a Vaulted Basement) must be enclosed to prevent damage to the building and its contents. The property owner served, at the owner's expense, must design, fabricate and install a waterproof vault that encloses the entire water service from the open wall to the backside of the meter assembly and separates it from other premises infrastructure, such as electrical panels, wires and equipment. Where premises isolation and backflow protection are required in such instances, the service connection to the premises will be that portion of piping exiting the waterproof vault.  Refer to Section 21.12.320 for additional requirements.

B.  If a metered water service and associated piping and equipment installed within a vaulted basement that extends into the public right-of-way is found to exist at any time without the proper waterproof vault, the Chief Engineer will notify the property owner of the requirements.  

The property owner must have the vault designed and installed within the time allowed by the Chief Engineer. The Chief Engineer may allow additional time for the installation for extenuating circumstances and may, at the Chief Engineer’s discretion, require a waiver and indemnity as provided in Subsection 21.12.260 D., in return for the grant of additional time.

If the property owner does not have the vault installed within the time allowed by the Chief Engineer, the Chief Engineer may deem that a hazard exists, and service to the property may be disconnected as provided in Section 21.12.160.

C.  The property owner must provide design plans that meet the requirements of this Title and any Portland Water Bureau guidelines that are applicable to waterproof vaults and backflow prevention. The design plans must be reviewed and accepted by the Chief Engineer.

The vault must be designed and installed according to the Portland Water Bureau requirements so that Portland Water Bureau staff may safely access the meter and associated equipment 24 hours a day, and so that the meter and associated equipment may be read, tested, serviced and removed from the sidewalk area above.

The vault must be designed and installed to support the meter assembly and the full weight of water that may fill the vault. At the property owner's expense, the Portland Water Bureau will furnish a frame and cover for the meter vault, which must be installed by the property owner.

The vault must be constructed of material that resists corrosion or be protected by a corrosion-resistant coating. The property owner is responsible for the integrity of the vault and must maintain the vault to keep it free of corrosion and in a clean condition.

The property owner must provide an opening through the outside basement wall for installation of the service and must seal the opening after installation of the pipe. The property owner must seal all openings to the vault except those leading to the sidewalk area.

D.  Except in cases of new services, the property owner, as an alternative to compliance with this Section, must execute for the benefit of the City an agreement, in a form satisfactory to the Chief Engineer and City Attorney, including the following:

1.  The property owner waives any claim for damages for personal injury or property damage against the City and its officers, agents and employees arising out of noncompliance with the requirements of this Section; and

2.  The property owner defends and holds harmless the City and its officers, agents and employees against any claim by any person for damages for personal injury or property damage arising out of noncompliance with the requirements of this Section.

21.12.270 Ownership of Meters.

All new services must have meters provided and installed by the Portland Water Bureau, except sewer meters; commercial, domestic and irrigation submeters; and as provided for fire protection in Section 21.12.220.  The cost of the meter plus installation will be charged to the applicant requesting the new service. The new meter is owned by the Portland Water Bureau.

The Portland Water Bureau will assume all repair, maintenance and future replacement responsibilities for new meters. For private meters that are used by the Portland Water Bureau for billing purposes, the Portland Water Bureau will perform all future repair, maintenance and replacement work at no charge to property owners or tenants. If the private meter is determined to be obsolete, the Portland Water Bureau will replace the privately-owned meter with a new Portland Water Bureau–owned meter at no charge to the property owner or tenants. The Portland Water Bureau will assume all responsibility for the cost of future meter repair or replacement.

As outside areas are annexed to the City, privately-owned meters will be repaired or replaced by the Portland Water Bureau on an as-needed basis with new Portland Water Bureau–owned meters at the City’s expense.

All annexed services are required to meet backflow protection requirements, as detailed in Section 21.12.320. All costs associated with providing currently approved backflow protection are the responsibility of the property owner or tenants.

21.12.280 Damaged Meters Owned by the City.

Whenever a meter owned by the City is damaged by hot water or damaged by the carelessness or negligence of the property owner, tenants or others, the Portland Water Bureau must repair the meter and charge the repair costs to the property served tenants or to the person or persons responsible for the damage. The cost of the repairs is as prescribed in the Annual Rates Ordinance.

21.12.290 Meter Area and Access To Be Clear.

Portland Water Bureau personnel must have access to read and maintain water meters 24 hours a day.

