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Sewer Certification FAQ

This document provides general information about the sewer certification process for those new to the process or unfamiliar with particular aspects of it. For more detailed information, click here to access the technical/design guidance and application forms and click here to access related rules and design standards.

What is a Sewer Certification?

A sewer certification (a.k.a. sewer availability certification) is a House Connection Proposal application or Site Connection Proposal application to certify the adequacy of the existing abutting sewer to receive site storm and sanitary flow from a development. Sewer certification applications must be submitted by Professional Engineers or Registered Architects licensed in New York State. For additional information on the certification and permitting process and application materials click here.

When is a Sewer Certification required?

A sewer certification is required for any new connection to a City sewer, a private sewer, a private drain, septic system, or an approved outlet. It may also be required for alteration of a site that increases the sanitary and/or stormwater flow generated on the site. Please consult with the New York City Department of Buildings for specific criteria on building alterations and renovations. Please note that all work performed on sewer connections requires a permit from DEP. Consult the Water and Sewer Forms web page for various permits and approvals required to access the City sewer.

What is the difference between a House Connection Proposal and a Site Connection Proposal?

A House Connection Proposal is required to obtain sewer certification for one, two, or three family homes that are “fee simple” (i.e., the title holder has exclusive ownership of and rights to the property). For a House Connection Proposal to be applicable the property must also be (a) without commercial use; (b) with individual connections to existing sewers fronting the property; and (c) without any “common” drainage facilities (i.e., drainage facilities connected to another dwelling unit). As an exception, proposed siamese connections may be submitted using the House Connection Proposal application.

A Site Connection Proposal is required to obtain certification of proposed sewer connection(s) to a City sewer, a private sewer, a private drain, or an approved outlet from all other developments.

What if I have questions about my application or the design requirements?

Detailed guidance is provided with each application form, and additional technical guidance is available on DEP’s website. If you have general questions or need additional information, visit any of our BWSO Borough Water and Sewer Office Locations or call 311 and ask for “sewer connections.” For more technical questions about your application or certain types of complex applications, it is advised that you request a pre-submittal meeting (see “How do I know if I need a Pre-submittal Meeting?” below).

If you have questions about comments you received on your application, contact the engineer who is listed on your comment letter. You may request a meeting to discuss or clarify these comments prior to resubmitting—however, you will not be able to make a submission at this meeting, nor will revised applications be reviewed during the meeting.

What records do I need to complete a House and Site Connection Proposal, and how do I obtain them?

You will need to reference the following records to complete a House or Site Connection Proposal application. Copies of these records must be submitted with your application:

  • Tax Maps: Tax maps show official lot lines, block and lot numbers, street names, lot dimensions, and easements. Tax maps can be obtained from the New York City Department of Finance using the Digital Tax Map service or by visiting one of the DOF local offices.
  • As-Built Sewer Records: As-builts are DEP records illustrating the detailed cross-sections and specifications of existing sewers. These records can be obtained from the corresponding Borough Water and Sewer Office where the project is located (see DEP Borough Water and Sewer Office Locations). As-built records must cover the entire block fronting the proposed connection. If as-built records are unavailable, you may request a field investigation (see “What if there is no existing record of sewer infrastructure?” below) and provide a copy of the DEP Field Investigation Report.
  • Sewer Maps: Sewer maps (also known as index map, atlas map, or section map), are DEP records that depict the locations of sanitary and storm sewers and manholes. These records can be obtained from the corresponding Borough Water and Sewer Office where the project is located (see DEP Borough Water and Sewer Office Locations). Sewer maps must cover at least a 500 foot radius around the project location.
  • Drainage Plans or Private Drainage Proposals: Drainage Plans are DEP records showing the location, course, size and grade of proposed sewers and drains. To obtain Drainage Plans, submit a Request for Information Form. For existing sewers that do not have a Drainage Plan, such as private drains, request the Drainage Proposal from the DEP Borough Water and Sewer Office in the Borough the project is located in.
  • Topographic Maps: Topographic maps illustrate elevation contours and watercourses. Obtain topographic maps from the corresponding Borough President’s Office (see NYC.gov for locations and contact information). Topographic maps must cover at least a 500 foot radius around the project location.

How long is the Sewer Certification valid?

The sewer certification is valid for two years from the date of certification. Although recertification within the two year period is allowed, it will not extend the expiration date (see “What if I need to revise my certified Sewer Certification application before the expiration date?” directly below).

After two years, the certification expires, and a completely new House Connection Proposal or Site Connection Proposal application is required before a permit will be issued.

What if I need to revise my certified Sewer Certification application before the expiration date?

Any change to a project that impacts the sewer certification (including but not limited to changes in project information, the location of the proposed connections, or the method of detention/retention) prior to the certification expiration date requires recertification. To recertify an application, provide six sets of the new House Connection or Site Connection Proposal application form, Attachment F, and site plan, and one set of the previously certified application form, Attachment F, and site plan. If more than one year has passed since the original certification, you must also submit an updated site survey. Please note that, although recertification within the two year period is allowed, the recertified application will still expire two years from the date of original certification. Any changes to the project after the expiration date require submittal of a completely new application.

What fees are associated with Sewer Certification?

Refer to the NYC Water and Wastewater Rate Schedule for application fees.

What type of payment is accepted?

Application fees are accepted in the form of personal checks, money orders, and certified checks. All checks must be payable to the NYC Water Board.

Dishonored (“bounced”) checks will incur a $20 fee and may result in restrictions on future payment options for the applicant (specifically, to money orders or certified checks only).

