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Frequently Asked Questions

Annexation | Billing | Buffers | Drinking Water Providers | Grading | Permits & Regulations | Sanitary Sewer Service| Septic Systems | Source Control & Industrial Pretreatment | Surface Water Management | Water Quality & Wells

Annexation

Billing

Buffers

Drinking Water Providers

Permits & Regulations

Sanitary Sewer Service

Source Control & Industrial Pretreatment

Surface Water Management

Water Quality & Wells

Why are my water and sewer services separate?
If you live in Clackamas County Service District No. 1, you are billed by Water Environment Services (WES) for sewer, surface water, and, where applicable, on-site maintenance services. Your drinking water services are provided by water districts that overlap our service areas. If you live within the limits of one of our city partners, West Linn, Gladstone, Milwaukie, or Oregon City you may receive one bill for water, surface water, and sewer from that city.

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Where can I pay my bill?

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How often do I receive my sewer bill?
Water Environment Services direct bills its single family, commercial, industrial and multi-family customers every month.

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How do I start or stop sewer and surface water services when I move?
Call 503-742-4567 to open and close accounts when you move, or start or stop service online.

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What does the monthly fee fund?
The monthly sanitary sewer fee funds ongoing operation and maintenance of the public sewer system.

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How much does it cost to construct a sewer lateral from the main line in the street to my house?
The cost of building sewer laterals can vary widely. On the low end of the scale, a simple shallow gravity connection to a new house could be as little as $500. Longer, deeper connections from existing houses to the public sewer can be as much as $3,000 to $5,000, including decommissioning a septic tank if necessary.
Because of the wide variation in cost, we always recommend that owners get three bids for connecting their house to the sewer system.

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How do we calculate sewer rates?
The monthly sanitary sewer fee is based on the cost of operating and maintaining the collection and treatment facilities. Maintenance costs include the repair and replacement of equipment over time. Maintenance costs also include a capital component for the complete replacement of obsolete or worn out equipment. Some maintenance costs are incurred to meet permit requirements for discharge into the receiving streams.

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What is the penalty if I pay late?
Account balances over 30 days past due are assessed a penalty of 9% per annum. Once a year delinquent balances may be transferred to owner’s property taxes for collection under ORS 454.225. These delinquent accounts are certified to the tax assessor for attachment to the property tax statement. There is a $50.00 fee attached to each certified account. The fee covers the cost of preparing the certification list and the discounts taken on the tax statement.

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Can I make payment arrangements?
WES will always accept partial payments on any account. However, lengthy payment plans are not allowed to substitute for the certification of delinquent accounts.

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Why am I responsible for the bill if I'm not living there? What happens if I don't pay?
You are responsible for the bill if you are the property owner. Property owners may wish to incorporate the sewer bill with the lease agreement or receive deposits to cover a potential delinquent sewer balance.

Once a year delinquent balances may be transferred to owner’s property taxes for collection under ORS 454.225. These delinquent accounts are certified to the tax assessor for attachment to the property tax statement. There is a $50.00 fee attached to each certified account. The fee covers the cost of preparing the certification list and the discounts taken on the tax statement.

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Why don't you just discontinue service?
There is no way to just shut off the sanitary sewer or surface water service. Individual building sewer pipes do not have shutoff valves. The surface water continues to run from impervious surfaces regardless of any need to discontinue the service. Even if there were a valve to close off the sanitary sewer service, doing so would create a health hazard.

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When I receive WES approval, does that also meet the requirements of the Corps of Engineers or Division of State Lands?
No. Water Environment Services (WES) applies the Rules and Regulations of Clackamas County Service District No. 1 and the Surface Water Management Agency of Clackamas County only. The Corps of Engineers and the Division of State Lands administer separate regulations.

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What phone number should I call in an emergency?
If you have a concern about a sewage spill, flooding, or pollution of any stream or ground water you should call 503-742-4567 Monday – Thursday, 7:30 am to 5:30 pm. For calls after hours that are non-life threatening call 503-655-8211.

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Which treatment plant serves my household or business?
The cities of Oregon City and West Linn are entirely served by the Tri-City Wastewater Treatment Plant in Oregon City. Gladstone is primarily served by the Tri City Plant, but some sewage flows north to the Oak Lodge plant and a small portion actually flows to the Kellogg plant in Milwaukie.

Wastewater from the City of Milwaukie flows to the Kellogg plant. Wastewater from Happy Valley, Johnson City, and the unincorporated area flows primarily to the Kellogg plant, though some is diverted to the Tri-City plant in Oregon City. Water Environment Services (WES) also operates small sewage treatment plants in Boring, Hoodland, and Fischer's Forest Park (Redland).

Some wastewater flows to the City of Portland in both the Happy Valley area and the Johnson Creek area.

Clean Water Services serves some of the unincorporated area in the far northwest corner of Clackamas County. Both the Clean Water Services and the City of Portland Tryon Creek plant in Lake Oswego serve the City of Lake Oswego.

The cities of Molalla, Sandy and Canby operate and maintain their own wastewater treatment facilities.

