Water Construction & Development Services

We are here to help with your water service needs. Whether you need a new water service, water main extension, or a fire hydrant rental permit, our simple forms guide you through the process and help you get your job done. Please explore the options below and select those that apply to your project or request. In most cases, you can choose to submit the information for your water project using an online form or by downloading a PDF.

If you have questions or need information about a service that is not provided here, please call us at 253-502-8247 or email us at waterconstruction@cityoftacoma.org.

Please note: Due to COVID-19, our lobby is temporarily closed. The processes outlined below allow you to address your water service needs during the lobby closure.

Does your project require you to temporarily stop an existing water service?

  • Call our Customer Services team at 253-502-8600
  • Or make changes to your account online in MyAccount

Start Here

Do you need a permit to replace your customer-owned service line? If you aren’t sure, use this diagram to identify the different parts of your water service line. If you do need a permit for this work, here is who you should contact:

If your property is inside City of Tacoma limits:

If your property is outside City of Tacoma limits, contact your city or county planning department.

Next Steps

Certificate of Water Availability (for development outside City limits)

Please note: The typical level of service is 7 to 10 business days.

We provide a Certificate of Water Availability when Pierce County requires drinking water approval for your building permits. This certifies our willingness and ability to provide water service to your parcel for your project.

Residential Certificate of Water Availability

Commercial Certificate of Water Availability

Questions? Email waterconstruction@cityoftacoma.org or call 253-502-8247.

Water Adequacy Letter or Fire Flow Letter (for development inside City limits)

Please note: The typical level of service is 7 to 10 business days.

To confirm that you have a safe and reliable water supply to your facility (food establishments, schools, childcare, pools, or camps) for your Pierce County permit, submit a Water Adequacy Letter request.

Please include:

  • Facility name
  • Site address with city and zip code
  • Parcel number
  • Description of facility use

Send your request to waterconstruction@cityoftacoma.org or call 253-502-8247.

Residential Water Services (single family homes, duplexes, or ADU/DADUs)

Residential New Service Fee Estimate

Please note: Typical level of service is 2 to 3 weeks.

Typical residential service sizes:

Standard: 3/4″ service line and 5/8″ meter (supplies 20 gpm)

For static water pressure less than 40 psi: 1″ service line and 5/8″ meter (supplies 20 gpm)

For duplex: 1″ service line and 3/4″ meter (supplies 30 gpm)

For homes requiring fire sprinkler systems: 1″ service line and 3/4″ meter (supplies 35 gpm)

For ADU/DADUs: Existing water meter may be able to support both SFD and ADU/DADUs. We can help you choose the solution that is right for you.

Your estimate will include:

  • Material and labor for construction installation
  • System development charge (SDC)
  • Right of way permits
  • Water main charge, if applicable
  • Surcharge from acquisition systems, if applicable
  • Jurisdiction mitigation fee, if applicable

Once you are approved for water service, you need to submit a Residential Water Service Application and Agreement, and make payment as shown below.

Residential Water Service Application and Agreement

Please note: Typical level of service is 6 to 8 weeks for installation after payment.

Payments:

  • Pay by phone with credit card – 253-502-8247
  • Mail check – Tacoma Public Utilities, Attn: Tacoma Water Construction & Development, 3628 S. 35th Street, Tacoma WA, 98409
  • Submit payment in the Drop Box at the TPU building, located at 3628 S. 35th Street, Tacoma WA, 98409. The drive up box is in the parking lot directly across from the main entrance.

Important notes about this process

  • Addressing must be assigned to the parcel requesting water service in order for Tacoma Water to create an installation order.
  • New services and meters are only scheduled after payment is made.
  • Finished grade and alignment must be marked on site by the developer prior to any service or meter installations.
  • Water meter boxes are not located in sidewalk or paved areas. This is only allowed on an exception basis.
  • Backflow assembly requirements and inspection must be completed prior to unlocking the meter.

Questions? Email waterconstruction@cityoftacoma.org or call 253-502-8247.

Commercial Water Services (e.g., small retail business, industrial, multifamily residential)

Commercial New Service Estimate

Please note: Typical level of service is 2 to 3 weeks.

We will determine the service line and meter size for triplex and larger multifamily units through design review and fixture count.

For domestic water services, an estimate is started upon receipt of the civil design plan, plumbing design plan, and plumbing schedule in order to properly size the service line and water meter.

For fire meters and assemblies, the developer and fire sprinkler system contractor are responsible to determine the size of the fire meter for all applications.

