Sewer Law and Legal Definition

A sanitary sewer system refers to: mains, laterals, sewage disposal plants or sewage treatment plants and all appurtenances to such system and all property used in connection with it. Local governments operate sewer systems, including plants, systems, facilities or property used in connection with the collection, treatment, purification or disposal of sewage (including industrial wastes resulting from any processes of industry, manufacture, trade or business or from the development of any natural resources), such as to treatment plants, pumping stations, intercepting sewers, trunk sewers, pressure lines, mains and other equipment.

Such operations are usually manged by sewer boards who are authorized by the state legislature. Laws regulate the acqiuisition of property, rights, easements and franchises relating to sewer operation. Often, when territories served are the same, a public water corporation and any public sewer corporation are authorized to enter into a contract with each other so that the public water corporation acts as agent for the public sewer corporation for the operation and management of any sanitary sewer system of the public sewer corporation.

Sewers may be privately or publicly owned, but most jurisdictions regulate both forms, regardless of ownership. The following is a description of a sewer plant that was declared part of a sewer utility by the city council after being in operation a number of years:

"The Utility operates as a public enterprise and receives no tax money, but operates on revenues from the sale of water and from private and public fire protection fees with the revenue from the sale of water constituting the major source of income. The Utility bonds to provide financing for major improvements to the system when adequate funds are not available for large expenditures. Bonds are paid off from water revenues on a yearly schedule."