Pierce County is growing fast, and we are working hard to build the infrastructure necessary to support our expanding population. Sometimes though, that means houses are built on properties that don’t yet have available sewer service. In those cases, Pierce County Code requires builders to install interim on-site septic systems to serve residents’ immediate needs, while also laying pipes, called sewer mains, that will connect homes to the public sewer system as it is expanded.
These homes are described as having “dry lines” because their sewer lines are not connected to surrounding homes or the public sewer system. Currently there are 22 developments with dry lines in Pierce County’s sewer service area.
Once the sewer service area reaches these homes with dry lines, Pierce County will notify property owners that they need to connect to the public sewer system and provide step-by-step information about how to do it. Property owners will have six months (180 days) after receiving notification to complete the connection and decommission the on-site septic.
Connecting to the public sewer system and decommissioning on-site septic systems could cost property owners between $8,000 and $20,000, including permitting fees and connection charges. Pierce County understands this is a significant cost and is available to help with resources and information. We have already extended the time for property owners to connect their lines to the public sewer system from the 60 days after written notification required by code to 180 days, and we have assistance programs to help property owners spread the cost over time.
Pay the sewer service permit fee (ranges from $220 to $1,640 depending on system requirements) and applicable connection charges of $5,317 (includes $3,550 Wastewater Treatment Capacity Charge and $1,767 Basin Area Charge). Rates are subject to change and are accurate as of date of publishing.
The application will be reviewed for compliance with standard plans and the permit will be issued to the contractor.
Once your property is connected to the sewer, any existing septic tanks on the property will need to be decommissioned.
Pierce County and the Planning and Public Works-Sewer Division recognize the challenge of completing this work due to costs and other constraints. They are extending the required connection time from 60 days to 180 days from written notification.
Pierce County offers two new programs to reduce the burden of costs:
Residential Dry Sewer Line Connection Charge Amortization Program Pierce County charges property owners to connect to the sewer system. These fees help offset the impacts of development on the sewer system infrastructure and allow Pierce County to protect the public health and environment by keeping up with growth . Connection charges are typically between $$5,517 and $6,957. This program will allow eligible property owners to spread that cost over time, up to 15 years in some cases.
Residential Dry Sewer Line Loan Program This low-interest loan program will cover up to 90 percent of eligible dry line connection and septic system decommissioning costs, or $10,000, whichever is less. For example, if the total cost of connecting a property to the sewer system is $11,000, the owner can apply for a loan for $9,900. If the total cost is over $11,111, the owner can apply for a loan of $10,000. And property owners can repay the loan over a 10-year period. Applicants are subject to loan approval. Terms and conditions apply.
Completion of the Military Road Sewer Interceptor Project
The completion of the Military Road Sewer Interceptor project will be the first time that residential plats with dry sewer lines will be required to connect to the public sewer system. There are 42 lots in the dry sewer line plats of Erin’s Court, Montgomery Meadows and Rainbow Skies. Of these, 38 lots have a single-family residence with an interim on-site septic system and four are vacant lots that cannot be built on until sewer service is available.