HOA Sewer Lateral Compliance 2020: What You’ll Need to Know to Get Started


This post is the first in our HOA Sewer Lateral Compliance Series.

Home Owner Associations (HOAs) in the Bay Area need to be ready to obtain their sewer compliance by 2020. With the deadline right around the corner, the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD), particular cities, and Pipe Spy are encouraging HOAs to prepare for obtaining their sewer compliance.

This process can often be complex, time-consuming, and costly, so preparing as early as possible is important to help lower the costs.

Deadlines for Sewer Lateral Compliance

Technically, HOAs have until 2021 to prepare for the sewer compliance ordinance in their local areas of East Bay. However, owners should know that they’ll receive major fines after July 12, 2021 if their sewer lines are noncompliant.

They should also know that getting an extension to have the work done may be more difficult if left to the last minute. A mad rush of larger projects requiring more oversight could possibly overwhelm the governing bodies as well as your local sewer contractors’ office.

HOAs in our local area that have already “triggered” the compliance process to begin, through sale of the property, remodeling, or construction, could be held to a sooner deadline based on their kick-off date.

Sewer Line Responsibilities for Individuals and HOAs

If  individual unit owners are legally responsible for the Private Sewer Lateral (PSL) per the Covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) of EBMUD, then lateral work must be done upon property sale, construction, or remodeling in excess of $100,000 or when increasing or decreasing water meter size.

If the HOA is responsible for shared lines and individual unit owners are responsible for individual laterals, the HOA must comply by July 21, 2021 and individuals must comply when any of the three triggers are hit.


EBMUD application charges are $250 per parcel, and parcels are limited to one lateral at that price point. Additional laterals on the same parcel will incur additional fees of $63 per lateral.


Preliminary Tasks

Before an HOA reaches out for initial services and information from sewer contractors such as Pipe Spy, they should be sure to do the following:

  • Have a discussion with EBMUD to determine what class of property they are, what EBMUD expects in terms of requirements for their location, and whether or not they need to submit a letter of responsibility.
  • Acquire a copy of the property’s parcel map for reference. It will support contractors in knowing where to look for the property’s underground utilities. Owners should note that it is extremely rare for their city jurisdiction to have and give copies of maps of their specific property utilities. If owners do not have an area map, Pipe Spy can assist in developing a current map for use in the sewer projects to come. Ask about our sewer locating services.

Preliminary Visual Surveys and Camera/Video Sewer Line Inspections for HOAs at Pipe Spy

A preliminary visual survey of the property needs to be scheduled with Pipe Spy to get concrete data on the scope of work and estimate the video inspection work that will need to be done in order to determine the condition of each lateral on the site.
The site visit is free of charge and will result in an itemized estimate for the video/camera inspections which you’ll receive via email.
Video camera inspections of HOA laterals can be pretty time consuming as each lateral takes about an hour to inspect. If the line is extraordinary long or connected to a larger system of laterals, it can take much longer. For this reason, owners (or their board appointees) need to set aside plenty of time for these inspections and expect up to half a day’s work to complete a thorough survey.

Video Inspection Costs

modern town houses of brick and glass on urban street

At Pipe Spy we offer two types of video inspections:

  • Small HOA Video Inspections ($150/hr. for a minimum of 2 hours) – For condominiums sharing a common PSL
  • Large HOA Video Inspections (cost can only be determined after our initial site visit) – For communities with several parcels, each with their own PSL

How We Handle HOA Requests


Pipe Spy’s flow chart above shows how we handle an HOA inquiry. There are a lot of details that need to be exchanged and even more to gather when beginning a project this size with so many moving parts.
Luckily, we’ve had an opportunity to work with many HOAs and in that time, we’ve developed standards and practices to help our customers get through the process with more confidence and success.
If you are a member of a local HOA and are responsible for sewer lateral compliance, don’t wait until the last minute to get started. Contact Pipe Spy today.