There are three kinds of costs to connect your home or business to the City of Portland sewer system.
- City Sewer Connection Charges - The city recovers the costs of building local sewers, trunk lines, and large sewage treatment and discharge facilities by collecting line, branch and system development charges.
- Private Plumbing Costs - This is the cost of hiring a contractor to connect your property to the city sewer.
- Sewer User Fees - Once you are connected, you will be billed for sewer and stormwater service. These fees pay the cost of collecting and treating wastewater, maintaining the sewer system, and treating and managing stormwater runoff.
When sewer is available to your property, the city sends you a connection notice packet that includes a summary of the charges for your property. This is your share of the costs of building the sewer line in the street (line charge), the branch to your property (branch charge), and large sewage treatment and discharge facilities. City sewer connection charges depend on the size and use of your property. These charges are subject to change each year on July 1.
- Sewer Line Charges - Currently $1.47 per assessable square foot of property, based on frontage. Residential properties are charged based on the area within 100 feet of the sewer line. All other properties are charged based on the area within 300 feet.
- Branch Charges - $5,392 per branch; almost all residential properties need just one branch.
- Sewer System Development Charges - $4,551 for a single-family residence. Multi-family residences and commercial properties pay more depending on how many units they have, or based on the demands they put on the sewer system.
Your city sewer charges must be paid or financed before you or your contractor can get a sewer connection permit. You do not have to pay these charges until you are ready to connect.
The city offers all property owners loans of up to 20 years to finance connection charges. There is no pre-qualification based on income or credit history. No down payment is required and there is no penalty for early payoff. The loan is secured by a city lien on the property.
Low Income Assistance
The Safety Net Program is available to property owners who meet low-income qualifications. There are several kinds of assistance available for those who qualify based on income, household size, and age:
- Safety Net Deferred Loan - Safety Net deferred loans can be used to finance your city sewer charges, deferring payment on all of your city charges. Safety Net deferred loans are limited to owner-occupied single homes. The loans are for five years at 5 percent simple interest, with no payment required on the loan during the deferred term. You can choose to make payments against the interest during that five-year term. For those aged 62 and older, the loan continues as long as you own and live at the property.
- Safety Net Connection Deferral - If approved for the Safety Net deferred payment loan, you may also request a connection deferral based on financial hardship. Connection deferrals are possible for up to five years, based on household size and income. For those aged 62 or older, connection deferrals can continue as long as you own and occupy the property. However, you must immediately connect to the sewer if your on-site system fails.
- Other Connection Deferrals - The city also offers deferrals in limited circumstances for qualifying owners of low-income rental property, businesses, and non-profit organizations. Properties can also defer based on temporary hardships like owner illness or physical issues at the property (major remodeling, demolition, etc.).
For details about the Safety Net Program and how to apply, contact the Environmental Services Sewer Connection Program at 503-823-4114. Private Plumbing Costs This is your cost for hiring a private contractor or plumber to connect your building to the sewer branch at your property line. The city does not do this work or regulate the costs, and the cost varies. It typically ranges from $1,500 to $5,000. City permits and inspection are required. Click here for information about connecting and choosing a contractor.
The city sponsors loan programs to help owners finance or defer private plumbing costs. The Private Plumbing Loan Program provides low-interest financing to any owner regardless of income. The loans require installment payments for a 5 or 10-year term.
The city also offers a 5% interest loan with a deferred payment option for qualifying low-income homeowners.
For details on financing options, call the Environmental Services Sewer Connection Program at 503-823-4114.
Sewer User Fees
Once you connect to the sewer system, you will share in the cost of its maintenance. Billing for sewer service is based on the volume of wastewater you discharge to the sewer system. Discharge is measured by comparing winter water use to year 'round water use, and billing on the lesser of the two amounts. Residential customers receive a combined sewer and water bill quarterly and commercial customers are usually billed monthly.
After your property is connected to the sewer system, you should begin receiving your sewer bill within three months. Financial assistance is available to low-income ratepayers. To learn more, call Environmental Services at 503-823-7124.
- You are not required to pay or finance your sewer connection charges until you connect
- You may pay or finance your charges at any time. Once charges are paid or financed, they are not subject to annual rate changes. Call 503-823-4114 for details on how to pay or finance your charges.
- If you have income below a certain level, you may qualify to pay your charges with a Safety Net deferred loan. Call 503-823-4114 for details and qualifying income levels.