Private Sewer Lateral FAQs
- What is a private sewer lateral?
A private sewer lateral is the pipe that drains your sinks, bathtubs, toilets and showers from your home or building to City’s sewer main line.
- Who is responsible for repairing and maintaining private sewer laterals?
Property owners are responsible for the operation, maintenance and repair of their property’s sewer lateral from the home or building and including the point of connection with the City’s sewer main line.
- How do I get my private sewer lateral checked?
Contact a plumbing company participating in the City’s program for a video inspection and lateral assessment. A list of participating plumbers in Laguna Beach can be found here, though of course, you may use any plumbing company you like. No matter the company you choose, be sure your plumber contacts the Plumber’s Hotline before they begin work: (949) 464-6616.
Be sure to request a copy of the video inspection.
- Why is maintaining a private sewer lateral important?
Proper maintenance of a private sewer lateral is important because they can clog with roots and grease and can cause a backup inside your property or spill from the line. A sewage spill can cause damage to your property that is expensive to fix. In addition, a spill may cause public and/or environmental health concerns.
- What is the City doing to help?
The City is aggressively evaluating and repairing the public sewer system. The program includes video inspecting the sewer pipes, evaluating the condition of the sewer lines and pumping systems, rehabilitation or replacement of sewer lines and point repairs to damaged lines. In addition, the City has stepped up sewer line maintenance. Restaurants are also assisting by minimizing the amount of grease discharged into the sewer system.
- When do property owners need to check a private lateral?
There are three parts to the City’s program. In all three cases there is a 180-day grace period from the inspection date to initiate a maintenance program or complete any necessary repairs.
- An Awareness Program – Property owners will receive notices when the City becomes aware of potential problems with their private lateral. These problems are commonly identified when the City is videoing public sewer lines and roots, cracks, or separations in private sewer lateral pipes are visible from inside the public pipe.
- Major Building Remodels – when a significant remodel project is completed the lateral will need to be video inspected.
- Common Interest and Multi-Unit Developments - Development such as condominium projects, community apartment projects, stock cooperatives, and planned developments will need to video inspect their private sewer lateral system every five-years.
* Even if you do not fall within these three cases, it is recommended that your sewer lateral be video inspected on a periodic basis to ensure it is functioning properly.
- Why does the City need a private sewer lateral program?
The program is needed to reduce sewage spills in the City to better protect public health and the environment. The primary cause of sewage spills in Laguna Beach is roots from private sewer laterals that block public sewer lines. The City worked with regulatory agencies and the community to develop the program.
- Do sewer fees cover the cost of repairs to my lateral?
No, the sewer fees you pay are for the operation and maintenance of the public sewer system and treatment of sewage.
- Can property owners be fined for not maintaining a functional sewer lateral?
If a private property owner does not make good faith efforts to maintain a functional sewer lateral, i.e. routine cleaning or repairs, and a sewage spill occurs; fines can be levied.