Your Estimate Fee Letter will include:

  • Material and labor for construction installation
  • Water main charge
  • System Development Charge (SDC)
  • Right of way permits
  • Time and Material Agreement

When you are ready to proceed with your new service installation, submit the Estimate Fee Letter, Time and Materials Agreement, residential application (if required), and make your payment.

Please note: Typical level of service is 6 to 8 weeks for installation and payment.

Payments:

  • Pay by phone with credit card – 253-502-8247
  • Mail check – Tacoma Public Utilities, Attn: Tacoma Water Construction & Development, 3628 S. 35th Street, Tacoma WA, 98409
  • Submit payment in the Drop Box at the TPU building, located at 3628 S. 35th Street, Tacoma WA, 98409. The drive up box is in the parking lot directly across from the main entrance.

Important notes about this process

  • When situations require, utility easements for privately owned water pipe must be submitted prior to payment for new water services.
  • Addressing must be assigned to the parcel requesting water service in order for Tacoma Water to create an installation order.
  • New services and meters are only scheduled after payment of full deposit.
  • Finished grade and alignment must be marked on site by the developer prior to any service or meter installations.
  • Water meter boxes are not located in sidewalk or paved areas. This is only allowed on an exception basis.
  • Please review the backflow assembly requirements. Inspection of the backflow assembly by Tacoma Water is required before the water meter is turned on. This includes temporary site water, and permanent water usage. The water meter is turned on after passing permanent backflow inspection, which starts the monthly billing process.
  • After installations and inspections are complete, it can take up to three months for all charges to settle in the account before final closeout process can begin.

Questions? Contact email Chris Hicks or call 253-396-3057.

Water Main Extension

Extensions of a permanent main

Extensions of permanent water mains are constructed by local improvement district (LID) processes that meet our standards and specifications.

You can learn about the LID process online or contact our Utility Service Specialist, Shelly Shaffer via email or by calling 253-502-8740.

This work can also be constructed through a privately financed contract (see information below).

Water Main Design

Tacoma Water prepares the plans and specifications of water main designs and estimates the engineering charge for the preparation of plans and specifications.

Developers pay a deposit equal to the estimate cost. Actual costs of the work are billed against this deposit.

It takes 1 to 2 weeks to prepare the Preliminary Design Estimate and Design Agreement.

Design timeline dependencies include:

  • The number of projects in design or waiting in the queue (8 to 10 weeks)
  • Drafting and Engineering, depending on the size of the project (4 to 10 weeks)
  • Preliminary design is reviewed by external stakeholders
    • 2 to 6 weeks for Fire Marshall review
    • 1 to 2 weeks for City of Tacoma Engineering review

Water Main Construction

Developers enter into an agreement with a contractor of their choice and Tacoma Water for construction of the water main extensions. When considering contractors, look for experience in ductile iron water main construction with a record of successful completions of similar scope.

Developers pay the constructions costs directly to the contractor. A performance bond or other security and certificates showing appropriate liability insurance are required.

Developers are responsible for costs and expenses incurred by Tacoma Water for construction inspection and other related work. Prior to construction, a second deposit in the estimated amount for construction inspection, testing, and sampling is due to Tacoma Water. Upon completion of the project, developers are either refunded the unused amount or billed the cost overrun.

Construction sequence:

  • Preparation of construction contract (1 week)
  • Construction contract review and approval by TPU (2 to 3 weeks)
  • Pre-construction meeting is scheduled once contracts are signed and approved, construction staking is complete, and materials are on-site.
  • Construction timeline is provided by developer and contractor.

Easements

Not completing the easement process in a timely fashion impacts the ability to purchase new water meters and/or property transfers. 

Developers are required to provide a 20-foot wide easement over the entire length of the water main, fire hydrant, service laterals, and meters.

The developer’s Professional Land Surveyor prepares and submits the legal description of the easement to Tacoma Water for review and processing.

The transfer of privately financed water mains to the City is on the condition that the developer provides necessary and proper easements.

When water mains are installed on private property which is not owned by the developer and part of the subject development, easements must be recorded prior to installation.

Easements for water mains must specifically name Tacoma Water and then accepted by the City. Developers provide a notarized statement of the water main construction costs. This cost statement also provides the legal description of property having contributed its share toward the cost of constructing the mains. Only those properties abutting upon the water main construction qualify as contributing properties.

Fire Hydrant Use Permit and Flow Test

Please note: Typical level of service is about one week.

Temporary water service may be supplied through the use of a fire hydrant after obtaining a permit. This is needed if you require a temporary water source for construction purposes or to fill a tanker truck when you do not have a permanent water service.

