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The City of Portland, Oregon

Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

1120 SW 5th Ave, Suite 613, Portland, OR 97204

More Contact Info

Submeter Program

Examples of business processes where water in
does not equal water out

Water flowing to sewer is less than water in:

  • Cooling towers or boilers are used
  • Landscape irrigation
  • Beverage bottling, food production and packaging

Water flowing to sewer is more than water in:

  • Uses water from a well
  • Rainfall harvesting
  • Bringing in hauled water for discharge to the sewer

The Submeter Program is for business customers who discharge a volume of water to the sewer significantly more or less than the incoming water which helps support the City's equity goals. To be eligible, your business must:

  • Be a City of Portland sewer/stormwater/water utility customer.
  • Pay the commercial rate for sewer and water charges.
  • Put water into a manufactured product, operate cooling towers, or other systems that evaporate water or irrigate a landscape.
  • Determine that the cost of the water volume going into product, evaporation, and/or irrigation exceeds the costs and fees for a submeter. Contact the Submeter Program at 503-823-7856 for assistance with these calculations.
  • Be willing to purchase, install, regularly maintain and calibrate a meter for the purposes of measuring water/sewer that may affect sewer billing.
  • Commit to read, record, and submit submeter reads per a schedule established by Environmental Services.

Participation requires meeting Portland City Code (PCC) chapter 17.36.050 and Submeter Program Administrative Rules ENB-4.32. Customers install submeters on their business’ internal plumbing to accurately measure and bill for water that is discharged to the sewer.

Current Administrative Costs

To participate, a business pays program and administrative costs per meter and per bill. The yearly administrative costs depend on how many submeters your business has installed and how frequently your business is billed for sewer, stormwater, and water services—either monthly or quarterly. Fees for the 2020-2021 fiscal year are about $100 per meter per bill. Rates change in July.

To Apply

  1. Consult with the BES Submeter Program on estimated use, meter application, and meter types prior to installation. Call us at 503-823-7856 or email submeterprogram@portlandoregon.gov.
  2. Purchase and install the submeter(s) in compliance with PCC 17.36.050 and BES Submeter Program Administrative Rules ENB-4.32.
  3. Submit a completed Submeter Program application form.
  4. Meet with an Environmental Services' Submeter Program representative for inspection of submeter(s).
  5. Complete any required changes/modification necessary to comply with PCC 17.36.050 and Administrative Rules ENB-4.32.

Businesses that discharge wastewater to the sewer in greater volumes than the water coming in may be required to install a submeter and comply with the conditions of the program.

For information regarding sewer, stormwater, and water bills please visit the customer service page at: 

https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/31019

For translation and interpretation services please visit:

https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/75365