Water & Sewer Service Area Categories

The County's Water and Sewer Plan assigns a water category and a sewer category to every property in the County. These service area categories serve two functions:

  • They identify areas approved or planned for community water or sewer service and areas intended for service by individual (on-site) systems.
  • They identify a mechanism for staging community service for those areas planned for community service. The mechanism consists of the use of service area categories W-1 through W- 5 (for water) and S-1 through S-5 (for sewer).

For information about changing the current water and/or sewer categories for a property, please see the Service Area Category Change Requests page.

Who Needs to Know their Categories?

Most owners are unaware of the water and sewer categories assigned to their property in the Water and Sewer Plan. The need to know a service area category (and what it means) usually comes up in three types of situations:

Scenario 1

An owner getting ready to sell a property wants to complete the Real Estate Disclosure Form concerning water and sewer service, which requires the property's service area categories. In most disclosure inquiries directed to DEP, the property has existing public water and sewer service and the corresponding service area categories are W-1 (for water) and S-1 (for sewer).

Scenario 2

A property owner wants to develop or redevelop a piece of land and needs to know whether the County has planned for public water and sewer service or wells and septic systems to serve the property.

Scenario 3

A property owner using a private, on-site system (well and septic) wants to change over to service from a public water and sewer system.

Designations and Definitions

The  Water and Sewer Plan classifies almost all properties in the County into one of the following water categories and one of the following sewer categories. (The exceptions are typically rights-of-way for public roads, railroads, and gas and electrical transmission lines.) Note that the County does not necessarily designate properties with matching water and sewer categories, such as W-3 and S-3. (For example, a property could have a water supply category of W-1 and a sewer service category of S-6.)

Printer-friendly version of the Service Area Category Designations and Definitions Table (MS Word).

Finding Your Categories

Just as the County's zoning maps are the record of zoning decisions, the water category and sewer category maps show, in a geographic format, the service area categories designated throughout the County. You can find your service area category using the County Map Viewer application—an interactive mapping application. Tips on using the interactive map

Launch County Map
( Accessible Map Alternative)

Requesting Category Changes

Once property owners or developers determine the water and sewer categories designated for their properties, they're not always satisfied with them. Most often it's because those categories won't allow for the use of public water and sewer service on the property. A major part of DEP's work regarding the Water and Sewer Plan involves requests from property owners to change the water or sewer categories for their properties. Often these category change requests are requests to allow public service in an area designated for private, on-site systems.

Learn more about how to change a service area category.