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The City of Portland, Oregon

Development Services

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Phone: 503-823-7300


1900 SW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97201

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Service Level Update for Sanitary and Stormwater Facilities for Land Divisions for Attached Houses

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Service Level Update for Sanitary and Stormwater Facilities
for Land Divisions for Attached Houses

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Effective immediately, for all land divisions for attached houses, separate sanitary and stormwater systems will be required for each lot, and no portion of the system for an individual lot may be located on any other lot. (Oregon Plumbing Specialty Code (“Plumbing Code”) § 308.1.) For shared systems to be approved, applicants must seek approval, through the plumbing code appeals process, and meet the requirements for a modification or exemption from the Plumbing Code. These requirements include demonstrating that:

  1. unique circumstances exist that make strict compliance with the requirements of the Plumbing Code impractical;
  2. the proposed modifications comply with the intent of the Plumbing Code; and
  3. the proposed modifications provide an equivalent level of quality, effectiveness and safety. Applicants will be notified of the requirement to appeal requests for a shared system in response to Land Use Review (LUR) notices.

Historically, many applicants for land divisions for multiple attached house projects have proposed systems in which sanitary sewer and stormwater are collected through a common system and disposed to a public facility through a single shared connection. The Plumbing Code requires that each property be able to connect directly to the public system such that no portion of the plumbing, drainage or sewer system for that property is located on any other property. (Plumbing Code § 308.1.)

Effective immediately, the following apply:


  • New proposals that have not been through Early Assistance (EA) meetings or Pre-Application Conferences. All new proposals must comply with the Plumbing Code requirement that all plumbing, drainage and sewer systems are located solely on individual properties. Any deviations from this requirement must be approved through the Plumbing Code appeal process. Through the Plumbing Code appeal process, applicants must: demonstrate that it is impractical to individually connect each residential unit to the public facility without crossing other properties; specify the conditions that are unique to the project and not encountered on the majority of the developable properties in the jurisdiction; and offer an alternative design that facilitates maintenance, access and service to the systems. All required plumbing appeals must be approved (whether administratively or by the Plumbing Code Board of Appeals) before the preliminary plat approval is issued. The applicant must provide an extension for the land use review if the Plumbing Code appeal takes additional time.
  • New proposals that have been through Early Assistance (EA) meetings or Pre-Application Conferences. Regardless of prior statements by City staff at the EA or Pre-Application Conference, the same standard described above for new proposals will apply.
  • Proposals that have been formally submitted but where a decision has not been rendered.  Preliminary plats that were submitted with shared systems that cross property lines that are being reviewed but where a decision has not been rendered will be returned to the applicant for submittal of an appeal, if one has not yet been submitted. Once the information in the appeal packet is complete, a decision will be rendered at the earliest possible convenience of the appeal board.
  • Proposals being reviewed through the final plat (FP) process. FPs will be processed consistent with what was approved during the preliminary plat review process. Appeals will not be retroactively required and any shared system previously approved will not be reconsidered or reexamined.

The LUS Division planner will rely upon the responses from BES and the Plumbing Division on the types of sanitary and stormwater disposal systems that are acceptable.

Additional information on plumbing code appeals can be found at the following link: