Chapter 13.08


13.08.010    Definitions.

13.08.020    Use of municipal sewer.

13.08.030    Application for sewer service.

13.08.040    STEP sewer connection permit.

13.08.050    Collection lines.

13.08.060    Inspections and compliance with standards.

13.08.070    Unlawful acts.

13.08.080    Prohibited uses.

13.08.090    Sewer service charges, system development charge, and inspection fee.

13.08.095    Monthly sewer fees.

13.08.100    Operational authority.

13.08.105    Adjustment of sewer bill.

13.08.107    System development charge and inspection fee waiver and deferral.

13.08.110    Violations – Penalties.

13.08.010 Definitions.

“As-built” or “as-built drawing” means a drawing showing the horizontal and vertical location of the improvements as actually constructed; showing invert elevations, slopes of pipes, location of the pipes, tanks, controls, valves, depths of cover, type of material and any other feature different than shown on the design drawing.

“Assess” means to establish an amount or rate for the value of required improvements, fees or charges that are due for services provided which may become a lien on the property receiving such improvements or services.

“BOD” is the abbreviation for “biochemical oxygen demand” which means the quantity of oxygen utilized in the biochemical oxidation of organic matter under standard laboratory procedure in five days at 20 degrees centigrade, expressed in parts per million by weight; provided, that, in the event an alternative definition is utilized by or within the terms of a permit issued by a governmental agency under which the treatment system is required to operate, then such definition shall be deemed incorporated herein by reference.

“City of Yelm department of public works” or “public works” means the sewer function of the city and the rules, regulations, boundaries, etc., relating to such sewer function. See “director.”

“City standards” means the official design and engineering specifications of the city adopted by the city council and applying to the construction of facilities under the city’s jurisdiction.

“Collection lines” means a pressure or gravity sewage conveyance line and appurtenances as defined from time to time by the city standards.

Commercial Waste. See “industrial/commercial waste.”

“Cover” means the depth of earth material lying between the top of the sewer and the finished grade immediately above it.

“Director,” when utilized within this chapter, refers to the director of public works/health officer or his/her designee.

“Disabled citizen” means a permanently disabled head of household whose combined income from all sources does not exceed income levels as established or amended by resolution of the city council.

“Down spout” means the leader, whether pipe, chain or otherwise, above ground which is installed to conduct water from the roof gutter.

“Drain” means any type of conduction of waste or surplus liquids.

“Equivalent residential unit” or “ERU” means the unit of measurement determined by that quantity of flow associated with a single residential household as defined by YMC 13.08.095.

“Garbage” means solid waste which includes, but is not limited to, matter originating from the preparation, cooking and dispensing of food; from handling, sale and storing of produce; from public places or from private ownership.

“Health officer” means the official responsible for the public health of the citizens of Yelm or his/her designee. See “director.”

“House drain” or “building drain” means the pipe used for conveying sewage from the building to the clean-out or to a point two and one-half feet beyond the outer line of any footing, piling, building support or porch under which it may run; whether such drain consists of one line extending from the building or of two or more such lines.

“Industrial/commercial waste” means the wastes from an industrial or commercial process, as distinguished from sanitary sewage.

“Licensed sewer contractor” means any contractor licensed by the state of Washington who is duly registered as a specialty contractor or a general contractor, and as such is licensed to construct, install, repair, reconstruct or excavate any sewers and to connect any building sewer to such public sewers, and who possesses a valid city business license.

Maintenance Manager. See “director.”

“Municipal sewer service area” or “sewer service area” means the geographic area defined in the city’s comprehensive sewer plan in which sewer service is currently available and planned to be served with sewer service in the future.

“Municipal sewer system” means the city’s sewer system and includes collectively: the STEP system, collection lines, treatment plant, discharge piping and outfall piping.

“NPDES” is an abbreviation for National Pollution Discharge Elimination System which is a federal wastewater discharge permitting system that establishes discharge limits for facilities discharging wastewater to waters of the United States of America.

“Occupant” means any person in physical possession of the building or structure to which sewer service is available, whether the owner, tenant or other person holding a possessory interest.

“On-site” means that the majority of the component parts of a wastewater collection or soil absorption system are located on the private property where the wastewater is generated.

“Owner” means any person who holds fee title to the subject property.

“Person” means any individual, firm, company, association, society, corporation or group.

“pH” means the logarithm of the reciprocal of the weight of hydrogen ions in grams per liter of solution.

“Pretreatment ordinance” means an ordinance adopted by the city addressing the type or level of treatment that may be required prior to the discharge of sanitary sewage into the STEP system.

“Primary treated wastewater” means wastewater that has been treated by the septic tank.

“Public place” or “public area” means any space dedicated to or acquired for the use of the general public or utilized with the permission of the owner or occupant on a continuing basis by the general public.

“Rate reduction application procedure” means the application procedure set forth in YMC 13.04.320.

“Sanitary sewage” means the combination of the water-carried wastes from residences, business buildings, institutions, commercial and industrial establishments, which wastes contain polluted matter subject to treatment at the sewage treatment plant, i.e., sanitary sewer.

