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Effective January 1 2018:
System Availability fees.

All residents, private companies and government agencies must obtain approval from DC Water prior to performing any work that directly or indirectly affects the public water and/or sewerage systems.

The Permit Operations Department is the starting point for all of DC Water's permit services. Permit Operations can provide you with mapping of the existing water and sewer infrastructure and can answer many of your questions. If you have general permitting questions please call 202-646-8600.

If your project is more complex, then your plan will need to be reviewed and approved by the Department of Engineering and Technical Services to verify your design is in conformance with DC Water Standards. If you have questions about larger more complex projects please call 202-646-8600.


August 29, 2016
Meter sizing computations: DC water has revised its meter sizing review and is converting to computations performed in accordance with the procedure presented in appendix E of the International Plumbing Code (IPC), 2015 Version. Effective October 1, 2016 all computations will be required to be performed using that method. New meter sizing forms are available on line and in or department. We are phasing out the previous forms that were structured around AWWA M22 methodology. The IPC method complies with the District building code and has much better definition of low flow situations. Using it should alleviate many questions regarding the approval of small service connections. Use of the IPC method is acceptable immediately and will be mandatory after October 1, 2016.

Downsizing of Meters: DC Water will accept applications to down size existing water meters as an Approved Plan Revision (APR). A complete package tor submission for review must include a plan sheet showing the complete property, the location of the existing water lines (fire and domestic), the location of the existing water meter and vault of the meter to be down sized, detailed plans depicting the plumbing changes to be made to accommodate the smaller meter and computations performed in accordance the IPC methodology showing that the down sized meter is indeed correctly sized and the head loss generated can be accommodated. DC Water is not opposed to right sizing of the water meter but cautions that the plumbing modifications must be designed to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the meter. All meters above 2" in diameter shall be Type II compound, those 2" and less are to be positive displacement type. On occasions where combined fire/domestic water service meters are approved the type will be defined during the review.

June 27, 2016
Many utilities have implemented a fee, assessed to new development (or redevelopment) to recover the investment in available system capacity. The DC Water Board of Directors has approved a System Availability Fee (SAF) on new construction and renovations which will be implemented beginning January 1, 2018.

After January 1, 2018, all applications for DCRA Construction Permit Applicants and all federal facility new buildings or renovations shall be assessed a System Availability Fee (SAF) if they result in new connections, or modify existing connections to the District's potable water and sanitary sewer systems.

The fees will be associated with the size of the water meter and shall be assessed in accordance with the tables in the Approved System Availability Fee - Notice of Final Rulemaking (PDF 252 kb)

For properties under redevelopment the net System Availability Fee will be determined by computing the property's proposed capacity requirements for the new service and applying a credit for the capacity of accounts being removed from the system. However, if the associated credit for capacity removed is equal to or greater than the future System Availability Fee, the net System Availability Fee shall be zero. Properties under redevelopment shall not receive a credit for accounts that are inactive for more than 24 months.

New for 2012: The DC Water Permits Office has relocated to better serve our customers. We are co-located with DCRA, DDOT and DDOE at the following address. See permit contact list below for new telephone numbers.

DC Water Permit Operations
1100 4th Street SW, Suite 310
Washington, DC 20024

Effective October 1, 2011:

  1. The cost for review fees for most permit applications has changed. See the new fee schedule.
  2. Review fees are required to be paid at the time the plans are initially submitted.
  3. Estimated inspection costs, deposits against damage and non refundable fees will be charged at the end of the permit review process when the Water and Sewer Availability Certificate is issued.
  4. There is an option for a "Fast Track" review, at added cost, if allowed by manpower availability.

Notice, effective October 24, 2011: In accordance with the literal interpretation of D.C. Official Code § 8-105.06(d), the discharge of non-wastewater flows (e.g., storm water, groundwater, etc) is restricted to sewers designated as combined or storm sewers or to a natural outlet. DC Water has researched the legislative history records and determined that this provision was originally intended to only prohibit the discharge of "uncontaminated" non-wastewater flows to sanitary sewers. Based on the original intent of this legislation, DC Water may authorize the discharge of contaminated non-wastewater flows to the sanitary sewer system provided the non-wastewater exceeds the District's pretreatment standards (prior to treatment) and the additional flow does not exceed the capacity of the sanitary sewer.

