What's the scoop on Portland's sewers?

Some Portland homes have non-conforming sewer lines As our city ages, so does the infrastructure and services. When it comes to roads and bridges it's easy to keep an eye on their condition and know when a repair is needed, but what about the underground utilities such as Portland's sewer lines? The Bureau of Environmental Services estimates that one-third of Portland's sewer lines are over 80 years old. The entire 2500 mile system of piping is out of site, often out of mind, and pushing its lifespan!

A familiar image around Portland these days

What does this mean for Portland Home Owners? While the city is responsible for the sewer system on its property (generally curb in), homeowners are responsible for the entire portion of line running on their property including the connection to the city's main-lateral. Typically, issues arise for homeowners when a line fails or is in need of repair. But as Portland continues it's largest sewer replacement project in history, the rules are changing.

Conforming sewer connection

Portland's sewer code requires each property to have an independent connection and legal access from the home to the city's main. This commonly becomes an issue when a non-conforming "party line" is discovered. Another troublesome situation comes about when a home's sewer line crosses over a neighboring property without a recorded easement. A third common example of a non-conforming line is when the existing line extends beyond the private property boundary of the home into the public right-of-way. After a non-conforming line is discovered, Portland's code requires that homeowners correct the situation within 180 days of receiving notice from the city to avoid penalty. To further investigate if your sewer line is up to code, check out the City of Portland's website here.

Party lines are commonly found

For a complete project over-view, checkout the Environmental Services page. Here you can read about individual planned segments of sewer construction such as SE Cesar Chavez Blvd, NE 55-57th and Stanton, and more all over Portland. You can also call the project hotline at (503) 823-2663 or follow on Twitter (@BESPortland).