Side Sewer Permit

What Is It?

A side sewer is a pipe system that carries wastewater and/or drainage water from the plumbing and downspouts of your building to the public sewer system or outlet. This includes the pipe system up to, but not including, the connection to the public main. A side sewer includes all the piping located outside the building footprint. The entire side sewer is owned and maintained by the property owner. All the piping inside your building is considered plumbing and is regulated, permitted, and inspected by Seattle-King County Public Health.

A side sewer permit allows you to work on a side sewer, including new installations, alterations, repairs, pipe abandonment, relocations, removals, and temporary groundwater removal work (usually for large projects). Both sanitary and drainage lines may be included on the same permit application.

If you need to work on a side sewer located in the public right-of-way, a Registered Side Sewer Contractor must get the permit and complete the work. This side sewer permit includes a street use permit for the work in the public right-of-way.

Note: You must now apply for your side sewer permit online. 

How Much Does It Cost?

Side sewer permit fees vary based on the scope of work.

  • A sanitary repair permit for work on private property generally costs $280 (includes one to two inspections)
  • A drainage repair permit for work on private property generally costs $375 (includes one to two inspections)
  • An addition / alteration permit generally costs $375 (includes one to two inspections)
  • A new construction permit costs $375 each for sanitary and storm ($750 total), plus fees for any required recording documents (includes one to four inspections)

We bill additional inspections at our hourly rate.

If you are working in the public right-of-way, you need to pay an additional one-hour Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) inspection fee.

For more information on fees, see the list of fees by category.

2019 Drainage & Wastewater Core Tap Charges Update

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) last updated the draining and wastewater core tap and core tap inspection charges over 14 years ago. SPU has adjusted these charges to reflect the actual costs for providing this service.

How Long does It Take?

We will process side sewer repair and additions/alterations permits by the end of the next business day from when you submit your application.

We will process side sewer permits associated with new construction permits within three business days from the time you submit your application.

Please note that if you give us incomplete or incorrect information, it may result in processing delays due to additional correspondence and/or the withdrawal (cancellation) of the permit application.

Processing times may vary if you submit your application on a City holiday.

Steps to Get Your Permit

All Side Sewer Permits are now issued online through the Seattle Service Portal. We won't accept paper applications anymore. We are available to assist you with the portal and online application in-person at the Drainage and Side Sewer Counter in the Applicant Service Center.

Prepare your plans.

Fill out forms. These documents may be required depending on the project.

Special conditions forms (these are rarely needed):

Coordinate with other agencies. You may need permits or approvals from other agencies. These are the most common agencies you may need to work with for your permit type:

Submit all required materials through the Seattle Services Portal. You will receive notice to pay fees once the application has been processed and approved. Your permit will be issued once the required fees have been paid. You may also receive notice that additional information is required prior to approval.

Emergency work is allowed without getting a permit in advance, but a permit and inspections must be obtained from us the next business day.

Know when to call. You need to request a side sewer inspection before you cover your side sewer pipe.

Contact us. Call our 24-hour inspection request line at (206) 684-8900 before 7:00 a.m. on the day you need the inspection. 

Coordinate with other agencies.

  • Contact Seattle Public Utilities at (206) 615-0511 to schedule a core tap
  • Contact the SDOT Job Start Notification Hotline at (206) 684-5270 48-hours before starting work in the public right-of-way