Sanitary Sewer Pressure Testing at Property Transfer

ARTICLE 13     SEWER COMPLIANCE AT TRANSFER REGULATIONS (Revised 8-2-2011)

(Revised 11-18-2014) (Revised 12-16-2014) (Revised 5-19-2015) (Revised 6-16-2015) (Revised 11-17-2015)                         

1301. The following regulations are applicable to both parties of a real estate transfer, both before and after the transfer of the property.

1302. Transfer of Residential Property and/or Non-Residential Property

1302-A. Prior to the sale or Transfer of improved Real Estate, which has been provided Sanitary Sewer Service by the Authority, said Property must successfully pass an air or water Pressure Test as hereinafter set forth.  This Regulation includes, but is not limited to, Single Family Homes and includes Double Homes, Commercial Buildings, Industrial Buildings, Townhouses and Apartment Buildings.  In addition, this Regulation includes any Property previously constructed as a Residence, but which has been converted to a Commercial use.

1302-B. In the case where an existing Double House or Townhouse is owned by the same Property Owner and each side has a separate Building Drain and Building Sewer piping connected to an Authority lateral for each unit, only the unit being transferred is required to pass the required testing.  If the side being transferred does not have a separate Building Drain or Building Sewer and separate Authority lateral, the plumbing of both sides needs to be reconfigured so as to provide separate systems. If a separate Authority lateral is needed in order to allow for such separation, the Authority will provide the second Authority lateral free of charge. Subsequently, both sides of the Double House or Townhouse must successfully pass a Pressure Test.

1302-C. In the case where an existing Double House, Townhouse or Apartment Building is being sold as one (1) property to a singular new owner, and where the Building Drains and the Building Sewers are interconnected, then all such buried Building Drain and Building Sewer piping may remain interconnected, but must pass the required testing.

1302-D. This Regulation does not apply to a Double House or a Townhouse that share a common Building Drain and/or Building Sewer piping and where each side is owned by a different Property Owner.

1302-D-1. The aforesaid Rules, requiring Pressure Testing, do not apply to the following categories of Non-Residential Structures:

Structures of three (3) or more stories with multiple dwellings or non-residential units with more than forty (40) Drain-Waste-Vent (DWV) floor penetrations including, for example, hotels, high rise apartments and large multi-unit office buildings. Such structures must comply with Paragraph 1302-D-2.

Structures where performing standard pressure testing would create a risk to the health or safety of residents or Property Owner (due to prolonged service interruption) or which would create potential for significant economic loss due to the need to terminate utility service (sewer, water, electric, HVAC) for substantial periods of time, in effect requiring closing of the business or the structure. Such structures must comply with Paragraph 1302-D-2.

1302-D-2. Requirements, associated with the System Rehabilitation Program, for Structures listed in Paragraph 13402-D-1 are:

A Viewport or Manhole must be installed at the property line or at the edge of the Right-of Way.

The Building Sewer, from the Viewport to within three (3) feet of the foundation/building wall, must pass a Pressure Test. All piping from the face of the foundation to the point of Testing must be exposed for observation.

The Property/Structure is subject to future View Port Inspection and/or CCTV Inspection to determine the presence, of and/or document any I&I Violation.

Any Property found to be contributing I&I shall be deemed in Violation of Highland’s Rules and Regulations and is required to be brought into compliance via a successful Pressure Test of all buried piping, both inside and outside the structure. Such Compliance must be achieved within six (6) months from the date that notification of such violation was issued.

 1302-E. This Regulation requires that all buried and under-slab Sewer piping, both outside and inside the foundation wall, (most often identified as the Building Drain and Building Sewer), be tested for water tightness.  Such Testing must be witnessed and approved by the Authority.  Any sale or Transfer of Real Property, as previously defined, without having successfully passed a Test and/or without first obtaining a certification thereof from the Authority, shall be in violation of the Authority’s Rules and Regulations and subject to penalty as hereinafter set forth.

1302-F. A Transfer of Residential and/or Non-Residential Property is exempt from Sewer Testing if the Property Owner can provide documentation that the Property successfully passed an air or water Pressure Test, as set forth in Section Five (5) below, during the previous fifteen (15) years and that no alterations, repairs, replacements or additions were performed on the varied, buried and/or under-slab Sewer piping (both inside and outside the foundation wall).  The Property Owner shall provide such documentation as is required by the Authority, including access to perform visual inspections, as are deemed necessary by the Authority, to establish that said piping has not been altered in any way since the prior Testing.

1302-G. The Property Owner  of Residential and Non-Residential Property shall install or cause to be installed, a Viewport (if none exists) in accordance with the Authority’s specifications for purposes of aforesaid Testing.  If a viewport already exists on the Property, but it is not visible or easily accessible, the Property Owner shall expose said Viewport.  All of the foregoing shall be at the expense of the Property Owner. Existing Viewports shall not be required to be upgraded to current standards, unless said Viewport is being replaced as part of repair work to be performed as a result of the Test results.

