[Adopted 11-16-1995 by Ord. No. 1507 (Ch. 18, Part 4, of the 1986 Code of Ordinances)]
The Mayor and the Council of the City of Washington find that excessive stormwaters and/or surface waters are illegally routed into the sanitary sewer system within the City, thus requiring increased and unnecessary treatment capacity and activity and thus curtailing the availability of tap-ins and treatment to other users who need sanitary sewage treatment. The Mayor and Council find that the procedures, fees and penalties provided for herein are necessary to achieve the purposes of this article.
This article may be known and cited as the "Dye Test Ordinance."
Unless the context specifically and clearly indicates otherwise, the meanings of terms used in this article shall be as follows:
- City of Washington, Pennsylvania.
- City of Washington Code, as the same may be from time to time amended.
- DOCUMENT OF CERTIFICATION
- An official statement from the City stating that there are no illegal stormwater or surface water connections into the sanitary sewer connections on the property to be sold which violate any section of the Code.
- ILLEGAL STORMWATER OR SURFACE WATER CONNECTIONS
- The discharge of basement seepage or groundwater or the connection of downspouts, roof drainage or surface or areaway drainage into the sanitary sewer system.
- MUNICIPAL LIEN AND PROPERTY TAX VERIFICATION
- A written letter from the City Clerk concerning municipal liens and property taxes.
- Any person, syndicate, association, partnership, firm, corporation, institution, agency, authority or other entity recognized by law as the subject of rights and duties.
- TEMPORARY DOCUMENT OF CERTIFICATION
- A temporary statement of certification from the City pursuant to the terms of § 408 of this article.
After the effective date of this article, it shall be unlawful for any person to sell or purchase real estate within the City on which a building or improvement exists without first delivering to the purchaser a document of certification or a temporary document of certification from the City.
Any person selling real estate located as defined in § 271-32 of this article that is located within the City (hereinafter referred to as "applicant") shall make application on a form furnished by the City at least 21 days before the date of closing the sale. The applicant shall then cause to have performed a dye test on the property to be sold. All dye tests shall be performed by an inspector appointed by the City of Washington or the Washington/East Washington Joint Authority (hereinafter referred to as "inspector").
The inspection fee shall be in the sum of $70 or another amount set by resolution of the Mayor and Council of the City of Washington. The inspection fee shall be paid to the City at the time of making the application referred to in this section.
[Amended 1-12-2006 by Ord. No. 1753; 1-11-2007 by Ord. No. 1767]
Such inspector shall complete the appropriate portions on the form and certify that the property has been dye tested and certify the results of such test. In the event there are no illegal stormwater or surface water connections, the City Clerk or his/her designate shall issue a document of certification upon payment of such fee as set by resolution of the City. When an illegal stormwater or surface water connection is discovered by means of the above-mentioned dye test, no document of certification will be issued until the illegal connections are removed and certification of such removal by an inspector is received. An additional inspection fee shall be paid by the applicant for each inspection subsequent to the first inspection referred to in Subsection A.
A document of certification shall be valid for a period of one year from the date of issuance. Real estate may be sold during the one-year effective life of such document without further dye testing or certification.
A document of certification shall not be required in the following instances:
When property is refinanced but no conveyance takes place.
When an improvement to real estate has been recently constructed in accordance with a valid building permit and has been inspected by the Building Inspector and has not been formerly occupied. If such property is sold after one year of the date of the certificate of occupancy or the inspections referred to in this subsection, compliance with this article is mandatory.
Individual apartment-type units within a single condominium building may be sold without individual certification, provided that the building in which the units are located has been certified no longer than one year previous to the date of the sale of the individual condominium unit.
When the real estate is such that tap in to the sanitary sewer system is not required by law or ordinance.
A temporary document of certification may be issued at the City's sole discretion, when:
The applicant proves that dye testing cannot be performed because of weather conditions. When such is the case, the applicant shall provide the City with security in such amount as the Mayor and Council by resolution shall establish to guarantee that the dye test will be performed. The applicant will cause to have the dye test performed within 14 days of written notification from the City or the Washington/East Washington Joint Authority, which will be given at such time as weather conditions make the dye test possible. In addition, the applicant shall provide a signed written acknowledgment from the purchaser agreeing to correct, at purchaser's sole cost and expense, any violations that may be discovered as a result of subsequent dye tests. Nothing in this subsection shall prohibit any purchaser from requiring the applicant to reimburse the purchaser for any costs incurred; provided, however, that primary liability shall run with the land, and no such agreement shall affect City's enforcement powers or excuse the current owner from compliance with this Code.
