Private Sewer Lateral Regulations and Replacement Program

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Preventing the discharge of untreated wastewater into the environment through leaky or unsound sewer lines protects the public health, safety, and welfare of our community. For this reason, Ironhouse Sanitary District requires timely inspections, maintenance, repair and replacement of private sewers laterals.

It is the responsibility of the property owner to maintain the sewer line that connects their property’s sewer pipes to the public sewers. The property owner is responsible for complying with all District ordinances relating to the discharge of sewage. 

A brochure on the sewer lateral regulations and replacement program can be found here.

What is a private sewer lateral?
A private sewer lateral is a pipe that connects the plumbing in a home or business to the public sanitary sewer main, usually located in the street. The private sewer lateral carries sewage from a building to a public sanitary sewer. The property owner owns the private lateral, up to and including, the connection to the public sewer main.

What problems are associated with damaged sewer laterals?
Older sewer laterals can create problems for property owners because over time they deteriorate, leading to the pipe leaking, blocking or breaking. During wet weather, rain seeps into the soil and can enter the wastewater collection system through damaged sewer laterals. This is also called infiltration. This can lead to more water flowing through the public sewers and the District's Water Recycling Facility can become overwhelmed by the amount of flow.

Sewer lateral engineering and construction requirements
A permit from Ironhouse Sanitary District is required to construct a private sewer lateral or make a connection to the public sewer. All plans for work on private sewers must be prepared by a California Civil Engineer and supplied to the District’s engineer for review prior to commencement of all work. The District shall require the inspections of any project it deems necessary.

All excavations for a private lateral sewer or private main sewer installations shall be adequately guarded with barricades or lights so as to protect the public from hazard. Streets, sidewalks, parkways, and other property damage in the course of the work shall be restored in a manner satisfactory to the District engineer and at the cost of the private property owner.

Check with the City of Oakley and Contra Costa County, depending on the location of the project, for additional special permits and requirements needed from those agencies.

Sewer lateral inspection, repair, and replacement
Property owners must maintain their private sewers in a manner that prevents sewer overflows or spills. In the event of an overflow or spill, the clean-up cost is the responsibility of the property owner.

The design, construction, maintenance, remediation and repair of all private sewer main and laterals, including their connections to the public sewer, are governed by and shall be in accordance with the ordinances, codes, rules, standard specifications and regulation of the District and the State of California and with generally accepted engineering practices. 

Further, the District's Ordinance No. 65 requires closed-circuit television (CCTV) inspection of an existing lateral under certain conditions, including transfer of property ownership and upgrades costing $25,000 or more. The District must issue a compliance certificate, which is good for 20 years. 

The District may assess fees to review documents, conduct studies, plan reviews, pre-permit inspections, permit fees and materials and services.

Penalties for failure to comply with Ordinance 65
A full description detailing more information on the Sewer Lateral Replacement Program can be found in District Ordinance No. 65. Civil, criminal and equitable penalties may be taken against any property owner or owners association that violates Ordinance 65, pursuant to the District's Ordinance No. 63