“Sanitary sewer system” means an integrated system of piping, pumps, valving and related structures constructed for the purpose of collecting and conveying domestic wastewater from sources to points of treatment.

“Septic tank” means a tank designed to provide primary treatment of the wastewater, and sized according to the city’s Technical Specifications STEP Onsite System. See “STEP tank.”

“Sewer” means a pipe or conduit for conveyance of wastewater, and may be either gravity or pressure flow.

Sewer Collection System. See “sanitary sewer system.”

Sewer Service Area. See “municipal sewer service area.”

“Sewer system” means the treatment plant, outfall, collection lines and STEP system as defined herein.

Shall – May. For purposes of this code, “shall” shall be deemed to be mandatory and “may” permissive, unless the circumstances of the utilization thereof mandate otherwise.

“Side sewers” means the sewer pipe from the building drain to the STEP or septic tank serving the particular building, beginning at a single discharge point two and one-half feet outside the foundation wall, or at the clean-out if closer than two and one-half feet outside the foundation wall but still outside the foundation wall and ending at the inlet to the STEP or septic tank.

“Site plot” or “site map” means a map of the side sewer location retained by the city in conjunction with any permit; the site plot or site map shall serve as a record of all matters pertaining to such permit.

“Slug” means any discharge of water, sewage or commercial/industrial wastewater which, for any period longer than 15 minutes, has a flow rate or concentration of any given constituent that exceeds more than five times the average 24-hour flow rate or concentration of normal operation.

“Soil absorption system” means a system designed to percolate primary treated wastewater into soil through the use of a drainfield, mound system or other land disposal system approved by the Thurston County health department.

“Standard participation contract” means the form of contract required by this code to be entered into before properties which have not yet been connected to or assessed for sewers or do not otherwise qualify for sewer service may nevertheless use the public sewers of the city.

“STEP system” means all facilities from the building drain to the sewer collection lines including: the STEP tank, pump, screens, controls, alarms, electrical breakers, the effluent line, including the pipe, valves and valve box, and all miscellaneous appurtenances from the STEP tank to the sewer collection line.

“STEP tank” means a septic tank effluent pump tank and appurtenances as defined by the city standards.

“Suspended solids” means solids that either float on the surface of or are in suspension in water, sewage or other liquids, and which are removable by the application of a treatment process.

“Treatment plant” means the structures, equipment and facilities required to receive, treat and reclaim wastewater, including the outfall piping and structures. (Ord. 868 § 3, 2007; Ord. 505 § 1, 1994).

13.08.020 Use of municipal sewer.

A. It is unlawful for any person to place, deposit or permit to be placed or deposited, any human or animal excrement, sanitary sewage or other objectionable waste, by any natural or nonnatural means in any manner, upon property of the city or private property within the city sewer boundaries, or in any area under the jurisdiction of the city, except through the city’s sewage collection system or through an approved on-site system as provided in this chapter.

B. Except as provided in this chapter, it is unlawful to construct or maintain any privy, privy vault, cesspool or other facility intended or used for the disposal of sewage and to install or use any on-site soil absorption systems in such cases where the city’s sewer collection system is available for service as provided herein. For purposes of this code, the sewer collection system shall be deemed available when the premises are within 200 feet of the city’s collection lines; provided, that the city’s treatment plant holds sufficient unused capacity to treat the expected sewage from the premises. The 200-foot distance shall be calculated by measuring from the lot line closest to the existing portion of the city’s collection system.

C. For the purpose of this code, when the sewer is not available as defined in this section, primarily treated wastewater may be disposed of on-site with a treatment and disposal system that meets the approval of the health officer. All components shall be designed and constructed to meet the city’s STEP system standards. The city shall establish the standards under which all components of the system will be constructed, including: side sewers, tanks, pumps, pump controls and associated appurtenances for both the municipal system and on-site soil absorption systems that will be converted for use in the transport of effluent to the Yelm municipal collection system at such time as sewer is available.

D. The owner(s) of any premises upon which any building is located within the city’s sewer service area shall connect to the city’s municipal sewer system if: (1) the city’s sewer collection system is available to the premises, as defined in subsection A of this section; (2) the Thurston County health department has determined that the interests of public health and safety require a connection to the city’s municipal sewer system. Where the sewer collection system is available and as such, a property owner is required to connect to such system, such connection shall be made within the lesser of: (1) two years from May 1, 1994, or (2) when in the opinion of the health officer, the on-the-site system on the premises requires repair or replacement. Such connections shall be made at the sole expense of the owner within 30 days after notification by the city that service is available. This section shall apply to new buildings constructed within the city on or after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter.

E. The director may authorize the connection of more than one structure on the premises, whether residential, commercial or industrial to a single septic tank or STEP system installation serving the property. Any multiple connection must receive prior written approval from the director before a construction permit will be issued.

F. In the event that property is not timely connected to the municipal collection system within the time period prescribed by subsection B of this section, the director is authorized and directed to make such a connection to the system and to notify the city clerk/treasurer of the total cost thereof. Thereupon, a warrant shall be issued and drawn upon the city’s sewer fund for payment of such total cost. A statement of such total cost shall be filed with the auditor of the county of Thurston, as well as the treasurer of the county of Thurston, and such amount, together with interest at the rate as may from time to time be established for judgments on the total amount of the costs, shall be assessed against the property and shall become a lien thereon as provided in this chapter.