If I paid a fee for a self-certified application to the New York City Department of Buildings, and I am required to re-submit my application to the DEP, do I still need to pay the fee?

Yes, you are still required to pay the fee for DEP to review and certify a House Connection or Site Connection Proposal in accordance with the NYC Water and Wastewater Rate Schedule.

Can I request a fee waiver?

No, fee waivers are not provided under any circumstances.

When is a Field Investigation required?

You must request a field investigation from DEP if there is no existing record of the sewer infrastructure pertinent to your site or if the site survey differs from the official DEP records. DEP may also require you to schedule a field investigation if there is an inconsistency between the application and our records or if our records are missing information.

See Fact Sheet: Requests for Dye Tests, Field Investigations, and Catch Basin Inspections for more information.

What is a Master Plan, and When Do I need One?

Applicants may submit a Master Plan when a project consists of multiple construction phases and DEP certification or connections permits of all  the phases will not be requested at once. The  review fee for the Master plan is computed based on the total area of the development. Applicants may submit  the Site Connection Proposal application for the phases along with the Master Plan at no additional cost. Any Site connection Proposal subsequent to the Master Plan submittal  requires a review fee based on the area of the phase. The Master Plan certification has no expiration date.

The Master Plan should show the following information: development site and the property lines dimensions, delineation and dimensions of  phases limits, area of each phase,  streets abutting the site, existing sewers in the streets, location of  proposed and existing connections to the sewers, computations for the allowable storm flow to each sewer, computations for the sanitary flow for each phase, proposed storm and sanitary discharges from each phase.

How do I know if I need a Pre-Submittal Meeting?

DEP strongly advises applicants to schedule a pre-submittal meeting if the proposed project involves any of the following scenarios:

  • No sewer fronting the property
  • Easement connection
  • Filing a Master Plan
  • Filing for part of a tax lot
  • Green roofs
  • Detention ponds
  • Reuse of storm or sanitary water

Please note that if your project meets these criteria and you do not request a pre-submittal meeting, DEP may ask you to come in for a meeting upon initial review of your submittal and your application may be returned.

Applicants may also request pre-submittal meetings for other questions.

How do I obtain my certified applications?

The applicant on record will be notified via letter or phone call when the application is certified. Certified applications can be picked up at the DEP Borough Water and Sewer Offices located in the borough where the project is located (See DEP Borough Water and Sewer Office Locations) or mailed to the applicant upon request.

Certified applications may only be picked up by the applicant or the applicant’s authorized representative. The applicant’s authorized representative must have a signed letter, on official letterhead, identifying him/herself as an authorized representative.

Once I have my Sewer Certification, can I connect to the sewer?

Sewer Certification alone is not sufficient; a permit is required to connect to a City sewer. When construction is complete or nearly complete and all conditions required on the certification have been complied with, a License Master Plumber applies for a permit. See the Overview of Sewer Certification and Sewer Connection Permitting Process for details on the complete certification and permitting process.

What if there is no existing record of sewer infrastructure?

You should request a Field Investigation if there is no existing record of the sewer infrastructure. See “When is a Field Investigation Required?” above or reference Fact Sheet: Requests for Dye Tests, Field Investigations, and Catch Basin Inspections for more information.

Can I submit my application electronically?

DEP currently only accepts hardcopy submissions. Original copies with original seals and signatures by the submitting Professional Engineer or Registered Architect are required. Emailed or faxed transmittals will not be accepted.

What is the self-certification program?

DEP and the Department of Buildings offer a self-certification program to Professional Engineers and Registered Architects licensed in New York State whose projects meet specific criteria. The applicant must self-certify that the submission meets all applicable design and application requirements. Applications filed for self-certification that do not meet the eligibility requirements will be rejected and required to go through the regular sewer certification process. Self-certified applications are subject to audit. If deficiencies are identified, applicants must revise and re-submit their applications. Click here for forms and guidelines on submitting self-certified applications including eligibility criteria.

What is an SD 1 & 2?

An SD 1 & 2 is a previous form that is no longer in use. To file for a sewer certification, a Professional Engineer or Registered Architect must use the current House Connection Proposal or Site Connection Proposal form.

What if the applicant (Professional Engineer or Registered Architect) hired by the owner / developer changes prior to completing the certification process?

If there is any change in the applicant on record, DEP requires a “withdrawal” letter from the current applicant stating that he/she will no longer be working on the project and granting permission for the project to continue without him/her. The letter must be signed and sealed by the current applicant. A withdrawal letter is not needed if the applicant on record changes within the same architecture or engineering firm.

What if there is no sewer fronting the property?

If one or more tax lots covered under the proposal do not front a sanitary or storm sewer, the applicant must comply with requirements under applicable local law and building code requirements that identify appropriate methods for site drainage. These could include, for example, extension of existing nearby sewers, establishment of a Homeowner’s association, or other approved method of disposal.

The applicant is strongly advised to schedule a pre-submittal meeting to determine which of the various options are most appropriate and/or required by local law/code for the project.

What if I’m building two houses on one lot, with a common connection to the City sewer?

In this case, you will need a deed restriction. A copy of the deed restriction must be submitted to obtain sewer certification (see the Deed Restriction Template). The deed restriction must then be approved by the DEP Legal Department and recorded at the County Clerk’s Office before a connection permit will be issued.

What if my property is built on the bed of a mapped street?

As part of the certification requirements, if your property is located in the bed of a mapped street, you must produce a resolution from the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals that authorizes the proposed construction.

Reservoir Levels

Current: 71.2%

Normal: 73.1%