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Water and Sewer Line Extension Policies

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Reviewed Date: January 03, 2019

Original Author: 
Rollins, Sharon
Date of Material: 
Nov 30, 2005

Utilities--Extension policies

Water and Sewer Line Extension Policies

MTAS was asked for examples of water and sewer line extension policies in use in cities in Tennessee.

November 30, 2005

Tim Beavers, City Engineer
City of Bristol
Municipal Building
P. O. Box 1189
Bristol, TN 37621-1189

Dear Mr. Beavers:

You recently asked MTAS for examples of water and sewer line extension policies in use in cities in Tennessee. You asked that we search cities in the population size range of 30,000 to 50,000. The attached policies were obtained from MTAS’ database of municipal codes or from city web sites. A brief summary of each follows:

City of Oak Ridge – population ~ 27,400

This was the most complete example MTAS located. Provisions include:

  • Requires developers to finance extensions.
  • City expenditures for interceptors or mains must be recoverable within 10 years.
  • Several methods of financing are detailed in the policy.

    City of Franklin – population ~ 46,400

  • Generally developers pay for water and sewer extensions.
  • Improvements by developers benefiting the city are eligible for reimbursement of a portion of the costs of construction. The person requesting reimbursement must enter into a written agreement with the city prior to commencement of construction.
  • The mayor and board of aldermen may extend water and/or sewer service without requiring strict compliance with these requirements.

    City of Cookeville – population ~ 26,000

  • Extensions inside the city – city pays for first 100 feet; developer pays for remainder of the extension.
  • Extensions outside the city are decided on a case-by-case basis. Developer may bear entire cost or city may bear entire cost or part of the cost.

    City of Lebanon – population ~22,000

  • Water or sewer main extensions of 500 feet or less to areas where there is a demand from existing houses. This section covers how charges are determined
  • Water or sewer main extensions to other areas. Cost recovery is via capacity fees per equivalent single-family unit.
  • Water access fee – may be assessed to any user connecting to the water system.
  • Whenever the city determines that it is in its best interest to construct extensions without requiring strict compliance with the above requirements, it may do so.

    City of Cleveland – population ~37,300

  • Cleveland Utilities provides water and sewer service to all existing developed property inside city. If property is being subdivided or developed, then developer pays all expense for extensions within the property.
  • Outside the city, the utilities board pays one-half the cost of waterline extensions with the customer providing the other half.
  • Sewer extensions outside the city are decided on a case-by-case basis. If approved, developer pays entire cost.

    City of Morristown – population ~25,400

  • May extend a sewer main at no cost to the user up to 100 feet for residential customers and up to 200 feet for commercial or industrial users.
  • At its discretion, city may extend sewer service to users located outside city limits.
    City of Clarksville – population ~104,000

    Although Clarksville is larger than the population range you requested, the extension policy includes some interesting provisions:

  • The city and developer execute a written agreement whereby the city issues credits to the developer for his construction cost of off-site improvements to the water and/or sewer systems. The policy states the basis for reimbursement and the methods for reimbursement for different system components.
  • The city determines whether to serve outside the city limits on a case-by-case basis.

    After you’d had an opportunity to review the attached policies, please let me know if you would like MTAS to do further research or assist in drafting a utility extension policy for the City of Bristol.

    I am also enclosing a report Pat Hardy, MTAS Management Consultant, developed in October 2001. This report covers incentives related to subdivision development. It may be helpful to review this information as you consider water and extension policies.


    Sharon L. Rollins, P.E.
    Technical Consulting Administrator


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Information written by MTAS staff was based on the law at the time and/or a specific sets of facts. The laws referenced may have changed and/or the technical advice provided may not be applicable to your city or circumstances. Always consult with your city attorney or an MTAS consultant before taking any action based on information posted to this website.