G. Any building hereafter constructed or made available for human occupation and use, or parcel of real estate to which the sewer collection system is available as provided in subsection A of this section, shall, within 60 days after an application for a side sewer permit is received by the city, or prior to occupancy of the premises, whichever event first occurs, be connected to the municipal sewer system of the city.

H. The owners of property within the corporate limits of the city, which property has not been connected to sewers, may, with the city’s consent, connect to the municipal sewer system of the city and obtain sewer service by entering into an assessment agreement provided for by YMC 13.08.040(A). Property located outside the corporate limits of the city shall not be permitted to connect to the city’s municipal sewer system at any time unless:

1. The property is included within the boundaries of the sewer service area; and

2. Either the property is annexed to the city or the owners thereof enter into a binding agreement with the city, agreeing the property shall be annexed to the city at such time as the city may request, and that the property owner waives any protest to the annexation. (Ord. 505 § 2, 1994).

13.08.030 Application for sewer service.

A. Properties that are located within the city’s sewer service area, as that area may from time to time be modified, and are not connected to the municipal sewer system and otherwise do not qualify for sewer service under the terms of this chapter, may be eligible to be connected to the city’s municipal sewer system and be served thereby when the owner thereof executes an application for sewer service and the city concurs therewith. Upon the concurrence by the city, the application and all of its terms become a binding contract on all parties named therein. The application shall be filed and recorded with the Thurston County auditor.

B. The application for sewer service shall contain such terms, conditions and requirements as may be from time to time established by the public works director. At a minimum, it shall provide the following:

1. That the property owner warrants that he/she is the owner of that property with full authority to bind the property with the covenants and conditions contained in the application;

2. That the property owner shall subject his/her property to the terms of the application and shall use the city’s municipal sewer system in accordance with the rules and regulations of the city as they may be amended from time to time, and that the property shall be subject to the regular schedule of sewer service charges of the city as may from time to time be fixed by the city for its use classification, including, if the city so provides, a reasonable split or special rate for properties in particular areas;

3. That the property described in the application shall be the only property served with sewer service pursuant to the terms in the application;

4. That the property subject to the application shall be subject to liens, penalties and interest for nonpayment of sewer service charges to the same extent as any other property served by the city;

5. That the property owner and his/her successors in interest shall not object to any annexation to the city or the formation of any utility local improvement district, the areas of which may include the property subject to the application;

6. That owner shall provide all necessary easements prior to the commencement of installation of collection lines on-site and all collection and STEP system materials and equipment shall be approved by the city and the ownership of such equipment and materials shall meet the specifications and approval of the city, including, but not limited to, a transfer of ownership to the city at the city’s request;

7. The owner shall agree to pay, prior to connection, any connection fee which may from time to time be assessed, as well as any monetary amount that may be expended by the city pursuant to this chapter and YMC 13.08.095. Such charges shall constitute a lien upon the properties and be subject to collection as provided in YMC 13.08.020(F).

C. Charge in Lieu of Assessment. The property owner must pay to the city, in addition to any connection fee, application fee or other charge which may be due, an amount of money which shall constitute a charge in-lieu of assessment which may be determined by the use of an assessment formula used by the city. The charge in-lieu of assessment must be paid in full before connection to the city’s municipal sewer system is permitted. This charge in-lieu of assessment shall be deemed to take into consideration, among other factors, the reduction in capacity of the collection system and/or treatment plant, resulting from the connection, which shall be in such amount as may from time to time be established by the director pursuant to the provisions of YMC 13.08.100.

D. Other Terms. To protect the interests of the city, the city may require that other conditions and provisions be inserted into the application for sewer service as the individual case may warrant.

E. Developer Agreement. In addition to authority provided in this chapter, the city may also enter into contracts with the owners of real estate to the extent allowed by law. (Ord. 505 § 3, 1994).

13.08.040 STEP sewer connection permit.

A. It is unlawful for any person to make connection to the city’s municipal sewer system without complying with all of the provisions of this code and having first procured a permit to do so from the city.

B. Applications for the STEP sewer connection permit shall be obtained from the office of the public works director and shall be filed therewith. The application shall be on such form as may from time to time be established by the public works director and shall require such information as from time to time may be established by the public works director, including, but not limited to, the name and address of the owner or owners, the correct address and proper legal description of the property to be served, the anticipated use of the property to be served, and the name, address and contractor’s number of the contractor who will be doing the work. The director or his/her designee may meet with the owners of the property or their representatives to approve the proposed location of the STEP tank and manner of connection. The application will then be submitted to the city along with such fee as may from time to time be established, for final consideration. The permit shall not be issued until the application has been approved by the director or his/her designee. No sewer connection shall be made until such STEP sewer connection permit has been issued.

C. No contractor shall commence sewer work within the corporate limits of the city or the sewer service area as defined by the latest sewer comprehensive plan, engineering report or facility plan, until proof has been submitted to the city that the contractor is a licensed contractor as defined in YMC 13.08.010.

