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ENB-4.08 - BES Sewer Backflow Device Reimbursement Program Administrative Rules

Administrative Rule Adopted by Bureau of Environmental Services Pursuant to Rule-Making Authority

1.  Purpose
2.  Definitions
3.  Regulatory Authority
4.  Program Participation Procedures

5.  Administrative Review / Appeals


These are the administrative rules of the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) Backflow Device Reimbursement Program.


1.  Purpose

These rules establish the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) decision-making criteria for the Backflow Device Reimbursement Program. These rules reinforce the following City program goals:

A.  To reduce risk of sewer backup in dwellings; and

B.  To provide equitable assistance for impacted property owners.

2.  Definitions

These rules rely on a number of program-specific terms as defined in Portland City Code (PCC) Chapters 17.04 and 17.32.

3.  Regulatory Authority

These rules are authorized by PCC Section 3.13.040. These rules implement PCC section 17.32.120.

4.  Program Participation Procedures

A.  Eligibility. In order for a property owner to be reimbursed for installation of backflow devices, each building or structure connected to a combined sewer lateral for which the owner seeks reimbursement must:

1.  Be served by an individual connection to a combined sewer owned and maintained by the City of Portland;

2.  Have its own street address;

3.  Be at risk of sewer backups, as determined by BES based on the real or anticipated impacts of a 25-year storm event;

4.  Not be located on a property that is part of a sewer relief construction project presently under design and due to be constructed within two years of the reimbursement application date; and

5.  Not be located on a property that has previously participated in the reimbursement program.

B.  Installation of a Backflow Device. Installation of any sewer backflow device must be in conformance with PCC Chapter 25.05, Plumbing Regulations.

1.  Plumbing Permit and Inspection Required. The property owner or the property owner’s contractor must apply to the Bureau of Development Services for a plumbing permit for backflow device installation prior to commencing work.

2.  Property owner responsibilities. The property owner must assume in writing ownership and maintenance of any backflow device installed pursuant to this rule and pay a portion of installation costs as provided by Section 5.D of these rules.

3.  City responsibilities. The City does not guarantee or in any manner warrant a backflow device or guarantee that the device will prevent future flooding. The City is not responsible for damages incurred as a result of flooding subsequent to installation of any device. The owner must agree in writing to look only to such warranty or guarantee as may be provided by the manufacturer of the device or the installation professional.

C.  Request for Reimbursement.

1.  The property owner must submit a completed application form, the plumber’s invoice, a completed IRS Form W9 and a cover letter requesting reimbursement to:

City of Portland, Bureau of Environmental Services

Collection System Maintenance Engineering

Backflow Prevention Reimbursement Program

1120 SW 5th Avenue, Room 1000

Portland,Oregon 97204-1912

D.  Reimbursement. The property owner must pay for the first $100 of backflow device installation costs. BES will pay for additional costs up to $1,500. Costs in excess of $1,600 will be the responsibility of the property owner.

5.  Administrative Review and Appeal

Property owners may request reconsideration of a BES staff denial for reimbursement through administrative review with the Director of the Bureau of Environmental Services. The Director will review the reimbursement request against the criteria in Section 5 and make a final determination. No further appeal will be entertained.



Fact Sheet Info:


140285 – July 24, 1975 - Emergency

Established the program. Set the date of “existing structures”. Set City reimbursement at $500. Had the general requirements for plumbing permit. Established a City funded contractor to do installs when 5 or more approved requests came in.

151860 – June 25, 1981 Emergency

Removed the requirement for City contractor hiring.

156035 – May 31, 1984 - Emergency

Raised reimbursement amount to $750.

170776 – December 6, 1996 – Emergency

Raised reimbursement amount to $1,500

173295 – April 23, 1999 – Emergency

Part of larger Title 17 code changes to clarify sewer authorities. Updated reimbursement language.

185397 – May/June 2012 – Definition Code Cleanup

No real change to reimbursement section

186659 – June 2014 – removed program eligibility dates for participating structures

Background Information

During periods of heavy rain, some basements may become flooded due to the back up of city sewer lines draining those basements. To protect older, existing buildings from such flooding, the City provides an incentive to install an approved backflow device on the sewer line of on fixtures to prevent back up.

Section 5. Given the nature and low cost of the reimbursement program, BES feels appeal outside of BES would not be financially desirable by most applicants and therefore is limiting appeal to the Bureau Director.


Amended by Director of Bureau of Environmental Services July 21, 2014.
Filed for inclusion in PPD September 29, 2004.
Signed by Environmental Services Director September 29, 2004.