Spokane County
1116 W. Broadway Ave
Spokane, WA 99260
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Utilities Sewer Design FAQs

The following FAQs are listed by Utilities Sewer Design.




My septic tank works fine, so why do I have to connect to the sewer system?

To eliminate the possibility of the effluent (partially treated sewage from your septic tank and drainfield) from leaching into the Aquifer, which is a sole source of drinking water for over 400,000 people, the County has undertaken a mandatory septic tank elimination program in the Urban Growth Area. Each property is required by County Code to connect to the sewer and abandon their septic tank within one year of being notified of the availability of sewer service.


What happens if I do not connect?

Failure to comply with the requirement to connect to sewer by the deadline will cause our office to turn the matter over to the Spokane County Prosecuting Attorney for legal action.


Can a contractor "mark-up" the cost of the sewer connection permit?

Spokane County does not get involved in what a contractor charges you for the permit(s) or any other aspect of your contract. We suggest that you get at least three written bids prior to signing a contract for your sewer connection. The connection must be performed by a contractor that is licensed to install side sewers by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries. 


Can I do the sewer work myself?

Yes, as the owner of the property you can obtain the sewer permit and do the work yourself, provided that the property owner schedules a consultation with Utilities personnel prior to doing the work.  A Utilities sign-off is required prior to permit issuance. There are significant potential risks related to digging and working in trenches, therefore Spokane County does not recommend that a property owner undertake this work.


Can I drain my swimming pool into the sewer?

No. The Spokane County sewer system is designed and intended for sanitary sewer usage only. Draining swimming pools into the system would reduce the capacity in the collection lines and the capacity in the treatment plants. Your monthly sewer bill is based on water usage in your home. A single family dwelling is billed based on an average monthly water usage of 800 cubic feet. Discharging your swimming pool would exceed the amount of usage you are billed for.


Can I have a RV dump on my parcel?

Yes, if it is located on your residential property, but you need to discuss this with a Utilities Division staff person prior to construction / installation. The RV dump cannot be used to serve an RV or mobile home that serves as a residence. It is only allowed for occasional use by the owner of the property and cannot be used as a community or family RV dump. If it is to be used as a commercial RV Dump, plans would have to be submitted to the Spokane County Division of Utilities for approval and sewer connection fees and usage fees would have to be determined and satisfied.


Can I pipe basement sump pumps or foundation drains into the sewer?

No. The Spokane County sewer system is designed and intended for sanitary sewer usage only. Discharging sump pumps or foundation drains into the system would reduce the capacity in the collection lines and the capacity in the treatment plants. Your monthly sewer bill is based on water usage in your home. A single family dwelling is billed based on an average monthly water usage of 800 cubic feet. Discharging sump pumps or foundation drains would exceed the amount of usage you are billed for.


Can I pipe the roof run off into the sewer?

No. Same answer as above pertaining to swimming pools. In addition, roof runoff is considered stormwater, and State Law prohibits the injection of stormwater into a sanitary sewer system.


Can I put a floor drain in my shop / garage and connect it to the sewer?

Usually not. The Spokane County Division of Utilities reviews these requests on a case by case basis. If allowed, you would probably be required to install a sand trap and an oil-water separator to prevent soils and oil from entering the Spokane County Sanitary Sewer System.


Can my next-door neighbor and I share a common trench with our sewer pipes?

Yes, the Utilities Division customer service representative can provide you with the necessary paper work needed to accomplish that.


Does my septic tank have to be removed?

No, it can remain in place. A licensed septic tank pumper needs to remove the contents of the tank, and your excavation contractor is required to fill the empty tank with sand, pea gravel, or clean native material. If the septic tank is not filled at the time of sewer connection and inspection, a separate permit and inspection is required by the Spokane Regional Health District for abandonment of the septic tank.


Hiring a side sewer contractor?


How long is a sewer permit good for?

Sewer connection permits expire 12 months from date of issuance.