When an illegal stormwater or surface water connection is discovered and the necessary remedial activities to correct such connection would require a length of time such as to create a practical hardship for the applicant, the applicant may apply to the City Clerk for a temporary document of certification, which may only be issued when the applicant provides the City with all of the following:
A bona fide executed contract between the applicant and an inspector to complete the necessary remedial work, with the City listed therein as third-party beneficiary.
Cash security in the amount of said contract is posted with the City.
A written agreement by the purchaser to be responsible for all cost overruns and extras related to the remedial work, together with a written license to enter upon the property to complete work in case of default of the contractor referred to above.
The City Clerk shall determine when such temporary document of certification shall expire. Upon expiration, the security shall be forfeited, and the City may use the security to have the necessary remedial work completed.
[Amended 1-11-2007 by Ord. No. 1767]
A request for a municipal lien or tax certification letter must be accompanied by a valid document of certification and payment of the required fees, which shall be delivered to the City Clerk at least seven days before such letters are to be provided. The amount of the fee of each item shall be established by resolution of the Mayor and Council.
Where requested by a property owner or his agent and subject to time availability, as determined solely by the City, the City may issue municipal lien and tax certification letters on two days' notice upon the payment of an expedition fee in addition to the fees set forth above. The amount of the expedition fee shall be established by resolution of the Mayor and Council of the City of Washington.
The City Clerk is hereby empowered to undertake the duties imposed by this article, including, but not limited to:
The Mayor and Council of the City may, by resolution, change from time to time the fees authorized in this article.
The City shall charge the sum of $25 for all municipal lien letters and $25 for tax certification letters. Such fees shall be paid by the applicant prior to the issuance of the municipal lien letters and tax certification letters. The Mayor and Council of this City may, by resolution, change from time to time the fees authorized in this article.
[Added 1-12-2006 by Ord. No. 1753]
Nothing in this article shall limit in any fashion whatsoever the City's right to enforce its ordinances or the laws of the commonwealth. Nothing in this article shall be a defense to any citation issued by any municipal corporation or the commonwealth pursuant to any other law or ordinance.
Any individual, person, firm, corporation or other entity who shall violate any provision of this article shall, upon being held liable in any civil proceeding or upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a penalty, fine or charge of no less than $100 nor more than the maximum amount permitted by law, but not to exceed $1,000, and in default of payment or any failure to pay any fine or penalty, upon a summary or other criminal conviction, shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a period not to exceed 30 days, or both.
[Amended 12-7-2006 by Ord. No. 1766]
Each day that a violation of this article shall continue shall constitute a separate offense, subject to the fines, costs, penalties and charges set forth above for each offense.
[Added 12-7-2006 by Ord. No. 1766]
Nothing herein shall limit, prevent or preclude the City of Washington from taking any and all legal action or exercising any other remedy available to the City by law, including but not limited to the initiation of civil or criminal proceedings or injunctive relief in order to enforce or ensure compliance with this article. As an additional remedy, the City of Washington may abate any nuisance, dangerous or hazardous condition by any means permitted by law, which shall include, but not be limited to, an action in the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, Pennsylvania for injunctive relief; the use of any City of Washington personnel, equipment and materials or that of an authorized agent or contractor hired by the City to remove or abate any nuisance, dangerous or hazardous condition, and with all costs thereof or related thereto to be charged against the property owner(s) and/or person or entity who has violated the article or portion thereof; said costs shall include all actual costs and expenses, including all costs of collection and reasonable administrative costs of the City, incurred in enforcing the provisions of the article.
[Added 12-7-2006 by Ord. No. 1766]
Whenever any person violating any of the provisions of this article is notified of such violation in writing by the City Clerk, each day or portion thereof a violation occurs or continues shall constitute a separate violation.
In addition to and not in lieu of the foregoing, the City may seek equitable and legal relief to compel compliance with this article.