Water Service

CAM 1202

All new water services or changes to existing water services within Seattle Public Utilities' (SPU's) direct water service area are regulated and approved by SPU, per Client Assistance Memo (CAM) 1202. This includes the cities of Seattle, Shoreline, Burien, Renton, Lake Forest Park, and unincorporated King County.

Generally, only one domestic water service is allowed per parcel. This includes backyard cottages, also known as detached accessory dwelling units (DADU), since the DADU is not on a separate parcel. You can choose to privately submeter on property to differentiate consumption between the main residence and the DADU, but SPU is not involved with installing or reading the submeter.

Before developing a property in an SPU water service area, you must request a water availability certificate. This will verify if water service is available for the parcel.

You can also research water availability with our water and sewer map.

Meter specifications are available here (PDF).


Apply for new water service or change an existing water service

Apply for a water availability certificate (WAC).

After you receive an approved WAC, you can apply for a new water service or change an existing water service. Learn more about the process to get a water availability certificate.

Any property owner who wants a new connection to Seattle’s water supply system or to change their existing water service must agree to the rules and regulations of this agreement. You will need to provide a completed water service application and agreement (PDF).

  • If you have additional water services (such as a short plat or unit lot subdivision), complete an addendum to add additional water service (PDF) for each of the assigned addresses. A separate application is not required for each address.

Please provide a certificate of additional insurance naming “the City of Seattle, its elected and appointed officers, officials, employees, and agents” as additional insureds for primary and non-contributory limits of liability. The City shall be a primary additional insured regardless of self-insurance or any excess insurance that the City may carry; and obligate the insurance company to give notice to both the authorizing official and the City’s Risk Manager at least 30-calendar days before any cancellation of the policy. The required minimum liability insurance is $1,000,000 for each occurrence Combined Single Limit Bodily Injury and Property Damage, and $2,000,000 aggregate.

The financially responsible party as listed on the attached water service application must be listed as the insured and please be sure to only list the City of Seattle as the certificate holder and not specific City departments. More information on this certificate of additional insurance is listed on page three of the attached application.

The Insured listed on the certificate of insurance must be the financially responsible party as listed on the water service application or the project address must be listed in Description box.

Certificate of Insurance Example

To  prevent delays in processing your application, make sure the following elements are on your water services utility site plan.

The water services utility site plan for your project must:

  • Be drawn to scale (minimum 1 inch = 10 feet).
  • Call out existing water meter location, size, type and proposal for each (reuse or retire).
  • Call out proposed water meter location, size, type, and dimension from nearest side lot line. (Locations must be in the right of way and not in a parking area or driveway.)
  • Show abutting water main location, size and material (reference project WAC for information).
  • Show underground utilities.
  • Show right of way improvements, including existing and proposed curbs and sidewalks, and vertical obstructions including poles, signs, trees and fire hydrants.
  • Show private property lines and easements.
  • Clearly show lot lines and if applicable, all unit lot lines.
  • Show building footprint(s) with legal address(es).
  • Provide the name of each street abutting the site and indicate whether it's an arterial or non-arterial.
  • Meet standard plan 314b for clearances.

Resources for Completing the Water Services Site Plan

For new 4-inch and larger services, or as required:

  • Include a profile (cross-section) showing the depth of each existing and proposed utility.
  • Include a stamp and signature by a licensed engineer or surveyor in Washington State.

After completing the steps above, you will receive an invoice via email. Pay your invoice following the payment instructions on the second page of your invoice.

  1. For new water services or changes to your existing 2-inch or less service, invoices are based on a standard menu of charges. (PDF)
  2. For new water service connections or changes to your existing 4-inch or greater water service, invoices are based on-site specific costs, which delays the invoice generation by approximately 2 weeks.

After the invoice is paid, SPU will generate a work order for the field crews to install your water service in the ROW. The SPU crew chief will coordinate the installation with the primary project contact.

Within Seattle city limits:

Once SPU completes its work in the right-of-way to connect service to the property, including all related system improvements, the financially responsible party is required to perform permanent restoration of the right-of-way required by the SDOT Street Use permit per the requirements in the most current version of the ROW Opening and Restoration Rules.

If your project is outside Seattle city limits, contact the local governing permitting authority for restoration requirements.

The property owner is responsible to install and maintain the private water line and any required backflow protection equipment from the city union to the building’s plumbing connection.

Note: Step 8 can occur before Step 7 based on your construction schedule.

  • To avoid possible delays and additional costs, call (206) 684-3536 for assistance in determining if backflow protection is required for your water service connection.

After you install the private water line, ensure you meet the all requirements as defined in the most current versions of the Uniform Plumbing Code (pdf) and Washington State code for cross connection control:

  1. Before covering, call (206) 684-5800 to request an inspection of the underground water service lines on property after installation.
  2. After underground water lines are connected and where backflow protection was required, call (206) 684-3536 to schedule a backflow inspection. Ensure that you meet all fire department standards for the property.

For projects with multiple two-inch and smaller water meters, SPU requires a multiple meter flow test prior to receiving water service.

  • Each meter will have a tag containing the address of the building or unit the meter is intended to supply and directions on how to contact SPU to initiate the required inspection.

An inspection will be required prior to receiving water service to ensure the private water service line from each building or unit is connected to the meter designed to serve it.

When you are ready for a flow test inspection, call (206) 684-5800. You will need to confirm the following information:

  • Provide the correct addresses for the meters ready for a flow test inspection. The inspections cannot be requested without the correct addresses. If you are unsure of the address, check the tag in the meter box.
  • Legal addresses, as assigned by the permitting agency, are clearly visible and affixed on the building,
  • Private plumbing has been connected to the City union and passed or is ready for a Utility Service Inspection private water line inspection,
  • There are no issues to access the spigot and meter box in order to complete the flow test, and
  • The project is ready for inspection.

The inspection will typically occur within 5-business days. Once the inspection is complete, the SPU inspector will turn on the water.

This process will ensure water meters are installed in the approved manner which is important for future renters or property owners. By contacting SPU prior to the inspection, we can help clarify requirements for a successful inspection which will promote coordination and improve efficiency.

Reduce delays

  • Changes to your approved utility site plan must be approved prior to SPU’s crew scheduling the first field visit. Contact your project coordinator as early as possible if you have revisions to your approved utility plan.
  • Changes to a project after a WAC is issued, particularly changes in lot configuration, require a new WAC which can result in delays or additional costs to your project.
  • WACs expire 36 months from the date of issuance. Be sure your WAC is valid when applying for water service.
  • Notify SPU when an extra water service is required, such as a fire or irrigation service. Each separate water service line needs a water meter.

How are water services regulated?

Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) outlines water rates and regulations in SMC Chapter 21.04. The State of Washington defines basic regulatory requirements to protect the health of consumers using public drinking water in WAC Chapter 246-290.

Legal disclaimer
This Client Assistance Memo (CAM) should not be used as a substitute for codes and regulations. The applicant is responsible for compliance with all code and rule requirements, whether or not described in this CAM.

Public Utilities

Andrew Lee, General Manager and CEO
Address: 700 5th Avenue, Suite 4900, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34018, Seattle, WA, 98124-5177
Phone: (206) 684-3000

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Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is comprised of three major direct-service providing utilities: the Water Utility, the Drainage and Wastewater Utility, and the Solid Waste Utility.