Private Water Line Inspections

We must inspect the entire length of water service piping outside the building before you cover it. This includes water service piping that is:

  • Newly installed
  • Replaced
  • Repaired


If your piping is covered before inspection and approval, you must uncover it in its entirety. We can’t accept pictures or videos.

When you’re ready for an inspection, call to request a same-day inspection:

An inspector will visit the site on the same day, depending on availability.

After the inspection is complete:

  • The inspector will provide a “Utility Service Inspection Report” (a yellow card) detailing the results.
  • The inspection report will be left on the front door or at other weather-protected locations like a meter box or other easily accessible enclosure.

If you’re using water service piping for fire protection:

  • You must also call The Seattle Fire Department at (206) 386-1443 for an inspection.

An SPU backflow inspector must also inspect of the fire system’s backflow assemblies. Please call (206) 684-3536 to schedule the backflow inspection.

Re-inspection fees

You may be charged a re-inspection fee of $50 if:

  • The site is not accessible to the inspector upon arrival.
  • The inspection can’t be completed because the location requiring inspection is not reasonably or safely accessible by the inspector upon arrival.
  • The water line is under water or covered by other objects or materials.
  • You ask for an inspection and the work isn’t complete.
  • Corrections requested after a previous inspection haven’t been made.

Requirements for underground water lines

  • All work must be performed in compliance with the current Uniform Plumbing Code.
  • You must include the following when you submit your water service application (pdf).
  • Connection of customer’s pipe must be to the city’s union only.
  • Outside service pipe must have no less than 2-feet of earth cover from all angles and at all points.
  • Water pipe and fittings must be brass, copper, DI, SS, CPVC, HDPE, PE, PEX or PVC manufactured to recognized standards for cold water distribution systems outside buildings.
    • Copper must have a weight of Type L or K.
    • Plastic pipe must be a minimum of schedule 40, 160 PSI.
    • All piping must have an NSF or ASTM stamp approval.
    • All building supply pipe must be ¾-inch or larger.
  • Plastic pipe, not approved through the foundation, will need pipe studded out 2-feet of an approved material.
    • All plastic pipes must have a blue insulated copper tracer wire or other approved conductor that terminates at each end of the nonmetallic piping above ground (Per the Seattle Plumbing Code Chapter 6 - Water Supply and Distribution. View page 62 of the document, or search the PDF to page 95.).
    • Tracer wire must be no less than 18 AWG and insulation must be suitable for direct burial.
  • Property’s water piping must extend beyond any slope, embankment, rockery, bulkhead or fence to the city’s service. No service line (new or abandoned) is to be used as an electrical ground.
  • Where local static water pressure is more than 80 PSI, an approved pressure regulator must be installed.
  • Shutoff valve controlling all outlets of each building must be installed on property.
    • All irrigation system connections must have a shutoff valve and approved backflow protection.
    • All required shutoff valves shall be accessible.

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is the Administrative Authority enforcing provisions of the current Uniform Plumbing Code, IAPMO Installation Standards and Seattle Amendments relating to the inspection and approval of water meters and building supply piping.

Multiple meter flow test

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.

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.