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Engineering Department /  Time of Sale Requirements and Asked Questions

Why is this required? | Application for Inspection | Application Fee for Inpection |
Submitting an Application | Scheduling an Inspection | Cancellation Fee |
Preparing for the Inspection | Inspection Results |
Correct any Problems
| Compliance | Waiver of Certificate of Compliance | FAQs

The Town of Amherst requires all residential properties with structures constructed prior to 1965 to have a sanitary sewer inspection before title is transferred (time of real estate closing). Property owners must obtain a Certificate of I&I Compliance from the Town before selling or transferring title of property. Properties that don’t pass inspection will be issued a notice of violation.


Why is this required?

The Time of Sale Inspection is intended to help reduce peak sanitary flows caused by Inflow & Infiltration or the flow of runoff and groundwater into the sanitary sewer system. The New York State Environmental Conservation Department (NYSDEC), which provides oversight of wastewater collection and treatment for the entire state, requires the Town of Amherst to reduce peak flows to the local wastewater collection system. The Time of Sale inspections allow the Town to ensure that private properties have no illegal connections to the sanitary sewer system or pipe defects that contribute to excess peak flow discharges.

In response to the NYSDEC requirements, the Town of Amherst passed a Time of Sale ordinance that mandates these inspections. See Town of Amherst Local Sewer Use Law, Section 160, Article XVII.

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Application for Inspection

A Time of Sale Inspection Application can be found online or at the Town of Amherst Town Clerk’s Office located at Town Hall, 5583 Main Street, Williamsville, NY 14221

Time of Sale Inspection Application

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Application Fee for Inspection

The application fee is $250 and can be paid at the Town Clerk’s office only.

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Submitting an Application

Applications can be mailed with a check for the appropriate fee or hand-delivered to the Town Clerk’s office at the address noted above. MasterCard, Visa, and Discover (fees apply) are also accepted at the Town Clerk’s office.

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Calling for a Time of Sale Inspection

The property owner must be prepared for the inspection (see section below). A responsible adult must be present at all times during the inspection. 

Call the Town of Amherst Engineering Department at 716-631-7157 between 8 am and 3 pm Monday - Friday to schedule an inspection. At least 48 hours advance notice is required. 

The inspection will take approximately one hour.

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Cancellation Fee

A 24 hour notice is required for cancelations; failing to provide such notice will result in forfeiture of the original application fee and requires a new application and application fee prior to scheduling another inspection.

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Preparing for the Inspection

  1. Make sure the water is turned on at the property. The inspection cannot be completed without water.
  2. The inspector will also require garden/water hoses long enough to reach from the connecting hose bib/faucet to the furthest drain on the property.
  3. Locate the sewer cleanout (usually located at the front of the house (see photo below).
  4. Make sure the sewer cleanout cover is in working condition before the inspection is scheduled. To ensure the cleanout cover is in working condition, the cover should be loosened and removed, and then replaced so that a watertight seal is achieved.
  5. Make sure the floor area around the floor drain is clear (a five-foot radius) and visible to the inspector.
  6. If there is a floor drain cover located on the floor in the basement, this cover should be in working condition. The inspector may need to gain access to any floor drains located in the basement floor.
  7. If you have a sump pump make sure it is accessible for inspection.
  8. Make sure the pump discharge piping is visible.
Flood Drain Example graphic Downspout Example graphic
Sewer Cleanout Example graphic

 

 

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Inspection Results

Prior to leaving the Time of Sale Inspection, the Town Inspector will present the property owner with a copy of the Time of Sale Inspection Form which contains guidelines for addressing any I&I violations which were identified and need to be corrected.

Properties that don’t pass inspection are issued a notice of violation via mail delineating the problems. Town Code requires the repairs to be completed prior to property closing.

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Correct any Problems

If the corrections are required, make recommended corrections to address the problem (s) noted on the Time of Sale Inspection Form.  Work may be done by a qualified homeowner or a Plumber who is licensed in the Town of Amherst. (see Licensed Master Plumbers on the Town of Amherst website.)

Plumbing Permits from the Town of Amherst Building Department are required for installation of backflow valves, bubblers, drain tile, sump pumps, etc.  Inspection of work performed under a permit is also required from the Town’s Building Department. If possible the Town’s Plumbing inspector will clear any open I&I issues.

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Compliance

When your property is found to be compliant, the Town of Amherst will issue a Certificate of Compliance to the property owner and will keep a copy on file at the Town of Amherst Engineering Department.