D. Upon completion of the installation of the STEP system, tank and associated appurtenances, the owner shall be responsible for ensuring that the contractor provides to the city an as-built drawing to the satisfaction of the director. The as-built drawing shall be prepared on a site map showing the location of the STEP tank, the point of connection with the house or building, the grade of the side sewer, the location of all piping and electrical wiring and such other information as shall be deemed pertinent by the director. Records of all sewer connections, as-builts and inspection reports of completed work shall be kept on file in the city public works office, along with the STEP sewer connection permits.

E. Upon approval of an application for a STEP sewer connection permit, and any drawing related thereto, it is unlawful to install the permitted improvements in any manner other than as provided for in the permit, without the prior written approval of the director. During the course of construction of the improvements, the installation shall be inspected and approved by the director or his/her designee, both before the installation is covered and upon final completion. No work other than that covered by the permit shall be done without the prior approval of the city. The installation or repair of any portion of the STEP system between the house drain and the sewer collection system shall be considered to be an installation pursuant to this chapter.

F. It is unlawful for any person to break, alter or tamper with any city sewer collection line, except that property owner or his or her representative or contractor may connect to an existing wye, saddle or tee which exists for that specific purpose, with the prior approval of the director; provided, that any such connection shall be inspected and approved by the approval of the director before the installation is covered.

G. It is unlawful to disconnect any side sewer, STEP system or other connection to the city’s sewer collection system or remove any portion of a STEP system without securing prior written approval by the director. The discontinued service shall be turned off or sealed in such a manner as may be acceptable to the director, whether at the curbstop or otherwise. All expenses for disconnecting from the sewer collection system shall be borne by the property owner.

H. The approval of the design and installation of a STEP system or a city sewer collection system by the city shall not relieve the property owner of the responsibility for obtaining such other permits or licenses as may be required by the city, county, state or other agency, nor shall it be deemed to be a statement by the city that the installation was performed without defect in workmanship, parts or material. It shall be the responsibility of the sewer contractor to contact other utility service providers to determine the location of other utility facilities before commencing work and they shall have the responsibility for protecting such other facilities during the course of construction.

I. The property owner shall, prior to issuance of the STEP system connection permit, provide an easement to the city for the purpose of operation and maintenance of the STEP system, in a form as may from time to time be required by the director. (Ord. 505 § 4, 1994).

13.08.050 Collection lines.

A. The director shall not allow any substandard or temporary collection lines to be installed or connected to the city’s sewer collection system.

B. Whenever application is made for sewer service to premises with no collection line in the adjacent street, a collection line must be installed prior to connection. The installation of such lines shall conform to the comprehensive sewer plan for the city. A collection line shall be installed by, and at the expense of, the owner(s) of the premises to be served thereby, pursuant to plans approved by the director. In such cases, the city may contract with the owner(s) to provide for reimbursement of the costs of design and construction of such collection lines in a manner consistent with Chapter 35.91 RCW. The owner(s) may elect to request that the collection line be installed by the city upon making payment to the city of the appropriate collection line extension charges, as provided by this chapter.

C. Whenever a collection line is installed within the city’s sewer service area as provided in this chapter, the collection line extension charge to be paid by the owner(s) of the premises so served shall be determined by the city council on the advice of the director, based upon the actual costs for design, and the cost of the necessary material, labor and equipment required for the construction in accordance with current standards and the comprehensive sewer plan. The charge shall be based upon the acreage or front footage of the property to be served or a combination of acreage and the front footage of properties to be served, or on the basis of equivalent residential units (ERUs) as defined in YMC 13.08.095. (Ord. 505 § 5, 1994).

13.08.060 Inspections and compliance with standards.

A. The director and his/her assistant and the city council, bearing proper credentials and identification, shall be permitted to enter upon all and any premises at all reasonable times for the purpose of inspection, observation, measurements, samplings, testing of sewers and sewage waste and performing all other acts or duties required by the provisions of this code. It is unlawful for any person to prevent any such entrance or obstruct or interfere with any such officer or employee so engaged.

B. All work performed pursuant to any permit granted as provided by this chapter, including the quality of material and manner of construction, shall be subject to the inspection and approval of the director.

C. No excavation undertaken for purposes of the installation, connection, repair or replacement of a collection tank, side sewer or other portion of the STEP system or any collection line shall be back-filled or any sewer covered until the work has been inspected and approved by the director or his/her designee.

D. It shall be the responsibility of the person performing work under the authorization of a permit issued pursuant to the provisions of this chapter to notify the director when the work will be ready for inspection and that person shall specify in such notification the location of the premises. The director or his/her designee shall make such inspection within 48 hours after receipt of the notice, excluding Saturday, Sunday and holidays.

E. When such work authorized by a permit pursuant to this chapter is performed by a contractor, either the contractor or competent representative shall be available to meet the city representative on the premises when so directed.

F. If the director or respective designee finds that any work or materials used are not in accordance with any applicable code, ordinance, rule, specification or regulation, the director or designee shall notify the person doing the work and also the owner or occupant of the premises by posting a written notice, and such posted notice shall be all the notice required to be given with regard to defects in the work or materials found in such inspection.