How much does it cost for a contractor to connect my property to sewer?

The cost varies depending on how much digging is involved and if the residence or business connection has basement facilities.  The Utilities Division recommends that at least 3 written bids be obtained from licensed sewer excavation contractors.  Most residential connections cost in the range of $2,500 to $4,000. If there is a lot of landscaping or pavement that the contractor is required to restore, the cost can increase substantially.

In addition to the connection costs, each property is required to pay a Capital Facilities Rate (CFR) to Spokane County, which covers a share of the cost of constructing the collection sewers, interceptor sewers, pumping stations, and treatment facilities.


I have a large enough parcel to subdivide. What are the sewer service requirements?

Current policy allows a 4” sewer service to serve a single family home or a duplex.

A 6” sewer service will serve (3) three single family homes, or a duplex and (1) one single family home, or a multi-family configuration such as a triplex or fourplex and up to a small apartment complex subject to review by the Utilities Division.

All other Developments in excess of (3) three lots will require additional sewer service installation and are subject to review by the Utilities Division.


Is there an approved list of contractors?

The Utilities Division does not maintain an approved contractors list.  One place to find contractors who do sewer connections is the telephone directory, under “Sewer Contractors” or “Septic Tanks & Systems-Cleaning”. The Spokane County sanitary sewer ordinance requires that only licensed and bonded Washington State contractors, or the property owner, will be allowed to make the sewer connection.  We are happy to answer any questions you may have about a specific contractor once one is selected.


What does a sewer connection permit cost?

As of January 1, 2014 the sewer connection permit fee is $125.00 plus a $26.64 application fee, for a total of $151.64 for each building connecting to the sewer. A separate sewer connection permit is required for each tax parcel. If each side of a duplex is located on it’s own parcel, a permit is required for each side. A parcel with multiple buildings will be charged a sewer connection permit fee for each building but will only be charged for one application fee. The sewer connection permit fee and the application fee are subject to future increases.


What happens if I do not have the money to connect?

If you meet applicable low-income thresholds, you may qualify for assistance.  Please call us at (509) 477-3604 to inquire.

To apply for an Extension of Time for sewer connection, please contact us at (509) 477-3604.  Although an extension may be granted, you will still be required to connect to the sewer. 


When do I have to complete my connection to the sewer system?

The Division of Utilities sends notification letters to property owners establishing the mandatory one-year connection period and connection deadline for their property. If you have any questions relative to the connection status of your property or your connection deadline, please call the Division of Utilities at 509-477-3604.


Where is my sewer connection (stub)?

The Utilities Division has records for sewer stub locations and can mail, e-mail, fax, or in some instances give the location over the phone.


Why do I need a permit to connect to the sewer?

When your property is connected to the sewer system, a Spokane County Division of Utilities inspector generates a Sewer Connection Inspection Report  with a drawing showing where the sewer line(s), fittings, cleanouts, etc. are located in the event those items need to be located in the future for repairs, additions, or other improvements to the property.  In addition, the sewer inspector observes the actual connection to make sure that it complies with Spokane County standards. Revenue from sewer connection permit fees pays for the cost of inspecting your sewer connection and all of the necessary data and record keeping pertaining to how and when your property was connected to the Spokane County Sewer System. 

Why does the monthly sewer service fee keep going up?

The increase in monthly sewer service fees is necessary to cover operating cost for the collection systems and treatment plants. Also, the County needs to fund significant capital improvement projects at the wastewater treatment plants that are necessary to meet new stringent regulatory requirements for protection of water quality in the Spokane River.


Will Spokane County complete my sewer connection for me?

No, the County will not perform work on private property to connect a structure to the stub at the property line.

Occasionally, if a property has a dryline sewer from the structure to the property line, the County can connect the dryline sewer at the property line as part of the sewer construction in the right of way. The property owner still must complete the connection to divert sewage through the dryline and abandonment of the septic tank.

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