Please allow up to ten working days for the Town to review the inspection report and issue the Certificate of Compliance.

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Waiver of Certificate of Compliance

The Town Engineer may temporarily waive the requirement of a Certificate of Compliance as a prerequisite to transfer of title, as specified in the preceding section, provided that no later than 10 working days prior to the expected closing for said transfer:

  1. The seller makes a written request (Application for a waiver of Certificate of Compliance) to the Town Engineer and such request must include a written, Itemized quote from a plumber licensed in the Town of Amherst which provides for correction of all identified discharges and addresses all recommendations specified in the Notice of Violation; and
  2. the seller and purchaser shall have filed with the Town Engineer a waiver of Certificate of Compliance (Application for a waiver of Certificate of Compliance) to correct any deficiencies to the sump pump system, interior floor drains, footing drains, yard drains, roof drains and downspouts, catch basins and parking lot drains on said structure or parcel of land within 90 days after closing of sale or a period of time specified by the Town Engineer; and
  3. the purchaser shall have provided a sum equal to $1,500. Such sum shall be payable by certified check or bank draft payable to the Town of Amherst at closing and held by the Town of Amherst; such sum will be returned to the purchaser if the corrections are completed within the time specified in the guaranty, but which sum will be forfeited to the Town of Amherst if needed corrections are not completed within the time frame specified in the written guaranty.

 

In the event that the needed corrections are not completed within the time specified, the temporary waiver issued by the Town Engineer shall immediately expire and the purchaser shall be subject to the penalties as determined by the Town Engineer.

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I/I Questions and Answers

 

Why is the Town of Amherst doing this now?

Under a consent order with the New York State Environmental Conservation Department, the Town of Amherst is required to reduce I&I from its sanitary system.  In addition, separation not only will reduce flows in the system, but also will isolate flows in the basement and protect homeowners against surcharged main sewers.

How do I know if my property is covered by the Time of Sale I&I Inspection Program?

Time of Sale I&I inspections are only required in parts of the Town covered by the Town of Amherst Consolidated Sewer District and if the property has a residential structure(s) constructed prior to 1965. 

Sanitary Sewer District Map

All properties in the Town of Amherst Consolidated Sewer District meeting the above requirements must be inspected and are required to be in compliance before they can be sold.  Failure to comply with the Time of Sale Law can subject the principals in the property transaction to fines.

This program does not apply to you if your property is serviced by Erie County Sewer District #5 or if your property is located within the limits of the Village of Williamsville.

When is the Time of Sale inspection required?

A Time of Sale inspection is required before a property is transferred – normally considered to be the time of closing.  Repairs should be completed, and a Certificate of Compliance issued, before the real estate closing.  If repairs cannot be made before a title transfer, then a waiver of Certificate of Compliance and $1,500 check is required.  The Certificate of Compliance stays with the property after the sale.

Why does the Town require inspections only for homes that are for sale?

After studying other programs, Town officials concluded the cost of such a repair might be easier on homeowners at the time of sale, when they typically have access to funding from home equity.  Similar requirements have been in effect in neighboring towns and villages for some time.

But Time of Sale is only one aspect of the Towns I&I Reduction Program.  I&I Inspections are also required for property where owners have applied for plumbing permits, variances, subdivisions, or other action from the Town of Amherst will also be subject to an inspection.

If I have the inspection and decide not to sell, do I still need to complete the repairs?

Repairs can be deferred until prior to actual property sale, however, if repairs are not completed within one year of the first inspection, the inspection (s) become invalid and the process needs to start again, which includes paying the application fee.

Can the buyer assume responsibility for the repairs?

Yes, if arrangements are made with the closing agent for written estimate from a licensed plumber a $1,500 check and an Application for Waiver of Certificate of Compliance is signed by the responsible parties and transmitted to the Town. The seller is responsible for the initial inspection.

Is a sump pump required?

Most, but not all homes will require a sump pump. If a homes foundation drainage system and/or basement floor drain(s) are currently connected to the sanitary sewer system, then they need to be disconnected and re-directed to a sump-pump system to ensure adequate drainage of the basement area. The time of sale inspector will assess water discharge at each property to determine the remedial action required.

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About Amherst

The Town of Amherst was established in 1818 and celebrates its 200th Anniversary this year. The town has a geographical area of 53.6 square miles and a population of greater than 122,000.

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