G. All work within the limits of any public area shall be prosecuted to completion with due diligence. If any excavation is left open beyond a time reasonably necessary to back-fill the same, the city may cause the same to be back-filled and the public area restored forthwith at the expense of the property owner, occupant, or contractor, as the case may be. Any such work shall be protected by appropriate warning signs and barricades. The director may, if deemed necessary and appropriate to insure the completion of work, require the posting of a bond in favor of the city in such form as may from time to time be approved by the director in such amount as may be equal to one and one-half times the value of the work to be done.

H. Under any of the circumstances set forth in subsection I of this section, and after written notice has been provided by the director, or his/her designee, the contractor, owner or person doing the work, as the case may be, shall properly correct such work by performing the necessary construction or repair, or by otherwise taking the steps necessary to remedy the circumstances, within the time specified in the notice. In the event the contractor, owner or responsible person fails to properly correct such work within the specified time, then the city may perform such work as may be necessary to remedy such circumstances, and the cost of such work so done shall be charged to the property owner, occupant or contractor, as the case may be, and shall become immediately payable to the city upon written notice of such being delivered to such owner, occupant or contractor or charged against the construction bond as provided for herein. Any licensed sewer contractor, and any contractor performing work pursuant to a permit issued under this chapter, who refuses to modify, remove, replace or complete any portion of the work when so instructed by the director, shall by such refusal, forfeit his or her city license for construction of sewers or drains in the city.

I. The circumstances under which the provisions of this section shall apply are as follows:

1. When any work performed in the construction, installation, repair or modification of a sewer is not performed in accordance with the provisions of any applicable code, including this chapter, or any plans, specifications or permits approved by the city;

2. When the health officer or responsible city official determines that a collection system, STEP system or other portion of the sewage disposal system is obstructed, broken or inadequate and is a menace to the public health or is likely to cause damage to either public or private property;

3. The provisions of YMC 13.08.070 have been violated by noncompletion;

4. The STEP system serving any property has been shut-off from its service of electrical power as a result of delinquent payment for such service, or any other reason.

J. Any moneys expended by the city pursuant to the taking of any action by the city under the provisions of this section shall be subject to a lien and enforcement as provided in YMC 13.08.020(F). (Ord. 505 § 6, 1994).

13.08.070 Unlawful acts.

A. No person shall discharge or cause to be discharged any stormwater, surface water, ground water, roof runoff, subsurface drainage, cooling water or unpolluted commercial/industrial process water to a connection, STEP system, or any portion of the collection system, and no yard drains, or any exterior drains of any type shall be connected to the sanitary sewers in any manner.

B. It is unlawful to drain large volumes of waste directly into the sewer and thereby cause surcharge of sewer lines without the prior approval of the director. Swimming pools, public or private, shall not be directly connected to the sewer. Only upon authorization of the director, swimming pools may be drained into the sewer system by a pumped discharge. To prevent surcharges or excessive flows in the sewer line, the director may require reduced pumping rates, the utilization of smaller discharge pipe and/or throttled valves, and/or limited times of the day when pumping will be allowed.

C. It is unlawful to tamper with the municipal sewer system, or to break, damage, destroy, deface, alter or tamper with any structure, appurtenance or equipment which is part of the municipal sewer system, or without authority from the city, to break, damage, destroy or deface any public walk, curb or pavement, or to make openings or excavations in a public area for the purpose of connecting to the city municipal sewer system.

D. It is unlawful to disconnect or cause to be disconnected the electrical power source from the STEP tank, whether such tank is designed to serve multiple buildings or a single building, while the building or buildings are occupied and subject to continuing utilization or while the plumbing facilities in any of the connected structures are in use subject to continuing use. This prohibition shall not apply to gravity tanks that do not require electrical power for conveyance of the effluent. Nor shall it be deemed to apply to the sections of the electrical utility providing power to the tank, when such disconnection is necessitated by a failure of the responsible person to pay the electrical charges, or when the utility determines that such disconnections are necessary for the public safety. (Ord. 505 §§ 7.01 – 7.04, 1994).

13.08.080 Prohibited uses.

A. No person shall discharge or cause to be discharged any of the following described waters or wastes to any city sewers:

1. Any gasoline, benzene, naphtha, fuel oil or other flammable or explosive or liquid, solid or gas;

2. Any waters or wastes containing toxic or poisonous solids, liquids or gases in sufficient quantity, either singly or by interaction with other wastes, that injure or interfere with any sewage treatment process, constitute a hazard to humans or animals, create a public nuisance, or create any hazard in the receiving waters of the waters of the sewage treatment plant, including, but not limited to, cyanide in excess of two mg/l as CN in the wastes as discharged to the city sewer system;

3. Any waters or wastes having a pH lower than 5.5 or in excess of 9.5 or having any other corrosive property capable of causing damage or hazard to structures, equipment and personnel of the sewage works;

4. Solid or viscous substances in quantities or of such size capable of causing obstruction to the flow in sewers, or other interference with the proper operation of the sewage works such as, but not limited to, ashes, cinders, sand, mud, straw, shavings, metal, glass, rags, feathers, tar, plastics, wood, unground garbage, whole blood, paunch manure, hair and fleshings, entrails, paper dishes, cups or milk containers, either whole or ground by garbage grinders.

