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Phone: 503-823-7300


1900 SW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97201

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Stormwater Corner

Commercial Projects: Private Stormwater Treatment Systems Require Two Permits

Storm PlanterPermitting requirements for commercial projects can be confusing, considering that often times multiple City of Portland “Trade” permits are needed for one project.  When building private stormwater treatment systems on multi-family, mixed-use, office building, and industrial projects, it is easy to forget that Plumbing Trade permits are required IN ADDITION to your building permit.  This can be an important factor in scheduling your inspections and meeting construction timelines. All too often contractors forget this fact and attempt to request their plumbing inspections under the building permit IVR number.  Attempting to schedule your plumbing inspections under the building permit IVR number will inevitably produce an unsatisfying response from the city’s automated system, exclaiming that an “invalid inspection code” has been requested.

So, remember:  Private stormwater treatment systems associated with commercial building projects will require two permits and two inspectors -- one from the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) and the other from the Bureau of Development Services (BDS) Plumbing Department.  The stormwater treatment facility is inspected by the BES inspector under the “487” IVR request code number for the building permit, while outside plumbing (storm sewer piping, downspouts, catch basins, etc.) will be inspected by the BDS Plumbing inspector under the typical “300” series IVR request code numbers via the Plumbing Trade permit. 

Remember too that technical assistance is available.  To help you navigate this process you can always dial “0” after calling the IVR System Hotline (503-823-7000) for support staff assistance or contact your BES inspector at 503-823-2059.

Environmental Services will Limit Refunds of Sewer Connection Permit Fees

Trades CounterOver the last few years, BES has seen an increase in the number of sewer connection permit applications that ultimately do not result in a connection to City systems. Many times contractors bidding a sewer connection job will submit permit applications prior to executing a contract with the property owner for the work and cancel if they do not secure the bid. Since all permits require some level of staff effort to process these applications, BES will institute new language in the Portland City Code Chapter 17.32 in July of 2014 to generally disallow refunds.  BES will however propose temporary administrative rules that define those situations where contractors can be eligible for a partial refund of sewer connection permit application fees.  Under such situations, permits that are approved for refund will be limited to 80% of the sewer connection permit application fee. 

BES anticipates implementation of this policy starting August 1st, 2014.  Contractors applying for permits at the City’s Development Services Trades/Records Department will be notified of this change and city staff will be available for technical assistance.  For more information, contractors may contact Matt Hickey of BES at 503-823-7928.