Sewer Permits

A sewer permit, issued by the Department of Buildings is required to:

  • Connect to a public sewer or sewer structure
  • Construct or alter a public sewer or sewer structure
  • Construct, alter, or repair a private sewer or sewer structure
  • Discharge (pump into) a public or private sewer or sewer structure
  • Discharge to a waterway
  • Line a public or private sewer or sewer structure
  • Rod a public sewer or sewer structure
  • Seal or abandon any public or private sewer or sewer structure
  • Videotape (televise) a public sewer or sewer structure

A permit must be obtained prior to the start of work, except work involving in-kind replacement of up to 20 feet of an existing sewer, or any amount of rodding of a public sewer may be performed if the licensed drainlayer performing the work calls 312-744-3155 to notify the Department of Buildings before beginning the work and pays the applicable permit fee within 30 days.

Sewer permits are only issued to licensed drainlayers. (Effective January 1, 2022, licensed plumbing contractors may obtain a courtesy drainlayer license for the purpose of obtaining sewer permits).

Additional permits may be required from the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and/or Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) depending on the scope and location of work.  

Sewer work is inspected by the Department of Water Management (DWM).


Stormwater Management Ordinance Reviews

Projects that are “Regulated Developments” under the Stormwater Management Ordinance (Chapter 11-18 of the Municipal Code) require stormwater review and approval before a building permit or a sewer permit can be issued. 

A “regulated development” is “any construction activity, excavation or grading, commencing on or after January 1, 2008, that:

      (a)   disturbs a land area or substantially contiguous land areas of 15,000 or more square feet in the aggregate. Land areas separated by public right-of- way at the conclusion of development shall not be deemed “substantially contiguous” to each other for purposes of this definition. For purposes of calculating square footage pursuant to this paragraph (a), “land area” shall include twenty-five percent of the square footage of the sidewalls of a building that directly connects to the sewer system via side gutters, and shall also include any average dry-weather flow based on a conversion rate of 1.0 cfs (cubic feet per second) into one acre (43,560 square feet), or

      (b)   creates an at-grade impervious surface of 7,500 or more substantially contiguous square feet, or

      (c)   results in any discharges of stormwater into any waters or separate sewer system.

   For purposes of this definition, square footage shall be calculated based upon the project as a whole, regardless of whether construction proceeds in phases. A Regulated Development shall not include projects located entirely within the public right-of-way at the conclusion of development. With respect to a project located both on the public right-of-way and on private property at the conclusion of development, that portion of the project located on the public right-of-way will not be included in calculating the square footage thresholds of subparagraphs (a) and (b) of this definition. If a project includes Residential Development, the Residential Development will not be included in calculating the square footage thresholds of subparagraphs (a) and (b) of this definition.”

The Stormwater Management Ordinance does not apply to “Residential Developments” which are defined as a development that “upon completion will result in the subdivision of land into detached single-family or two-family dwellings.”

Resurfacing an existing paved area, alone, does not constitute “construction activity, excavation or grading.”


Contact Information

DOB Sewer Permitting or Stormwater Review Questions
312-744-3155 or 

DWM Sewer Inspections
Up to 6" diameter: 312-744-5503
8" diameter and larger: 312-744-5502


Helpful Documents

2016 Stormwater Manual

2016 Stormwater Regulations

Stormwater Spreadsheet Tool R4.1 (February 15, 2018)

Outlet Capacity Maps 

2020 Sewer Details