Hydrant Use Category and Fee Schedule

Category One

  • Fixed (single) site construction project* – $100 fee
    • Permittee is required to submit meter reads on a monthly basis.
    • Monthly water use charges at the inside/outside commercial rate are based upon estimated consumption, plus the ready-to-serve charge for a two-inch meter.
      • The ready-to-serve charge for a two-inch meter:
        • Inside City of Tacoma: $181.89
        • Outside City of Tacoma: $218.66
  • Meter deposit for hydrant – $1,000 fee
    • Deposit is refunded after return of meter and appurtenances.
    • Costs for hydrant/meter repair/replacement caused by improper operations/theft are deducted from deposit.

Category Two

  • Multiple-site hydrant use (approved hydrant locations)* – $100 fee
    • Both general and subcontractors are required to submit a monthly log sheet of estimated water consumption per truck.
    •  Monthly water use charges at the inside/outside commercial rate are based on estimated consumption.
  • Under some circumstances, you may need to install a fire hydrant meter, which requires a meter deposit – $1,000 fee
    • Monthly water use charges at the inside/outside commercial rate are based upon estimated consumption, plus the ready-to-serve charge for a two-inch meter.
      • The ready-to-serve charge for a two-inch meter:
        • Inside City of Tacoma: $181.98
        • Outside City of Tacoma: $218.66

Category Three

  • Short term (one day and minimum use) per truck per day (approved hydrant only) – $50 fee

*A subcontractor can use the same permit as the general contractor if cross-connection requirements are met and your name is disclosed when the permit is issued.

Penalties

  • Penalty for unauthorized use (all categories) – $1,000 fee
  • Under some circumstances, you may need to purchase a water service connection.

Any state certified backflow assembly tester (BAT) can test your assembly. To help you choose, see our list of certified backflow assembly testers.

If you select a BAT not on our list, the tester must provide us with copies of their current state certification and test equipment calibration certificates. We do not accept test reports from testers that have not provided this information.

We verify that testers on our list are certified by the state and that their test equipment is calibrated, but we do not verify the status of tester business licenses. You should always ensure that the tester you hire meets the local licensing requirements.

Questions? Email waterconstruction@cityoftacoma.org or call 253-502-8247.

Fire Hydrant Flow Test Application and Agreement

Please note: Typical level of service is 4 to 6 weeks for test report.

Questions? Email Shelly Shaffer or call 253-502-8740.

Occupancy Backflow Assembly Inspection Request

Please note: The typical level of service is 1 to 2 business days.

New water service to facilities listed in Table 9 of WAC 246-290-490, dedicated fire service, separately metered irrigation services, multi-tenant commercial properties, and premises with an unapproved auxiliary water supply available onsite are not provided until an approved backflow prevention assembly is installed, inspected, and approved by the Division’s Water Quality section.

Any state certified backflow assembly tester (BAT) can test your assembly. To help you choose, see our list of certified backflow assembly testers.

If you select a BAT not on our list, the tester must provide us with copies of their current state certification and test equipment calibration certificates. We do not accept test reports from testers that have not provided this information.

We verify that testers on our list are certified by the state and that their test equipment is calibrated, but we do not verify the status of tester business licenses. You should always ensure that the tester you hire meets the local licensing requirements.

Tap and Connection Payoff Amount

Please note: The typical level of service is 2 to 3 weeks.

This service is commonly used by title companies and for real estate transactions to address balance owing on an existing utility account or for new water service.

Payments:

  • Pay by phone with credit card – 253-502-8247
  • Mail check – Tacoma Public Utilities, Attn: Tacoma Water Construction & Development, 3628 S. 35th Street, Tacoma WA, 98409
  • Submit payment in the Drop Box at the TPU building, located at 3628 S. 35th Street, Tacoma WA, 98409. The drive up box is in the parking lot directly across from the main entrance.
Land Use

You can find answers to common questions about land use rights, permits and applications on the City of Tacoma’s website.

For those wishing to work on or around TPU land, we require land use permits for:

  • Log or rock hauling
  • Vehicle parking
  • Landscaping and gardening
  • Signage
  • Ingress and egress access

To apply, complete the Land Use Permit Application and submit. Completion of this application does not guarantee a permit will be granted.

Mail to:

Tacoma Public Utilities
Real Property Services
P.O. Box 11007
Tacoma, WA 98411-1007

Or, email completed application to Melissa Luchini.

Questions? Call Real Property Services at 253-396-3060.

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