What Are Requirements for Private Sewer Laterals in Oakland and the East Bay?


In the East Bay region of California, all residential, commercial, and industrial properties are subject to the East Bay Municipal Utility District Private Sewer Lateral Program (EBMUD PSL) Program.

The EBMUD ordinance is a local program designed to improve the quality of San Francisco Bay Area water resources. Old, cracked sewer pipes can allow rain to infiltrate municipal wastewater facilities: When too much water seeps into damaged pipes near residential homes and businesses, wastewater backs up and flows into the San Francisco Bay. The EDMUD program was created to mitigate this leakage of wastewater into the San Francisco Bay. 


EBMUD Program Considerations

1) Costs of Compliance

There are two primary cost factors to consider when it comes to PSL compliance: fees and penalties.

Property owners can incur penalty fees for if they do not demonstrate compliance within a certain period of time. Penalties for non-compliance can total up to $500 per day. EBMUD Sewer Compliance Fees have were updated July 1, 2020. You can view the most recent fee structure information at the East Bay PSL website.

At Pipe Spy, we integrate municipal fees into your invoice, so that you have itemized documentation of sewer lateral replacement or repair work as well as labor, equipment use, and material fees associated with compliance testing. In some cases there can be fees for additional laterals on the property, off-hours test inspections, and various compliance agreements. Note that HOA properties may have different fees and processes.

2) Camera Inspections Are Your Friend

Do yourself a favor and get a sewer lateral camera inspection.


You really need camera inspection to determine the condition of your private sewer lateral. Camera inspections save time and money in the long run and provide most accurate data on your sewer line and other underground issues.

A sewer line camera inspection can help you avoid more serious, long-term problems:

  • Dangerous safety issues
  • Unexpected work to be during a sewer line repair or replacement
  • Discovering that the municipality requires compliance for something you didn’t expect because of how the sewer line is situated on the property

These things happen. The only way to identify any damage in underground pipes is to conduct a sewer camera inspection.

3) Compliance Deadlines

If you’re making a real estate transaction, be sure to check your deadlines for compliance.

There is a 180-day extension period for people buying or selling a home, and you may have to wait a few weeks in the queue for replacement or repair work. While the actual trenchless replacement takes only a day or two, most East Bay private sewer lateral contractors have a busy calendar. Property owners need to plan ahead to allow enough time to get through this process.

4) HOA Rules


While they have until 2020 to gain their compliance, Home Owner’s Associations don’t always realize that it usually takes extensive camera work to diagnose each PSL and branch connection on the parcel—and that a large scale multi-unit property may have to be done in sections. This all takes more time, so this is another reason beginning the process early is the best strategy for avoiding penalties.

Read our Compliance Guide for HOAs and Condo Owners for more information.

5) Positive Outcomes of Compliance

It may be arduous dealing with city, county, and EBMUD regulations, but it’s helpful to remember that sewer compliance ensures we have clean drinking water and a cleaner San Francisco Bay for generations to come. The EBMUD program is not just another onerous tax on homeowners. Municipal and EDMUD sewer lateral regulations help us manage environmental hazards associated with large metropolitan populations and old, legacy plumbing systems.

Choose a Sewer Expert You Can Trust

If you need to demonstrate PSL compliance, it’s important to work with experts you trust to provide sound advice and superior services.

Pipe Spy has been solving complex plumbing problems since 1998. We provide affordable sewer inspections – and the sewer camera inspection fee is credited toward any repairs or replacements needed after the inspection.

Contact us for more information on sewer inspection and repair options – and to request a free quote.