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Sanitary Sewer Reimbursement Districts

Sanitary Sewer Extension Program (Failed Septic Tanks)
Failed septic systems create environmental and public health hazards to the community.  Tigard’s sanitary sewer extension program was created to provide public sewers to all developed but unserved areas in the city by using a reimbursement method of financing.

When this program began, there were over 680 residential lots throughout the city, plus about 80 commercial lots in the Tigard Triangle Area, without sewer service. The septic systems serving these lots were typically more than 30 years old.  To date the city has created over 50 reimbursements districts which have provided opportunity for more than 780 properties to connect to public lines.

how do we get sewer service?

Under the program, the city installs public sewers to each lot within an established reimbursement district. At the time an owner connects to public sewer, the owner would be responsible to pay:

  • A connection and inspection fee
  • Fair share reimbursement amount
  • Plumbing modifications to connect to the public sewer
  • Septic system disconnection and permit fees in accordance with DEQ and WA County regulations

There is no requirement to connect to the sewer or pay any fee until connection is made.

how much will I have to pay?

The amount the owners pay to the city for is a fair share cost of the final construction amount. These amounts, however, can vary greatly from project site to project site due to depth of sewer, geophysical material encountered and many other site specific variables.  

Payment to the City:
Fair share specific to lot and district Varies
Sewer connection fee (per dwelling unit) $6,085*
Inspection fee (residential) $35*
Additional costs to others:
Decommissioning septic permit (County)  See County Fee Schedule
Private contractor (labor, materials, and incidentals for installation of the line from house to the street) Varies

*Fees effective July 1, 2021.  Fees are subject to change and typically increase July 1 of each year.

is there an incentive program?

To promote the program, the city offers an incentive to those owners who connect to the sewer within three years. The incentive limits the amount an owner is required to pay to $6,000, if that share amount falls between $6,000 and $15,000. If the fair share amount exceeds $15,000, the owner would be responsible for paying all actual costs that exceed $15,000 and the initial first $6,000. In effect, this incentive is a city subsidy that contributes up to $9,000 ($15,000-$6,000) for each owner within the district.
Below is an example of possible payment schedules:

Fair Share
Reimbursement Amount
Finalization of district to year 3 Year 4 to expiration of district
$5,400 $5,400 $5,400
$8,500 $6,000 $8,500
$16,750 $6,000+($16,750-$15,000)=$7,750 $16,750+fixed annual increase
$24,560 $6,000+($24,560-$15,000)=$9,560 $24,560+fixed annual increase


Can't I keep pumping the septic tank or repairing it if something goes wrong?

When a septic system fails, it is usually the drainfield that is the culprit. The drainfield lies outside the septic tank and is made up of perforated pipes buried in gravel trenches. The drainfield allows the fluid material to leach into the ground (see image below). Generally failure occurs when these pipes become clogged with solid matter and material is unable to percolate into the surrounding ground. Once a drainfield fails, a new drainfield needs to be  constructed elsewhere on the property and lots are seldom of sufficient size to accommodate a new drainfield.

Septic systems are regulated by Washington County.  If you are interested in repairing or changing your septic system, you must first obtain county approval. 

Septic System

I am in a reimbursement district and want to sell my house.  What should I know?

Let the realtor or your prospective buyer know about the reimbursement district, the costs which the new owner might have to incur if the current system fails, and the date the district is scheduled to expire (15 years after construction).  Advise them that a title search may show a lien on the property, but it is not a lien and there is no requirement for anyone to connect to the sewer unless the system fails and the county declines approval for new septic system.

The county is telling my realtor there is a lien on my property.  What is this?

Reimbursement districts are created in accordance with Chapter 13.09 of the Tigard Municipal Code.  Section 13.09.090 provides that:           

The City Recorder shall cause notice of the formation and nature of the reimbursement district to be filed in the office of the County Recorder so as to provide notice to potential purchasers of property within the district.  Said recording shall not create a lien.

Furthermore, there is no requirement to connect to a sewer constructed through a reimbursement district or pay any fee until connection is made.  Each property owner’s fair share of the public sewer line is not paid until the owner decides to connect. 

At that time, the owner would also be required to pay a connection fee.  Additional costs incurred by property owners would include those for disconnecting their existing septic system according to Washington County rules, installation of the private line as well as payment to the contractor.

Staff Contact
Saul Chavez-Hernandez

Utility Billing Supervisor

Supporting Documentation
Res 03-55 Additional Incentives (10-14-03)
Res 01-46 Revised & Enhanced Incentive Program (7-10-01)
Res 98-51 Incentive Program (10-13-98)
TMC Title 13.09 Reimbursement Districts
Ord 96-13 Amending Chapter 13.09 (4-9-96)
Ord 94-10 Adding Chapter 13.09 to the TMC (5-10-94)

Related Links

Washington County Onsite Sewage
Completed District Maps
District No. 42 - SW 100th Avenue
District No. 45 - Hoodview
District No. 46 - 72nd and Baylor
District No. 44 - Cherry Drive
District No. 41 - 97th Avenue
District No. 40 - Ann St
District No. 39 - Hill View St
District No. 38 - Fairhaven
District No. 37 - 87th Ct/Hall Blvd
District No. 36 - SW 93rd Ave
District No. 35 - Ash Ave
District No. 34 - 117th Ave
District No. 33 - Walnut Street
District No. 32 - Fern Street
District No. 31 - O'Mara & Edgewood
District No. 30 - 121st Ave
District No. 27 - 100th & Murdock
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