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Dye Testing Ordinance

City of Pittsburgh Ordinance No. 3 of 2006

All city of Pittsburgh property owners who wish to sell their property, must be in compliance with the Dye Testing Ordinance

Before the sales transaction is completed, the property owner must contact The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) and receive an Evidence of Compliance Certificate.

The property owner must complete the top portion of the form and return it to PWSA for review along with a $25 processing fee. Effective February 1, 2010, the processing fee for the duplicate issue of a Dye Test Certificate will be $25.

Please allow ten business days for your review to be processed and completed.

PWSA's review will determine whether or not the property is located in a combined sewer area or a sanitary sewer area (see Map). Upon the determination of the property, the property owner must do the following:

  • If it is determined that the property is located in a combined sewer area
    • No dye test is required and the property owner will receive an Evidence of Compliance Certificate and will be able to move forward with the sale of property.
  • If it is determined that the property is located in a sanitary sewer area
    • ‚ÄčA dye test must be performed and the results must be reported to PWSA.
  • If a dye test is required and the property passes the dye test
    • No further work is necessary. The property owner will receive an Evidence of Compliance Certificate and will be able to move forward with the sale of the property.
  • If a dye test is required and the property fails the dye test
    • Corrective actions must be taken. After the corrective actions have been made, a subsequent test is required.
    • When the property passes the subsequent dye test, the property owner will receive an Evidence of Compliance Certificate and will be able to move forward with the sale of the property.

More Information:

Please read the information below for we feel that it will address some of the additional questions and/or concerns that you may have in regard to the Dye Testing Ordinance. 

Forms:

Evidence of Compliance Certificate

Dye Testing results FORM

Frequently Asked Questions:
Why is the Dye Testing Ordinance being put into effect?

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has required each local government to adopt a corrective action plan in order to control the overloading of the sanitary sewer system.

One of the requirements of the plan is to reduce the overloading of the sanitary sewer system by removing rain or stormwater from the sewer lines.

What's the problem if drains or downspouts are connected to the sanitary sewer?

Sanitary sewers are designed to accept a rather constant flow of sewage from household water. The sudden, rapid flow of rainwater from roofs, patios, driveways, etc., can overload the sanitary sewer causing them to overflow and pollute adjacent streams, creeks, and rivers.

What regulations are violated by connecting rain downspouts to a sanitary sewer?

To prevent the overloading of sanitary sewers, the connection of stormwater to sanitary sewers is not permitted. Regulators enforcing this matter are:

  • Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Allegheny County Health Department
  • City of Pittsburgh Ordinance No. 3 of 2006

Who does this ordinance impact?

All city of Pittsburgh property owners who wish to sell their property.Before the sale of the property is completed, the property owner must contact PWSA in order to determine whether or not their property is in a combined sewer area or in a sanitary sewer area.

A form and fee will be processed in order to make the determination. Upon the conclusion of the review, if PWSA determines that the property is in a combined sewer area, no further action by the property owner will be necessary. If PWSA determines that the property is in a sanitary sewer area, the property owner will be required to hire a plumber to perform a dye test and report the findings to PWSA.

What is a dye test?

Dye testing involves placing a non-staining water soluble dye tablet in the drain or downspout of your property and flushing it with water. The area is then examined for the appearance of traces of dyed water.

What does the dye test determine?

Upon the conclusion of the dye test, the plumber will determine whether or not the property is properly/improperly connected to the sanitary sewer system. If the property is properly connected, no further action will be necessary. However, if the property is found to be improperly connected, further work will need to be conducted in order to have the property properly connected to the sewer system and stormwater re-routed elsewhere.

If I am notified that I have an improper connection, what do I need to do about it?

PWSA recommends consulting a plumber or general contractor with underground utility experience to help determine the best corrective action plan.

Who is responsible for the repairs?

The responsibility of the costs associated with the dye testing and all other work that may be necessary in order to be fully compliant with this ordinance falls solely on the property owner. PWSA and/or the city of Pittsburgh will not be responsible for any of the costs associated with this ordinance.

Tips to Selecting a Plumber, Contractor and/or Company:

  • Ask friends and neighbors for the names of plumbers, contractors and/or company they have used and recommend.
    • The best referral is a satisfied customer.
  • Seek a plumber, contractor and/or company with a proven track record - one that conducts business in a professional manner.
    • Make sure they have a permanent business address and phone number.
  • When you feel that you have three to four qualified candidates, ask them to come out and give an estimate, then do some background work on each one.
  • Call the Better Business Bureau to find out if there have been any complaints against the plumber, contractor and/or company.
  • Make sure they carry liability and worker's compensation insurance.
    • Ask to see their certificate.
  • Make sure they offer a warranty on both materials and workmanship.
    • This warranty should be included in the written contract.
  • Never give a plumber, contractor and/or company more than 10% of the total job cost at the start.

For more information about the Dye Testing Ordinance, please contact:

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority
412-255-0801


Sanitary Sewer Maps

Feel free to look at the neighborhood maps below to see if your property is in a combined sewer area or a sanitary sewer area.

  • Please note that these maps are subject to change because of ongoing research and field investigation.  They are intended to be a guideline for property owners only. 
  • For an exact determination of a property, an Evidence of Compliance Certificate form must be completed.

Green lines on the maps indicate that there is a sanitary sewer in that street and a dye test will be required upon the sale of the property.