Effective January 1, 2015
Alameda is Now Part of the EBMUD Regional Private Sewer Lateral Program
For program requirements, click to see the East Bay Municipal Utility District’s Regional Private Sewer Lateral Program
WHAT IS A SEWER LATERAL?
A sewer lateral is the pipe that conveys sewage from a building's plumbing to the City sewer system. In Alameda, the property owner is responsible for the maintenance and replacement of the upper sewer lateral only - that is the portion of the sewer lateral that is on private property. The City of Alameda is responsible for the lower sewer lateral, which is the portion of the sewer lateral from the property line to the sewer main.
This division of responsibility is a bit different if you live in a condominium or Homeowner's Association. Please refer to the Regional Private Sewer Lateral Program's Guidelines for Condominiums and Other Common Interest Developments.
PRIVATE SEWER LATERALS MAINTENANCE REQUIREMENTS:
Your private sewer lateral should be maintained such that it:
• Is free of any roots, grease deposits, and other solids which may obstruct the flow; and
• Is watertight and does not have any structural defects, cracks, breaks, openings, rat holes, or missing portions; and
• Has a two way cleanout located at the property line or at the Sewer Main easement. All Cleanouts shall be securely capped with a proper cap at all times; and
• Is free from any non-sewer connections to it (i.e. roof drain, area drain).
These requirements are codified in the Alameda Sewer Lateral Ordinance and EBMUD Private Sewer Lateral Ordinance
PROBLEMS WITH PRIVATE SEWER LATERALS THAT ARE NOT PROPERLY MAINTAINED:
An unmaintained private sewer lateral has an increased chance of a blockage in the pipe, which can cause raw sewage to back up into a building. This can end up costing the property owner a sum of money to clean up from the impacts.
An unmaintained private sewer lateral also allows storm water to enter the pipe through cracks and other defects. This can overload the sewer system and treatment facilities during wet weather, resulting in untreated sewage entering the San Francisco Bay.
WHO NEEDS TO FIX THEIR PRIVATE LATERAL AND WHEN?
Please refer to the Regional Private Sewer Lateral Program Triggers.
You may also voluntarily choose to repair or replace your private sewer lateral at any time you feel it necessary (for example, if you are experiencing frequent sewer backups). If this is the case, still get an EBMUD Compliance Certificate to demonstrate that your new or repaired private sewer lateral is free of leaks.
IS A CITY PERMIT REQURIED FOR PRIVATE SEWER LATERAL WORK?
In most cases, only the EBMUD Compliance Certificate is required, except in cases when:
• The two-way cleanout needs to be installed in the sidewalk area; or
• Your private sewer lateral goes to a back or side yard sewer main.
If work is performed in the sidewalk area, you must also obtain a City Right of Way Concrete permit. The City’s Permit Center administers these permits.
If your private sewer lateral goes to a backyard or other easement sewer main, contact Public Works for easement location and guidance on where to install the two-way cleanout.
Only contractors holding a C-36 - Plumbing Contractor license or C-42 Sanitation System Contractor license should be performing any private sewer lateral repair or replacement work in the City of Alameda. Please refer to EBMUD's Hiring a Contractor Guidelines.
Licensed contractors must follow the California Plumbing Code, as amended by the Alameda Plumbing Code (Chapter 13-6 of the Municipal Code).
TWO-WAY CLEANOUTS TO BE INSTALLED AT THE PROPERTY LINE:
If not already existing, the City requires the property owner to install a two way cleanout on the sewer lateral at the property line. Please review the City Standard Detail and the property line setback from face of curb schematic. Property line setbacks are block specific – select the applicable map from the index and locate the subject address. Find the Property Line Setback from Face of Curb dimension on that City block. This is where the two way cleanout should be installed. Any significant deviance from this must be approved by the Public Works Department.
Since the early 1980’s, the City of Alameda and other Bay Area communities in the EBMUD wastewater treatment service area have worked together to reduce wet weather sanitary sewer overflows to community streets, local creeks and waterways, and the San Francisco Bay. The replacement of old, cracked sewer pipes can decrease the amount of rainwater infiltration entering the system, which left unaddressed can overwhelm the conveyance and treatment capacity of the wastewater facilities.
The City has an on-going replacement program for the publicly owned mainline pipes, manholes, pump stations and lower laterals. However, some homes in Alameda have never had their original sewer laterals replaced. Over time, these pipelines, generally made of clay, can crack, become disjointed, experience displacement, and/or be subjected to intrusion by tree roots, all of which can cause leakage and blockage. This Private Sewer Lateral Program is a mechanism to have property owners renew their portion of the sewer system.