The New York City (NYC) Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is responsible for all approvals relating to the City’s water and sewer infrastructure. This includes all connections to the existing public sanitary or combined water and sewer system.
Regulations relating to water supply and distribution as well as sanitary and storm drainage sanitary are contained in the NYC Plumbing Code 2014.
Sewer connection includes connection:
- Of a new water distribution system to a public water main supply.
- Of a sanitary system to a public sanitary or combined sewer.
- To a public storm sewer or public combined sewer, depending on what is available and acceptable.
The terminology used in the industry can be confusing to the layman, which is just one small reason why only professionals, including MEP engineers, can design, construct and install water and sewer systems.
Water supply systems incorporate water service pipes, water distribution pipes, and all the connecting pipes, fittings, and control values required for the water supply system.
Drainage systems incorporate all the piping required to convey rainwater, sewage, or any liquid waste to a point where it can be disposed of. The drainage system does not include the mains of a public sewer system or any sewage disposal or treatment plant.
Plumbing systems include water supply and distribution pipes as well as plumbing fixtures and traps; equipment designed to use or treat water; soil, waste, and vent pipes; building drains and both sanitary and storm sewers.
Sewage is any form of liquid waste that contains animal or vegetable matter in suspension or solution, or chemicals in solution that includes wastewater, non-potable clear water waste, human and animal waste, and industrial waste.
Sewers are constructed to remove sewage and/or stormwater. There are various kinds:
- Building sewers extend from the end of building drains and convey sewage to a point of disposal, to a sewage disposal system, or to some other type of sewer.
- Combined sewers are designed to receive a combination of stormwater, groundwater, non-potable clear water waste, and sewage.
- Private sewers are designed and constructed in accordance with the City’s requirements to serve specific developments. They discharge into approved outlets.
- Sanitary sewage only conveys sewage.
- Storm sewers only convey stormwater, groundwater, and non-potable clear water waste.
Before construction of a sewer can be initiated, a sewer certification application must be submitted to the DEP. The purpose of this is to verify that there is an adequate sewer to receive stormwater and sanitary flow from a site. Certification is required for any new connection to sewers, private drains, and septic systems.
Only professional engineers or registered architects who are licensed in the State of New York may submit applications to the DEP. Previously, an SD 1&2 (also referred to as an SD 1/2) form was required for all new connections to NYC sewers, including private sewers. The SD 1&2 form is no longer used by the NYC government.
As required, before we submit sewer certification applications we refer to the DEP sewer maps that identify the locations of manholes and both sanitary and storm sewers. We also check existing drainage plans and topographic maps that provide invaluable information about watercourses and elevation contours. If there is not a sewer that fronts the property, we identify alternative methods for site drainage. This sometimes involves extending an existing sewer located nearby.
Once we have approval for sewer certification construction , we can commence in accordance with approved plans. Thereafter, the next step is to apply for a permit to connect to a NYC sewer. When all the conditions specified on the certification are in compliance , we get a licensed master plumber to apply for the permit.
There are two different types of sewer connection certification applications:
- Site connection proposals
- House connection proposals
When the title holder of the property applies for a house connection, as long as it’s for a one, two, or three-family home, the proposal is “fee simple”. All other properties require a site connection proposal. The procedures required for both types of proposal are explained in the next two sections below.
Current site connection (SC) and house connection (HC) forms are available from the DEP Bureau of Water & Sewer Operations (BWSO). As stated above, the old SD 1&2 forms are no longer in use. Once approved, sewer certification is valid for two years from the date of issue. If approval expires, totally new connection proposals are required before the DEP will approve a sewer connection permit.
Sewer certification is strictly for sewer line connections and has nothing to do with water service lines. The approval for water lines follows a totally different process.
A site connection proposal (SCP) is a relatively simple process but one that requires very specific documentation.
The first step of a site connection proposal form involves gathering data, requesting records, and doing site surveys. If there are any required records that are not available, we request a field investigation.
Support documents include a site plan and survey. Proposed methods of disposing of sanitary, storm, or combined discharge must be indicated both on the proposal form and on the site plan. Hydraulic loading along with all hydraulic calculations for actual and allowable sanitary and storm discharge must also be shown on the site plan. We compute these in accordance with DEP design criteria.
The drainage plan or an approved drainage proposal must also be included on the form together with details of the site storm flow. If detention and/or retention of stormwater flow is proposed, this must be indicated. The type of sewer proposed (sanitary, storm, or combined), as well as number and diameter of each connection, must be shown.
The second step involves submitting all the required documentation. This must be done in exactly the way required by the DEP.
Then the submission is reviewed by the DEP and if acceptable, certified. The important factors are whether or not there is a sanitary, storm, and/or combined sewer fronting the property that is available for the site connection. They also need to establish where the sanitary system will discharge to, for example, either a city treatment plant, a private pumping station, or a private sewage treatment plant. The distance to and location of the nearest allowable drainage-plan sewer also needs to be established. This might be a sanitary, storm, or combined outlet.
The DEP will decide whether to allow certification and in this event, whether there is any need for restrictions and/or special conditions.
The DEP BWSO provides guidelines for filling out site connection proposal forms, but these must be submitted either by a New York State licensed professional engineer or registered architect. We handle applications as part of each project.