Notice of Final Rulemaking for Amendments to Engineering Documents and Pretreatment Fees (PDF 116 kb)
Notice of Final Rulemaking for additional rates and fees.

What can you find in this section?

  • Permit Contacts
    Who to call at DC Water to answer your permit or inspection questions. Also, who to call to arrange an appointment for a design review or inspection of pending work
  • Fee Schedule
    Review DC Water's fees for permits, inspection work, and the purchase of design and construction manuals
  • Check Application Status
    Check the status of a permit application that you have submitted.
  • Design Standards and Forms
    Review the basic DC Water requirements for drawings needed for permits for new or reconstructed water and sewer connections
  • Covenants and Easements
    Covenants and easements are often required to permit privately maintained services in public space or to allocate public utilities across private property.
  • Fire Hydrant Flow Test
    Fire hydrant flow tests are conducted by DC Water at the applicant’s request to determine the hydraulic characteristics of the water distribution system at the location of their project site.
  • Fire Hydrant Use Permit
    If you wish to use a fire hydrant as a temporary water source for construction, demolition, dust control or other similar projects you will need a fire hydrant use permit.
  • Industrial User Wastewater Discharge Permit
    Dischargers of process wastewater (e.g., non-domestic wastewater containing pollutants or chemicals used in various business processes or activities other than janitorial) or contaminated non-wastewater flows (e.g., treated groundwater) must report their activities to DC Water's Pretreatment Program Manager. A permit may be required for the discharge to the District's wastewater system.
  • Large Water Connections
    A water connection is considered large if it is 3” in diameter or larger. A large water connection generally requires a review by the Department of Engineering and Technical Services to verify the system can provide adequate supply and that the design is in conformance with DC Water standards.
  • Paving Release Public Space Permits

    Prior to releasing a street or sidewalk area for paving DDOT distributes a "Paving Release" form to affected agencies for sign-off to ensure that work is complete and that there is no damage to utilities in the area. DC Water reviews and inspects the work to ensure there are not damages to the utilities in the area.

    A public space permit is required whenever you intend to occupy, construct and/or install a structure, sign, fence, rolling café, planters, outdoor dining areas, etc in or on publicly owned property. DC Water reviews this permit for conflict or impact to the public water and sewer system.

  • Raze Permit
    DC Water verifies if water or sewer infrastructure will be impacted by the demolition of a building and identifies water or sewer service laterals that must be disconnected from the public main prior to razing the building.
  • Sheeting and Shoring
    DC Water reviews sheeting and shoring plans to determine whether there is public utility infrastructure in the zone of influence of excavation that may be impacted. If so, the applicant will be required to provide DC Water with a deposit against damages and a CCTV inspection of the sewer condition pre and post construction.
  • Small Diameter Connection
    A water connection is considered small if it is 2” in diameter or smaller. A small water connection is generally a quicker and easier permitting process than a large diameter water connection.
  • Temporary Discharge Authorization Permit
    DC Water allows customers to discharge groundwater and surface water from construction dewatering projects, and other temporary discharges (e.g., exterior building cleaning, hydro-demolition, flooded basement dewatering) to the District’s wastewater sewer system on a case-by-case basis. A permit must be obtained for this activity. Please note: as of October 24, 2011, DC Water may authorize the temporary discharge of contaminated non-wastewater flows (storm water, groundwater, etc) to the sanitary sewer system provided that the non-wastewater exceeds the District pretreatment standards (prior to pretreatment) and the sewer is capable of handling the additional non-wastewater flows.
  • Temporary Water Connection
    DC Water allows temporary water connections for facilities requiring temporary plumbing services. This entails tapping the water main, setting a meter and starting a water service that will later by be removed by the applicant.
  • Waste Hauler Discharge Permit
    DC Water issues permits to discharge domestic septage, portable toilet waste, grease trap waste, uncontaminated non-wastewater flows, and other non-hazardous waste at the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility. A waste hauler will be required to obtain a permit prior to discharge.
  • Water and Sewer Availability Certificate
    The Water and Sewer Availability Certificate is the final approval document that the applicant will receive from DC Water. It signifies that the plans are in accordance with DC Water's design requirements and all fees have been paid.
  • Water and Sewer Availability Letter
    Some financers require that a Water and Sewer Availability Letter (WSAL) be provided prior to the financer approving a loan. This letter identifies whether there is water and sewer available to the project site. DC Water provides these letters for a fee when requested by an applicant.

Customer Care & Operations