A.  It is unlawful for anyone to do the following:

1.  Block meter access;

2.  Store or maintain any goods, merchandise, material or refuse, landscaping or install equipment over, under or within 5 feet of any water meter, gate valve, or other appliance in use on any water meter connection of the Portland Water Bureau; and/or,

3.  Park a motor vehicle over, upon or in such a manner as to prevent access to any water meter, gate valve or other appliance in use on any water meter connection owned by the Portland Water Bureau regardless of whether such Water Bureau property is located on public or private property.

B.  Whenever it is necessary for the Portland Water Bureau to enter a building to read the meter or work on the connections, the property owner is responsible for the following:

1.  A safe passageway maintained by all occupants of the premises;

2.  Maintain the premises free and clear of obstructions from the entrance of the premises to the meter; and,

3.  The meter being accessible, not blocked by shrubs or landscaping or equipment.

C.  The Portland Water Bureau may trim or remove any obstructions, and the property owner or tenants and the premises may be charged as prescribed in Portland City Code Title 5, Revenue and Finance.

21.12.300 Shutoff Because of Defective Water Meter or Water Service.

A water meter, owned or read by the City, may be determined to be defective by the Portland Water Bureau. Conditions that determine whether a water meter is defective may include, but are not limited to, the lack of adequate support; defective plumbing; lack of shut‑off equipment necessary to permit meter tests by the Portland Water Bureau; wear due to earth movements; subsidence; pipe bends; or faulty or loose connections.

The Portland Water Bureau will notify the property owner or tenant to remedy the defect on the property owner’s or tenant’s side of the meter within 10 days from the date of notification. If the repairs or alterations are not completed within the time specified, the water service will be shut off until the repairs or alterations are completed. Refer to Section 21.12.200.

The Administrator or Chief Engineer may allow additional time for completion of repairs or alterations for extenuating circumstances.

21.12.310 Authority for Testing and Repairing Meters.

The Portland Water Bureau may test or repair any water service meter at any time without permission from the property owner and for this purpose may, upon notice, temporarily shut off the water. If a meter that is larger than one inch on City lines requires repairs, the Portland Water Bureau will give notice to the property owner or tenants and immediately place the meter in good working order. If the meter is not repairable due to wear, obsolescence or parts that are not available, the Portland Water Bureau will replace the meter in accord with Section 21.12.270.

21.12.320 Contamination of the City Water Supply and Requirements for Backflow Protection.

A.  Except as required for operation of the water system, it is unlawful for any person to introduce or permit the introduction of any substance, pollutant or contamination of any kind into the City water supply system.

B.  The property owner or tenant may be required to install backflow protection in order to protect the water system. The Portland Water Bureau operates a premises isolation cross-connection control program as outlined in Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) 333-061-0070.

1.  Per OAR 333, the Portland Water Bureau requires an approved backflow prevention assembly when the Portland Water Bureau determines that:

a.  a complete physical separation from the City water system is not practicable or necessary;

b.  adequate inspection for cross-connection may not be readily made; or,

c.  there exists a possibility of backflow contamination resulting from special conditions, use or equipment.

The Portland Water Bureau may require an approved backflow prevention assembly to be installed where premises are developed for new construction, where buildings or structures are remodeled or where property owner or tenant improvements are made.

No City building permit may be issued without the prior review and approval of the Portland Water Bureau for backflow protection. The Portland Water Bureau may approve such building permits with proof of adequate premises isolation backflow protection is or are to be installed subsequent to building permit issuance. Refer to Section 28.08.020 for additional backflow assembly requirements for floating structures.

It is the responsibility of the building permit applicant to ensure that required backflow protection is clearly noted and shown on all permitted construction drawings. Backflow protection required under a building permit must be installed prior to receiving a Building Inspector certificate of temporary or final occupancy depending on permit issued. Regardless of whether a premises has structures or whether structures are occupied or vacant, the property owner is responsible for maintaining required premises isolation backflow protection.