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Where is the nearest public recreational vehicle waste dump site? Is the Kellogg Creek or Tri City Wastewater Treatment Plant a recreational vehicle waste dump site?
There is an RV dumpsite in Oregon City at Clackamette Park. The park is located west of McLoughlin Boulevard at the confluence of the Clackamas and Willamette rivers. Neither the Kellogg Creek nor the Tri City Treatment Plant accepts recreational vehicle waste. There is a dumpsite available to the public at Hoodland in the Mt. Hood RV Village.

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Who do I call to report someone pouring chemicals down the sewer drain?
Call Industrial Pretreatment at 503-742-4567. It is not appropriate to pour or dump hazardous materials into the sanitary sewer at any time.

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Is grease a problem in sewers?
In the sewage collection and treatment business, the answer is an emphatic YES! Grease is singled out for special attention because of its poor solubility in water and its tendency to separate from the liquid solution.

Large amounts of oil and grease in the wastewater cause trouble in the collection system pipes and the wastewater treatment plant. It decreases pipe capacity and, therefore, requires that piping systems be cleaned more often and/or some piping to be replaced sooner than otherwise expected.

Grease in a warm liquid may not appear harmful. But, as the liquid cools, the grease or fat congeals and causes nauseous mats on the surface of settling tanks, digesters, and the interior of pipes and other surfaces which may cause a shutdown of wastewater treatment units.

Problems caused by wastes from restaurants and other grease-producing establishments have served as the basis for ordinances and regulations governing the discharge of grease materials to the sanitary sewer system. This type of waste has forced the requirement of the installation of preliminary treatment facilities, commonly known as grease traps or interceptors.

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What phone number should I call in an emergency?
If you have a concern about a sewage spill, flooding, or pollution of any stream or ground water you should call 503-742-4567 Monday - Thursday between 7:30 am and 5:30 pm. For calls after hours that are non-life threatening call 503-655-8211.

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What is Surface Water Management (SWM)?
The SWM Program was implemented in 1993 to address surface water, or “non-point source”, pollution as required by the Clean Water Act. Contaminated surface water runoff has been identified as a major source of pollution in our waterways. Surface water, sometimes called "stormwater", runs off areas including roads, sidewalks, roofs, and even lawns and fields. Urban runoff is often unable to soak into the ground because of impervious surfaces such as pavement and buildings. On its way to a natural body of water, surface water picks up pollutants such as oil and grease, soil erosion, yard debris, litter, animal droppings, and industrial and home chemicals. Surface water management programs aim to reduce the amount of contaminants that reach our waterways by controlling erosion from construction sites, reducing impacts of new development, providing adequate drainage, identifying pollutant sources and taking action to correct and prevent them, and through public outreach.

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How are SWM fees used?
SWM fees are used to fund

  1. water quality monitoring;
  2. investigation of water quality, erosion, and drainage issues;
  3. water quality and drainage improvement projects;
  4. customer service response; and
  5. public education and awareness.

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Does everyone pay a surface water management charge?
Yes, everyone with impervious (nonabsorbent) surfaces pays a SWM fee, including homeowners, churches, schools, governments and businesses. Only unimproved properties and public streets are not charged. Public streets are designed to be part of the stormwater system and direct flow through the storm system.

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How is the surface water management fee calculated?
The SWM charge reflects the amount of impervious surface on each site, which is a measure of increased runoff into the storm drainage system.

The monthly surface water management fee is based on the Equivalent Service Unit (ESU). One ESU equals 2,500 square feet of impervious surface. The current SWM rate is $4 per month per ESU in the SWMACC District and $6.50 per month per ESU in CCSD#1. Single family residences are charged for 2500 square feet of impervious service area or 1 ESU (shown as "1.00 unit" on your billing) per month, based on this average measurement. Non-single family properties, including businesses, schools, governments and industrial areas, pay based on their measured impervious area. For example, a business with 10,000 square feet of impervious surface (4 ESUs) would be charged $16.00 per month ($4.00 X 10,000 sq. ft. ÷ 2,500 sq. ft. = $16.00). Through this approach, properties that contribute more to the need for surface water management pay a greater proportion of the program costs.

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I'm not connected to a stormwater system. Why should I pay?
You may not be directly connected to a stormwater system, but you are provided service through the Surface Water Management Program. The services may be in the form of water quality improvements, systems that protect the area roadways you use, or protection of your home or business from the impact of development upstream. The program is based on the premise that we all live "downstream" and we all need to be part of the funding solution that supports the program. The impervious surface approach is the fair and logical means of allocating these costs..

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Where do I go to get drinking water tested?
You can call Clackamas County Public Health at 503-655-8384. They conduct visual inspections of wells, test drinking water, and septic systems. For those wanting to test drinking water from a large public water source, Public Health will give them a list of State approved laboratories.

Find out more at Oregon Department of Human Service Public Health Drinking Water.

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Water Environment Services

Development Services Building

Water Environment Services

Phone number 503-742-4567
Email wescustomerservice@clackamas.us
Address 150 Beavercreek Road
Oregon City, OR 97045
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Hours Monday to Thursday
7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

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