Private Sewer Lateral Program
Title 6 - Sanitation and Health, Chapter 7 - Sewers
Article 3. Private Sanitary Sewer Laterals
Sec. 6-7.301 Purpose and Findings.
(a) Purpose. The purpose of this article is to protect the public health, safety and welfare by establishing regulations for the inspection, maintenance, repair, rehabilitation and replacement of private sewer laterals by property owners within the City.
(b) Findings. When not properly inspected, maintained, repaired or replaced by property owners, private sewer laterals may become blocked and result in overflows of sewage from the private sewer laterals. Such sewage overflows negatively impact the public health, safety and welfare of both the property owner and the public by exposing them to untreated sewage. Such sewage overflows could also result in illicit discharges of sewage from private property to the public storm drains or waters of the United States or the State. Further, private sewer laterals that are not properly inspected, maintained, repaired or replaced by property owners can interfere with the operation of the public sewer system. Interference with the operation of the public sewer system may, in turn, cause sewage overflows from the public sewer system. Moreover, private sewer laterals that are not properly inspected, maintained, repaired or replaced by property owners may contain defects that result in the leakage of sewage from the private lateral to the ground water and ultimately to Avalon Beach. Therefore, the establishment of regulations for private sewer laterals is necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare by both preventing overflows from the private laterals, interference with the operation of the public sewer system and leakage of sewage from private sewer laterals to groundwater and ultimately to Avalon Beach.
Private Sanitary Sewer Lateral" and "Private Sewer Lateral" shall mean the privately owned sanitary sewer piping or line connecting a building or other structure to the public sewer, and includes the "wye" or saddle at the public sewer.
Sewer Lateral Information
The sewage system for a home or property is connected to the City’s sewer main through a sewer lateral. The property owner is responsible for maintenance and repair of the lateral from the building all the way to the point of connection with the public sewer main often located in the middle of the street. Usually, after clearing the lateral a licensed plumber will assess the condition of the pipe by televising it. If the lateral pipe has a break, crack, or other issue the property owner is responsible for making needed repairs. If the portion of private lateral in need of repair is located within the public right of way, an Excavation Permit will be required from the City. Be sure to review the requirements for the Excavation Permits and of the Cultural Resource Management when looking to excavate in the public right of way.
Excavation Permits and Cultural Resource Management
To avoid costly repairs and to protect public health and the environment, property owners should have their sewer laterals cleaned regularly. Ideally, a lateral should be professionally cleaned once a year to remove built up debris. Inspections using a small camera should be conducted by a licensed professional every three to five years to ensure pipe integrity. Check more often if you experience a sewage-like odor or frequent clogged drains.
Access to the lateral pipe is important for cleaning, maintenance and troubleshooting. A cleanout is an access point into the sewer lateral that is used to inspect the line and clear it of any obstruction. Cleanouts are usually located within three to five feet of a business or home, or sometimes at the front property line near the street, and they look like the end of a pipe with a cap on it. A plumber can determine a cleanout location, its condition and make repairs. The cleanout cap must be on tight at all times except when servicing the lateral.
An outside cleanout is required to be installed and accessible for the City to conduct a private sewer lateral inspection.
Help Stop Pollution of Avalon Harbor
The City of Avalon is committed to maintaining a clean and safe harbor, which includes eliminating pollution from the sewer system.
Stormwater entering a leaking sewer lateral on your property can contribute to sewer overflows and pollution. This inflow and infiltration enters the sewer system and overwhelms the wastewater treatment plants, resulting in the discharge of raw sewage into the Avalon Harbor.
Interested in learning more about how inflow and infiltration occur? Watch this short and informative video produced by the Delaware County Regional Water Quality Control Authority.
When is a Private Sewer Lateral Inspection Required
Property owners are required to conduct an inspection with an inspection report when any of the following conditions are met (AMC 6-7.304, 6-7.305):
- City issued notice that an inspection is required
- Sale of Property, with report and corrective actions complete prior to the sale of the property.
- Common Interest Developments and Commercial Properties, every ten (10) years
- Significant Construction
- Applies for any permit or other approval needed for construction, remodeling, modification or alteration of any structure with a private sewer lateral within the City;
- Engages in any activities on the property that require an application for a permit to be made;
- Undertakes significant remodeling (remodel costs exceed Seventy-Five Thousand ($75,000.00) Dollars; or
- Undertakes a remodel to add a bathroom or major plumbing.
Based on the inspection report corrective actions for the maintenance, repair, rehabilitation and replacement of the private sewer lateral maybe required.
Applicable Codes and Standards
It is recommended that prior to any repair or inspection you review the current requirements and regulations of the Avalon Municipal Code (AMC). Please note AMC Sec. 8-5.01 Plumbing Code Adopted for reference to the current adopted California Plumbing Code (CPC). Generally the CPC provides the guidelines for requirements such as Backflow Protection and Backwater Valves, and Cleanouts.
Private Sewer Lateral Certificate Process and Forms
Private Sewer Lateral Certificate Inspection, Report and Certificate expected timeline:
- Private Sewer Lateral Application and Certification, and Release of Liability turned in with request for City to conduct inspection.
- City anticipates 5 business days to process the Application
- Inspection date will be scheduled within 15 business days after application is processed. Note: inspection date may occur within or following the 15 day window, depending on availability.
- City anticipates 10 business days to generate the Private Sewer Lateral Certificate or Notice of Corrective Action
- Corrective Action generally required to be completed within 60 days
- Re-inspection will be scheduled within 15 business days after documentation of repair has been provided to the City
- Anticipates 10 business days to generate the Certificate or Notice after the re-inspection
- Invoices for inspections/re-inspections anticipated to be sent out within 15 business days.