The Bureaus of Environmental Services and Development Services are working together to address property issues involving party sewers. Answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about party sewers are provided below.
What is a party sewer?
A party sewer is a privately owned sewer line shared by two or more properties. These lines commonly access the public sewer system through a private sewer line located in the public right-of-way or a private line crossing through adjacent privately owned properties. The City estimates that 3,000 to 4,000 properties may be served by party sewers.
How do I know if I have a party sewer?
Unfortunately, complete records of all party sewers do not exist. Party sewers are more common in areas of the City with older infrastructure. City plumbing and other records of sewer connection may provide some useful information. City plumbing records may be obtained from the Bureau of Development Services, Resource/Records located at 1900 SW 4th Ave., Portland, OR 97201 or by calling (503) 823-7660.
A video sewer line inspection may be necessary to verify whether a property is connected to a party sewer. A video sewer line inspection involves inserting a flexible cable with a video camera attached to its tip into the sewer line. The camera transmits video images of the inside of the line and a permanent recording can be made. A video sewer line inspection is also useful for assessing the condition of the sewer line. Video sewer line inspections are typically performed by private plumbing contractors or property inspection services.
Do party sewers conform to current code requirements?
No. The Uniform Plumbing Code requires each property to have an independent connection and legal route of access to the public sewer.
Additionally, Portland City Code (PCC) 17.33.105 requires the abandonment of a non-conforming sanitary sewer connection within 180 days of providing notice to affected property owners of the availability of individual and direct sanitary sewer connections. [Read more]