B. No person shall discharge or cause to be discharged the following described substances, materials, waters or wastes if it appears likely, in the opinion of the director, that such wastes can harm either the sewers, sewage treatment process (lagoons) or equipment, have an adverse effect on the receiving stream, or can otherwise endanger life, limb, public property or constitute a nuisance. In forming his opinion as to the acceptability of these wastes, the director will give consideration to such factors as the quantities of such wastes in relation to flows and velocities in the sewers, materials of construction of the sewers, nature of sewage treatment lagoons, degree of treatability of wastes in the lagoons, and other pertinent factors. The substances prohibited are:

1. Any liquor or vapor having a temperature higher than 150 degrees Fahrenheit (65 degrees centigrade);

2. Any water or waste containing fats, wax, grease or oils, whether emulsified or not, in excess of 300 mg/l or containing substances which may solidify or become viscous at temperatures between 32 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit (zero and 65 degrees centigrade);

3. Any garbage that has not been properly shredded to meet such specifications as may from time to time be established by the director. The installation and operation of any garbage grinder equipped with a motor of three-fourths horsepower (0.76 hp metric) or greater shall be subject to the review and approval of the director;

4. Any waters or wastes containing strong acid iron pickling wastes or concentrated plating solutions whether neutralized or not;

5. Any waters or wastes containing heavy metals including, but not limited to, iron, chromium, copper, zinc and similar objectionable or toxic substances; or wastes exerting excessive chlorine requirements to such degree that any such material received in the composite sewage at the water reclamation facility exceeds the limits established by the city for such materials;

6. Any waters or wastes containing phenols or other taste- or odor-producing substances, in such concentrations exceeding limits which may be established by the director as necessary after treatment of the composite sewage to meet the requirements of state, federal, or other public agencies or jurisdiction for such discharge to the receiving waters;

7. Any radioactive wastes or isotopes of such half-life or concentration as may exceed limits which may be established by the director in compliance with the applicable state or federal regulations;

8. Materials which exert or cause:

a. Concentrations or inert suspended solids (such as, but not limited to, Fuller’s earth, lime slurries and lime residues) or of dissolved solids (such as, but not limited to, sodium chloride and sodium sulfate),

b. Excessive discoloration (such as, but not limited to, dye wastes and vegetable tanning solutions),

c. Excessive BOD, chemical oxygen demand or chlorine requirements in such quantities as to constitute a significant load on the sewage treatment works,

d. Unusual volume of flow or concentration of wastes constituting “slugs” as defined herein;

9. Waters or wastes containing substances which are not amenable to treatment or reduction by sewage treatment processes employed; or

10. Any discharge that would be a violation of the city’s NPDES permit. (Ord. 1026 § 1, 2018; Ord. 505 § 7.05, 1994).

13.08.090 Sewer service charges, system development charge, and inspection fee.

A. All persons connecting to the sewer system of the city shall pay, in advance of connection to the sewer system, a system development charge and inspection fee in accordance with the schedule set forth below in this section. In every case, title to the STEP tank, valve boxes, and service connection lines shall be and remain with the city.

1. Sewer system development charges (SDC) charges are hereby established as follows:

a. Six thousand three hundred ninety-four dollars per equivalent residential unit for development outside local improvement district No. 1.

b. Three thousand two hundred sixty-nine dollars per equivalent residential unit for development inside local improvement district No. 1.

2. An inspection fee of $145.00 per equivalent residential unit.

B. Service Rates. Service rates, billings and collection procedures shall be governed by the applicable provisions of this code, as now existing or hereafter amended or supplanted.

C. Delinquent Charges. All delinquent charges for sewer service, for electrical service paid for by the city, and for the costs of sewer system connection, together with the penalties and interest thereon as provided in this chapter, shall be a lien upon the property upon which such connection is made or sewer or electrical service furnished, superior to all other liens or encumbrances except those for general taxes and special assessments. Enforcement of such lien or liens shall be in the manner provided by this chapter and by other laws for the enforcement of the same and for delinquent sewer service and electrical service charges. (Ord. 981 § 1, 2013; Ord. 979 § 3, 2013; Ord. 505 § 8, 1994).

13.08.095 Monthly sewer fees.

A charge for sanitary sewage disposal shall be levied against all accounts and premises connected to a sewer line at the rate established by this section or as amended hereafter.

A. Sewer Charge. There is established and charged a monthly sewer fee to be collected by the city using the following procedures and rates.

B. Definitions.

“Base flow” means the flow associated with an equivalent residential unit.

“Equivalent residential unit (ERU)” means the unit of measurement determined by that quantity of flow associated with a single residential household, defined as follows:

1. ERU measurement shall be an equivalent flow of 875 cubic feet, or less, per month, based on water meter in-flow, or sewer effluent meter when installed by owner with approval of the Yelm sewer department.

