Private Sewer Lateral Program Begins in the East Bay

Beginning January 16, 2012, the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) will be phasing in a Regional Private Sewer Lateral (PSL) Ordinance in The cities of Emeryville, Piedmont, Oakland, and those in the Stege Sanitary District (SSD) - El Cerrito, Kensington, and Richmond Annex.

The goal is to replace old, cracked sewer pipes to keep water from infiltrating them during storms and flooding the wastewater treatment plants that discharge into the bay. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Regional Water Quality Control Board are requiring EBMUD to reduce discharge of untreated waste into the bay.

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The sewer lateral is the pipe that connects an individual residence or business to the sewer main in the street. It is the responsibility of the homeowner to maintain the sewer lateral. Residential and commercial property owners will be required to obtain a certificate that shows their sewer lateral is in good condition, and is connected properly to the property’s waste pipes and to the sewer main in the street (which is maintained by EBMUD or SSD).

For affected homeowners, the requirement to bring the property's sewer lateral into compliance is triggered by sale of the property, building or remodeling in excess of $100,000, or changing the size of the water meter. If your sewer lateral has been fully replaced in the last 10 years, then you are exempt from the requirement.

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Sellers of property must obtain a compliance certificate by fixing the sewer lateral, if necessary, and then having the sewer lateral inspected by EBMUD prior to transferring title to the new owner. Should the seller and buyer agree to pass the responsibility for the repair on to the buyer, the seller should apply for a time extension of 180 days. A deposit of $4500 must be submitted with the application prior to transferring title, which is returned to the designated party once the work has been completed and a compliance certificate obtained.

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For those owners remodeling in excess of $100,000 or changing their water meter size, the procedure is to obtain a compliance certificate prior to final permit sign-off or water service application submittal by having the sewer lateral repaired if necessary, then inspected and approved by EBMUD.

The cost will be $150 for the EBMUD compliance certificate, approximately $450 for inspection and testing by a qualified private company, and roughly $4000-$12,000 to replace the sewer lateral, depending upon site conditions and the exact methods used. For more details, visit the website at www.eastbaypsl.com, or contact EBMUD directly at 1-866-40-EBMUD or by email at: psl@ebmud.com.