2.  All assemblies must be tested immediately after installation or whenever the assembly is moved or repaired. Assemblies must also be tested at least once a year, on a schedule determined by the Portland Water Bureau, or more frequently as deemed necessary to ensure adequate backflow protection is achieved. Tests must be performed by a tester who is certified by the State of Oregon. Copies of the test results must be provided to the property owner and to the Portland Water Bureau. Backflow prevention assemblies that are not functioning properly must be repaired promptly and retested or replaced. The property owner and the owner of the backflow assembly, if different than the property owner, are responsible for all associated costs of repair, testing and replacement. Upon request from the Portland Water Bureau, backflow assembly testers must submit valid State of Oregon certification credentials and Oregon Construction Contractors Board licensing documents prior to testing backflow assemblies within City boundaries.

3.  When the Portland Water Bureau has reasonable cause to believe that an existing or potential cross-connection is located on a property owner’s premises, the Portland Water Bureau will terminate water service to the premises. The Portland Water Bureau may also deny or discontinue water service to premises whenever it is found that required premises isolation backflow protection has not been installed, is malfunctioning or is not being properly maintained, or  has not been tested or repaired and retested.

Water service may not be provided or reestablished until adequate approved backflow protection has been installed, tested and inspected by the Portland Water Bureau or the cause of the cross-connection hazard has otherwise been eliminated.

As established in the Annual Rates Ordinance, charges must be applied when required backflow protection is not being maintained or is missing. Charges or water service shutoff actions may be applied to the property owner if the premises are supplied water by the Portland Water Bureau.

As established in the Annual Rates Ordinance, a charge must be applied to the water service account for each required premises isolation backflow assembly installed. This charge will be based on the total number of water service accounts equipped with required premises isolation backflow protection and be payable by the property owner, tenant, or party who has agreed with the Portland Water Bureau to accept responsibility for payment of water bills.

Prior to water service being shut off for not maintaining required backflow protection, the Portland Water Bureau will notify the property owner or tenant.

As established in the Annual Rates Ordinance, charges must be applied to the property owner or tenant water bills for each subsequent written notification to the first annual reminder letter requesting annual backflow assembly testing be completed within 30 days of mailing.

A notification must be sent to the service address and to the address of the property owner or tenant who agreed to accept responsibility for payment of water bills.

The notification must state the anticipated date that water service is to be shut off. Annual Rates Ordinance charges must be applied to the property owner or tenants who had agreed with the Portland Water Bureau to accept responsibility for payment of water bills and for activities associated with water service shutoff and reactivation as established in the Annual Rates Ordinance.

Once a water service has been shut off, it must not be reactivated until all applied charges have been paid and required backflow protection is compliant with Oregon Health Authority Cross-Connection Control Requirements and this Title.

It is the obligation of the property owner or tenant to ensure that the Portland Water Bureau has the most current and accurate address of record. There is no obligation on the part of the Portland Water Bureau to determine if the address of record provided is the best or most current.

21.12.330 Approval and Release of Easements and Real Property.

A.  The Chief Engineer and the Administrator have authority to accept and amend easements, permits, and related documents needed for the construction and management of the water system when payment of consideration does not exceed two hundred thousand dollars.  The Chief Engineer and the Administrator have authority to release easements, permits, and related documents no longer needed for water system purposes.  For street vacations or non-exclusive easements, release by the Chief Engineer or Administrator will not imply the release of easements and interests of other bureaus and agencies of the City. Easements, permits, and related documents authorized by the Chief Engineer and the Administrator are subject to approval as to form by the City Attorney's Office.

B.  Acting jointly, the Chief Engineer and the Administrator may accept deeds, contracts, and related documents to purchase real property in fee when payment of consideration does not exceed two hundred thousand dollars.  The Chief Engineer and the Administrator may execute documents necessary to sell fee property interests no longer needed for public water system purposes under reasonable terms approved as to form by the City Attorney.  Portland Water Bureau procedures for disposing of surplus property will conform with City surplus property disposition policies.

C.  The Administrator or Chief Engineer may grant easements, leases, and licenses on Portland Water Bureau property upon reasonable terms and conditions approved as to form by the City Attorney.

21.12.340 Identification of Meter Readers and Inspectors.

Each employee of the Portland Water Bureau going onto private property for purposes such as, but not limited to, reading, inspecting or testing any metering device, piping system or backflow assembly installed under the provisions of Oregon Health Authority Cross-Connection Control Requirements and this Title must wear identification from the Portland Water Bureau in a conspicuous place upon the exterior of their clothing.  The identification must be shown upon demand of any property owner, tenant or person in charge of the premises entered.

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