2. With respect to each residential structure, the number of ERUs and associated “base flow” will be based on Table 1.

Table 1

Type of Unit

No. ERUs

Base Flow

Single-family residence


875 cf

Duplex dwelling unit


875 cf

Triplex dwelling unit


788 cf

Fourplex dwelling unit


700 cf

Residential structures > four units


657 cf

3. With respect to uses other than residential, one ERU shall be designated for each 875 cubic feet of water consumed per month or sewage discharged as measured at source; provided, that for volumes in excess of 875 cubic feet per month, the service charge shall be computed at the rate established on Table 2.

4. With respect to accounts consisting of both residential and nonresidential uses, or combination thereof, the residential uses shall be charged as in Table 2 of this section and each nonresidential connection shall be charged an additional ERU plus a charge, as established in subsection C of this section, for each cubic foot of flow over the base flow.

C. Sewer Rates and Structure. The sewer rate for the city is established per the rates as identified in Table 2.

Table 2

Established Sewer Rate per Unit
Years 2018 to 2020 

Table 2 – 2018 Rates

City-Owned Electrical Meter

Private Electrical Meter

With Meter

No Meter

Type of Unit




One single-family on one tank




Two single-family on one tank




Three single-family on one tank




Duplex units




Triplex units




Fourplex units




Residential with more than four units


Nonresidential units

$64.56 + 0.0717 per cubic foot for flow in excess of 875 cubic feet per month


Table 2 – 2019 Rates

City-Owned Electrical Meter

Private Electrical Meter

With Meter

No Meter

Type of Unit




One single-family on one tank




Two single-family on one tank




Three single-family on one tank




Duplex units




Triplex units




Fourplex units




Residential with more than four units


Nonresidential units

$70.53 + 0.0783 per cubic foot for flow in excess of 875 cubic feet per month


Table 2 – 2020 Rates

City-Owned Electrical Meter

Private Electrical Meter

With Meter

No Meter

Type of Unit




One single-family on one tank




Two single-family on one tank




Three single-family on one tank




Duplex units




Triplex units




Fourplex units




Residential with more than four units


Nonresidential units

$77.05 + 0.0856 per cubic foot for flow in excess of 875 cubic feet per month

Unless otherwise abrogated by the city council, beginning January 1, 2021, and each year thereafter, the sewer utility rates levied in 2020 shall continue with an annual adjustment each year in January by an inflationary factor tied to the Consumer Price Index, All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue index. The inflationary factor shall be calculated and rates shall be adjusted by the finance director in September of each year using 12 prior months of Consumer Price Index data.

D. Payment of Sewer Bills. The rates, fees and/or charges shall be due and payable at the office of the city clerk/treasurer for the city, on the fifteenth day of the month following use of Yelm’s sewer system. Any payments not paid as specified herein shall be considered delinquent.

E. Application for Service. Sewer customers shall be required to complete an application for utility service and provide photo identification with the city clerk/treasurer’s office to start service for sewer at the address listed on their application. (Ord. 1024 § 4, 2018; Ord. 1034 § 1, 2017; Ord. 978 §§ 1, 2, 2013; Ord. 933 § 2, 2011; Ord. 927 § 2, 2010; Ord. 915 § 1, 2009; Ord. 810 § 1, 2004; Ord. 719 § 1, 2000; Ord. 683 § 1, 1999; Ord. 567 § 1, 1995; Ord. 547 § 1, 1995; Ord. 527 §§ 1 – 3, 1995; Ord. 506 §§ 1 – 5, 1994).

13.08.100 Operational authority.

A. In addition to the authority granted to the director to make rules and regulations, the city council may make rules and regulations implementing the provisions of this chapter and may amend the same from time to time, but not in a manner inconsistent with the provisions of this code. In the event of an inconsistency between a rule or regulation established by the director and one established by the city council pursuant to the provisions of this section, the rule or regulation established by the city council shall be deemed to control.

B. The director shall be authorized to issue such rules or regulations as he or she may from time to time determine appropriate in relation to matters of methodology, standards, techniques and materials to be utilized in relation to the connection, repair and replacement of systems upon individual properties. The authority granted by this section shall be deemed supplemental to any authority granted to the director pursuant to any other of the provisions of this chapter.

C. The director is authorized to establish by rule or regulation, such construction standards, rules and regulations as may be necessary to govern the installation, improvement, repair, replacement or operation of the sanitary sewer system of the city. The standards may include, but are not limited to, specification of materials and installation requirements, limitations upon materials to be permitted to enter the sewer system from a building served by the system, collection system and treatment plant capacity and such other matters as may be deemed necessary by the director.

D. Any proposed rule or regulation to be issued by the director shall be submitted to the council prior to its implementation. The council shall have 21 days following the date of its initial submission to the council at a regular meeting to approve, disapprove or modify any proposed rule or regulation. In the event the council does in fact so act, such action shall be deemed to be effective immediately upon approval or modification by the council. In the event of no action by the city council, unless the time period established by this section is extended by affirmative action of the council, the proposed rule or regulation shall become effective upon the twenty-second day following date of submission. (Ord. 644 § 1, 1998; Ord. 505 § 9, 1994).

13.08.105 Adjustment of sewer bill.

A. The city administrator, or her designee, is empowered to resolve billing disputes upon receipt of request to do so from a city sewer utility customer. Upon receipt of such notice from the customer, the city administrator, or her designee, shall review the bill with the customer to see if the amount is justly owed. The customer shall have the right to have a meeting to bring forth reasons and evidence why such bill should not be due and owing.

