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The City of Portland, Oregon

Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

MAILING ADDRESS: 1120 SW 5th Ave, Room 1000, Portland, OR 97204

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Converting Septic Systems to Sewer Connections

Most developed properties in Portland are connected to the public sewer system, but some properties still use private septic systems and are not connected to the city sewer. As a septic system ages, its chance of failing and releasing untreated sewage into the environment increases.

In some cases, BES is identifying areas to extend public sewer to multiple residential properties on septic, providing a cost-effective use of City resources while bringing reliable sewer service to properties before their septic systems fail, create a public health hazard, and contaminate properties and water resources. Stay up to date on current and future BES sewer construction projects.

In other cases, a developed property on septic may have a public sewer immediately available within a public right-of-way or easement. In this scenario, you may be required to connect to sewer; see the required sewer connection notice page for more information about what to do if this applies to you. If sewer is immediately available but you haven’t received a notice, then you won’t be required to connect until your septic system fails. Please note that if the property is on a cesspool or septic tank to seepage pits, the property may not increase its daily projected sewage flow by adding a bedroom or accessory dwelling unit (ADU).

In still other cases, a developed property on septic may have no public sewer available, and the City has no immediate plans to extend the sewer. In this scenario, consult with the Bureau of Development Services as to whether a septic permit is required to do work on your system. If you must extend sewer - because a septic permit cannot be approved, or because you want to develop your property - it must be reviewed by the City through a public works permit.