Sewer Lateral Information

Sewer Lateral Information

The sewage system for a home or property is connected to the District’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 or a crack, the property owner is responsible for making needed repairs.  If the portion of private lateral in need of repair is located within the public road, an Excavation Permit will be required from the County.  For permit information, contact the County’s Department of Planning and Development Services at 858-694-2055.

Pipe Maintenance

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’s location, its condition and make repairs.  The cleanout cap must be on tight at all times except when servicing the lateral. 

To view Board Policy on cleaning and repair of sewer laterals click here, Board Policy F-16.