B. When any customer in any given billing period has used, according to the customer’s water meter or metered sewer effluent, a quantity of water or effluent which is more than double the average amount of water used or effluent discharged on such premises in similar billing periods in prior years, and the water consumption or effluent is solely caused by a broken water pipe on the user’s premises, the customer may make an application to the treasurer in writing for a reduction of the billing.

1. If the application states a broken pipe on a customer’s premises caused a large consumption or large discharge of effluent, the existence of a broken pipe shall be verified by inspection by public works employees. If it is established by presenting acceptable documentation demonstrating to the city that such broken pipe has been repaired, a reduction of the sewer utility bill to an amount that is the average of the prior four months plus one-half of the difference between the average and existing disputed bill shall be made.

2. The reduction provided for in this section shall not be allowed if such excess effluent discharge is due to the customer’s neglect or failure to repair the broken pipe. A reduction in billing shall not be permitted if such excess discharge is due simply to leaky faucets or other plumbing fixtures releasing wastewater through the system.

3. This section only applies to those customers other than flat-rate sewer customers.

4. In newly developed property which does not have a prior service record, the appropriate sewer utility charge will be based upon the charges for a similar type of sewer service and occupancy for the preceding year.

5. The application by the customer shall be on the forms provided by the city. (Ord. 921 §§ 1, 2, 2010).

13.08.107 System development charge and inspection fee waiver and deferral.

A. The system development charge and inspection fee imposed by YMC 13.08.090 shall be deferred for low-income families where:

1. The total maximum household income of the residents of the dwelling unit shall not exceed 50 percent of the most recent Thurston County median household annual income, as determined by the United States Housing and Urban Development Department.

2. The dwelling type is a detached, single-family residential unit.

3. The dwelling is occupied by the owner of the property.

4. The property owner submits a restrictive covenant in a form approved by the city attorney to be recorded with the Thurston County auditor guaranteeing fulfillment of the criteria set forth in this section.

5. The property owner submits a restrictive covenant in a form approved by the city attorney to be recorded with the Thurston County auditor requiring the deferred system development charge and meter charge be repaid to the city in the event the property is sold within 10 years of the date of the deferral. If the property is not sold within the 10-year deferral period, the deferral shall convert to a waiver.

B. To qualify for the waiver and deferral of system development charges and inspection fee set forth in this chapter, every eligible subscriber (or if married, then either spouse) shall file with the city clerk his or her statement, under oath, on such form as may be prescribed by the city clerk, that he, she or they meet the eligibility requirements set forth in this section and that such applicant or applicants promise to forthwith notify the city of any circumstances or change in conditions which would make the applicant or applicants ineligible to receive the reduction.

C. Amortization of system development charge may be authorized by the city administrator if a business with high water usage of more than three equivalent residential units can show that the connection charges are a barrier to economic development. Upon authorization of amortization of system development charges, the business owner and property owner must enter into a repayment agreement with the city. The agreement must:

1. Have a term of no more than 24 months with equal monthly payments.

2. Require the property owner to grant and record a lien against the property in favor of the city in the full amount of the amortized system development charges.

3. Include interest at a rate established by the finance director.

4. Include an administrative fee to cover the cost of administration of the contract, as established by the finance director. (Ord. 1026 § 2, 2018; Ord. 979 § 3, 2013).

13.08.110 Violations – Penalties.

A. Civil Penalties.

1. Any person who shall violate any provision of this code or the city’s NPDES permit, or cause such NPDES permit to be violated, shall be liable to the city for any expense, loss, damage, cost of inspection or cost of correction incurred by the city by reason of such violation including any cost to the city incurred in collecting from such person such loss, damage, expense, cost of inspection or cost of correction, including necessary reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs.

2. Any person who shall make an unauthorized connection to the city’s municipal sewer system shall be charged a minimum fine of $250.00, or such other fines and penalties as may be adopted from time to time by city ordinance, for each unauthorized connection.

3. Any person found to be violating any provision of this chapter shall be served by the city with written notice stating the nature of the violation and providing a reasonable time limit for the satisfactory correction thereof. The offender shall, within the period of time stated in such notice, permanently cease all violations and make all necessary corrections.

4. Any person who shall continue any violation beyond the time limit provided in such notice shall be disconnected from use of the city’s municipal sewer system until such violation has been corrected and certified by the director or his/her designee. Such discontinuance of sewer service will be reported to the Thurston County health department and a reconnection fee of $250.00 will be assessed against the property.

B. Criminal Penalties. Any person violating a provision of this chapter shall, in addition to any other penalty which may be imposed pursuant to the chapter, be subject to, upon conviction of such violation, a penalty as provided in this code. The first citation within any 12-month period issued a person alleging any particular violation shall be deemed to be an infraction. The person, upon a finding that the violation was committed, shall be subject to the allowable penalties, up to $250.00. Any second or subsequent violation within any 12-month period issued to a person for a particular violation shall constitute a criminal violation and be deemed to be a misdemeanor. (Ord. 505 § 10, 1994).