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Frequently Asked Questions

Who can purchase a sewer tap-on permit?

For a gravity service line, only a Hamilton County licensed plumber can purchase a permit. For a grinder pump installation, the licensed plumber must purchase the permit and the property owner must sign the easement forms. See Section VI: Fees, E.5 in Sewer Collection Rules and Regulations for Wastewater Collection System.

How are permit costs paid to the WWTA?

Business checks or cashier’s checks from the plumber are accepted.

Can any licensed plumber install a grinder pump in the WWTA sewer system?

Yes. However, the licensed plumber must have attended a WWTA Grinder Pump Installation Class and possess certification from the WWTA.

Will the tap fee be adjusted if a road cut is required?

Yes. The adjusted amount depends on the type of construction. A minimum $50 inspection fee is required.

Can an existing service be used for a replacement structure?

Yes, provided the existing service is sized properly and proven to be in good condition by video taping the line. The video tape shall be submitted when obtaining a permit.

If I need to tap a second time to my service line, will I have to pay an additional tap fee?

If the second tap is approved by the WWTA, an additional tap fee would not be required; however a permit, an inspection and a $50 inspection fee will be required.

Is a permit required any time a repair is being done on a service line?

Yes, the plumber should always pull a permit and a minimum $50 fee is charged.

What is the Private Service Lateral Program (PSLP)?

The PSLP is a program designed to inspect, test, and repair sewer service lines (laterals) from homes/buildings to the mainline (which is usually in the street). The repairs may include removal of blockages by roots or grease and realigning joints.

Only WWTA customers served by the gravity portion of sewer collection system will fall under the PSLP sewers. While Signal Mountain is the first municipality WWTA will serve, the program will ultimately serve all of WWTA municipality members and unincorporated Hamilton County.

What is the purpose of the PSLP?

Hamilton County WWTA received an Order from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) to correct bypass issues on Signal Mountain. Until the problems are adequately addressed, with the exception of those who had agreements in place prior to the moratorium, the WWTA will not be allowed to connect new customers to the Signal Mountain collection system. TDEC also required the WWTA to develop a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) to establish a Maintenance, Operation, and Management (MOM) program for the entire collection system.

What is the cost of the program?

In accordance with the approved WWTA procedures and regulations, beginning May 1, 2009, the WWTA implemented an eight dollar ($8.00) fee for the Private Service Lateral Program as part of the requirements set forth by TDEC.

The first two goals of the program will include inspection and testing of the property's sewer lateral. The estimated cost for this was $250 - $300 per lateral. The third goal of the program is to make repairs. Repairs were estimated to cost between $3,000 and $5,000 per lateral. The WWTA Board voted unanimously to implement the eight dollar ($8.00) per month service fee for the next 20 years to finance the program.

Who will make the repairs to the lateral lines?

WWTA has gone through an extensive selection process with local Plumbers and an Evaluation Contractor.

How does the WWTA fix a defective sewer lateral?

The WWTA will fix your lateral in four phases.

Phase 1: The plumber assigned to work on your property will check for, and install if necessary, the cleanout closest to your home or building.

Phase 2: From this cleanout, the Evaluation Contractor will video and test your service lateral.

Phase 3: Based on the video and testing results, the WWTA will assign work to the plumber that checked the cleanout in Phase 1.

Phase 4: The Evaluation Contractor will return to your property to test the work performed by the plumber.

Note: All repairs to and/or replacements of service laterals will be performed under the direction of a Licensed Master Plumber that has passed a qualification process required by the WWTA. In addition, this Licensed Master Plumber will guarantee their work for 5 years.

What is a Sewer Lateral?

A sewer lateral is a pipe, normally 4" in diameter for residential and larger for commercial buildings, which runs underground from the foundation of a home or business and connects to the public sewer main. This private sewer line transports sewage away from a home or business and deposits it into a larger public sewer main.

This service lateral is not a continuous pipe. The lateral consists of several sections that are joined together. It is possible that these sections are a variety of materials (clay, brick, concrete, cast iron, VCP, PVC, and ABS composite), which is a big part of the problem that the WWTA is trying to address.

Most private laterals were installed when homes were built and the majority of these lines have never been repaired or replaced. Communities with clay pipe laterals having cement joints or cast iron laterals installed decades ago will have more issues compared to newer cities or newer sections of your city, which likely have PVC or ductile iron laterals. However, all laterals, both new and old, can still break, shift, collapse or become choked by roots.

Will the WWTA enter my property without my knowledge to conduct testing?

The WWTA will seek permission from property owners and work to notify both property owners and tenants before work begins on the property. Since a portion of the sewer is located on private property, the WWTA will send a Consent and Agreement form to all property owners and tenants.

What should I do if I have a backup before a Plumber or Evaluation Contractor contacts me?

Only plumbers Qualified by the WWTA will be allowed to make repairs in the PSLP. You should contact one of these plumbers. Contacting a plumber that is not pre-qualified with WWTA could result in the homeowner being responsible for the cost of the repairs.



WWTA Forms and Manuals

Grease Inspection Form & Handout
Grinder Handout
Grinder Inspection Handout
Grinder Pump Class
Raising Manhole Covers
Sewer Use Rules & Regulations
Inspection/Duplication of Records Request Form (Coming soon)
STEP System
WWTA Grinder Application
WWTA Specifications for the Construction of Sewers
WWTA Details for the Construction of Sewers

Useful Links

One Call
Hamilton County
Map Maker
TDEC Water Pollution Control Publications


WWTA • Development Resource Center
1250 Market Street, Suite 3050 • Chattanooga, TN 37402
423.209.7842 • FAX 423.209.7843
Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00am - 4:00pm
With the exception of designated holidays