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Chapter 25.08 Repair of Private Sewer Systems Involving More than one Property

City Code Chapter

25.08.010 Purpose.

(Amended by Ordinance 183397, effective January 8, 2010.)  

  1. The purpose of this Chapter is to establish responsibility for the operation and repair of damaged common private sewers or private sewers that traverse another private property in the absence of any written agreement among or between property owners.  It is the goal of the City to have each individual property served by an individual lateral to a public sewer.  Nonconforming common private sewers or private sewers that traverse another property and are located in a private easement are exempt from this Section.  This Chapter grants the City authority to abate nuisances created by the use of damaged private sewers, without regard to the fault of the property owner, and authorizes the City to recover the costs it incurs in abating these nuisances by assessing liens against properties served by the damaged private sewers.  This Chapter allows property owners to seek any legal relief against any person responsible for causing or exacerbating damage to the private sewer.

25.08.020 Definitions.

(Amended by Ordinance 185694, effective November 23, 2012.)

  1. A.  “Common Private Sewer System (also called Party Sewer)” means that portion of a building sewer that:
    1. 1.  Is not owned by the City of Portland;
    2. 2.  Is used for draining more than one building under different ownership; and
    3. 3.  Conveys the discharge to a sewer service lateral, public sewer, private sewage disposal system, or other point of disposal.
    4. Common private sewers are found on private property and in private and public rights-of-way, including easements.
  2. B.  “Damaged Private Sewer System.”  Damaged Private Sewer System means a private sewer not in compliance with applicable governmental regulations.
  3. C.  “Owner.”  Owner means the person shown on current assessment records in theCountyOfficeof Assessment and Taxation as the owner of the title to the real property or the contract purchaser of the real property.  Owner also includes a deedholder or contract purchaser whose name does not appear in the latest assessment record, but who presents to the Bureau a copy of a deed or contract of sale showing the date, book, and page of recording.
  4. D.  “Repair of Private Sewer System.”  Repair of a private sewer system means any work, including repairs, reconstruction, and replacement, required to return a damaged private sewer system to compliance with applicable government regulations.

25.08.030 Equal Responsibility for Repair and Nuisance Abatement.

  1. An owner of a building using any damaged section of a common private sewer system shall be responsible equally for all costs of repair with any other owner whose building also uses that section of the damaged common private sewer.  In addition, these owners shall be responsible equally for all costs associated with any abatement by the City of any nuisance created by their buildings’ use of that section of the damaged common private sewer and for all penalties for violations of this Code associated with the damaged sewer line.
  2. Exception:  When repair or abatement of a damaged common private sewer includes a new sewer connection of an individual property to a public sewer, the owner of that property shall be solely responsible for the cost of the new connection.  In addition, the owner of the newly connected property may be responsible for other costs associated with repair and abatement of the damaged common private sewer when the Director determines that it would be fair and equitable to do so.

25.08.040 Private Sewer System Traversing Another Property.

  1. When a damaged private sewer system serving a building on a property:
  2. A.  traverses another property prior to connecting to a public sewage disposal system, and
  3. B.  the damage occurs on the traversed property, and
  4. C.  the owner of the traversed property does not use the damaged section of the private sewer system,
  5. then the owner of the property using the damaged private sewer system shall be fully responsible for the damaged private sewer system and for all costs and penalties assessed by the City for violations of this Code associated with the damaged sewer line.

25.08.060 Authority of City to Abate Nuisance and Lien Property.

(Amended by Ordinance 180330, effective August 18, 2006.) 

  1. If the owners using a damaged private sewer system neglect, refuse, or fail to correct the damage after the Bureau provides notice pursuant to Section 29.60.050, the City may correct the damage pursuant to Section 29.60.060, 29.60.070 or 29.60.080 and assess the property or properties using the system pursuant to the procedures in 29.70.020.  In the case of a common private sewer system, the City shall calculate the amount of assessment on the property pursuant to 29.70.020.  In addition, regarding a private sewer system traversing another property, the Bureau shall notify the owner whose property is traversed by but not connected to the damaged private sewer system that the system has been declared a nuisance.  The City may enter that property to abate the nuisance after providing notice.

25.08.070 Applicability.

  1. Section 25.08.030 shall not alter the terms and conditions of any easement of record, or of any other written agreement between or among owners.  However, nothing in this section affects or impairs the City’s authority under PCC 25.08.060.