1302-H. Acceptable Testing Methods:

Testing by water, wherein all buried and under-slab piping (both inside and outside the foundation) is filled with water and a temporary water column is introduced to a minimum of ten (10) feet of head to the highest portion of the buried and under-slab piping, with no water loss observed during a fifteen (15) minute period; and

Testing by air, wherein all buried and under-slab piping is pressurized with air to a minimum of five pounds per square inch (5 psi) and thereafter held for a period of fifteen (15) minutes with no noticeable pressure drop.                                                                                       

For details of such acceptable testing, see §312 of the International Plumbing Code (IPC) as contained in the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code, as from time to time amended.

1302-I. Requests for inspection or witnessing of the Testing must be made a minimum of twenty-four (24) hours in advance of the requested time.  The Authority will allow a maximum of one (1) hour per Test, and the witnessing shall be for the actual Test itself, not for preliminary hook up or other work which precedes the actual Test.  In the event that the Property does not pass the initial Test, the Authority will charge a fee, paid in advance at the Authority office, for each and every re-Test that is necessary (See Rates and Fees).

1302-J. It is the intent of this Regulation that the Authority Inspector is scheduled only to witness a passing Air/Water Test. The Authority inspector shall make the sole determination as to when the actual Testing period commences and thereafter when the fifteen (15) minute duration of the Test has expired.  Upon successful completion of the Testing, the inspector shall signify his/her approval by affixing his/her signature and dating the completed “Certification of Testing Form”.

1302-K. In cases where complying with this Regulation prior to closing would cause an undue hardship, the Property Owner may request a Hardship Extension, not to exceed sixty (60) days from the date of closing, which may be granted at the sole discretion of the Authority.  If a passing sewer pressure test is not completed by the Real Estate Extension due date, the Property Owner will be subject to a monthly sewer surcharge fee. If the surcharge fees are not paid, the water service will be terminated.  Application for said extension may be made at the Authority office by: 

Completing the Time Extension Agreement; and

Providing proof of a bona-fide contract which states the contractor will perform the work required to bring the property into compliance; and

Providing proof that the funds required to bring the property into compliance have been escrowed or otherwise set aside to pay for the work needed.

All past due surcharge fees must be paid before the acceptance of the extension and the Property Owner will be subject to monthly sewer surcharge fees until the property is brought into compliance.

1303. Beginning March 1, 2015, any Transfer of Non-Residential Property became subject to the aforesaid rules.  Any sale or Transfer of Non-Residential Property, without having successfully passed a Pressure Test and/or without first obtaining a Certification thereof from the Authority, shall be in violation of the Authority’s Rules and Regulations and subject to penalty as hereinafter set forth.

1304. Definitions

1304-A.Sale or Transfer of Real Estate shall include the sale, Transfer or assignment of any interest in Real Property; provided however, that a refinancing of real Property without a conveyance of an interest in the real Property is not a sale or Transfer under these Regulations.  A Transfer from an individual (not Estates or non-personal entities) or individuals into an ordinary grantor trust, as that term is commonly accepted, is likewise not a sale or Transfer under these Regulations, however, upon the death of the last of the Settlors or Grantors and/or the subsequent transfer of the Property to a beneficiary or beneficiaries or to a third party, the Property shall be subject to these Regulations..  A Transfer between spouses or former spouses pursuant to a bona fide Marriage Settlement Agreement or Court ordered Equitable Distribution in a Divorce Action shall not be a sale or Transfer hereunder.  A Transfer arising from a Sheriff’s Sale, where the purchaser at the Sale is a mortgage holder or lien creditor shall be exempted from these Regulations.  However, once the mortgage holder or lien creditor becomes the record Property Owner pursuant to a recorded deed from the Sheriff to the mortgage holder or lien creditor, a subsequent Transfer of the Property shall be subject to this Regulation.  In addition, a Transfer from a record Property Ownerto a mortgage holder/lien creditor pursuant to a “Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure” shall also be exempted from these Regulations.  However, when the mortgage holder or lien creditor Transfers the Property, that Transfer shall be subject to these Regulations.

1304-B. Inflow and Infiltration or I & I.   Any surface water and/or groundwater which enters the Sanitary Sewer System by any means.  These Regulations expressly prohibit any person from causing, allowing or permitting any quantity of I & I to enter the Sanitary Sewer System.

1305. Enforcement

1305-A. Any violation of these Regulations is hereby declared to be a summary offense in accordance with §5607(d)(17) of the Municipality Authorities Act and shall be punishable for a fine of up to Three Hundred Dollars ($300.00) for each offense.  Each and every day that a violation of the Regulation exists shall be a separate and distinct offense.

1305-B. The requirements of these Regulations may be enforced by the Authority in an action in Equity brought in the Court of Common Pleas of Cambria County, Pennsylvania.

1305-C. I & I creates a potential public health hazard and a public nuisance as it greatly increases the possibility of a discharge of Sewage into the waterways of the Commonwealth, in violation of Law and these Rules and Regulations.  Accordingly, the Authority may discontinue Water and/or Sanitary Sewer Service, in its sole discretion, for any violation of this Test on Transfer Regulation.  The cost of terminating said service and the restoration thereof, shall be that of the Customer of the property receiving the service, which was disconnected and/or restored.

Did You Know?

Leaks inside the toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water a day.

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