Sewer Lateral Compliance as it Relates to Buying a Home in the East Bay

Freeway Interchange sign in east San Francisco bay, California

When purchasing a home in the East Bay, many people are unaware of the property’s sewer lateral compliance status. This can create many pitfalls and missteps that can lead to a lot of expensive consequences for homeowners. As sewer lateral compliance is one of the most complex processes a homeowner will go through around purchasing a new house, Pipe Spy can help you avoid these pitfalls and missteps to ensure that the process runs smoothly.

Things to Keep in Mind for Sewer Lateral Compliance in the East Bay

1. Sewer Lateral Compliance Varies from City to City – Each sanitary district (city) in the East Bay has its own processes, rules, and fees in regard to sewer lateral compliance. In addition, not every planning office runs the same. When seeking sewer lateral compliance, always check to see your city’s procedures.

2. EBMUD Plays a Big Role in Sewer Lateral Compliance – For most cities under the sewer compliance ordinance in the East Bay, EBMUD works in tandem to help produce that compliance and manage the authorization of the compliance in most jurisdictions. With this in mind, it is important for homebuyers to communicate with EBMUD and ask for the necessary requirements.

3. You Might Need to Reserve a Solid Budget for Compliance – Expected fees for sewer lateral compliance have increased for 2019-2020 and prospective buyers should know that an individual Compliance Application fee is $260 per parcel and $70 per additional lateral. In addition to this, there will be fees for sewer video inspection, city permits (with varying degrees of cost based on project details), any repairs needed, and testing of the line as the final step in gaining the compliance certificate.


Area Affected by PSL Compliance

The list below features cities in the East Bay affected by Sewer Lateral Compliance.

• Alameda (began January 1, 2015)
• Albany (began January 1, 2015)
• Berkeley (began October 1, 2006)
• Emeryville (began August 22, 2011)
• Oakland (began January 16, 2012)
• Piedmont (began August 22, 2011)
• Kensington (began October 17, 2011)
• El Cerrito (began October 17, 2011)
• Richmond Annex (began October 17, 2011)

Tasks to Complete Before Kicking Off Your Compliance Process

Red Ring Binder with Inscription Permits.

Before kicking off your compliance process, complete the tasks below. These tasks will help you better organize your efforts and arrangements when obtaining compliance for your new property.

1. Fill and Drain the Tub and Flush the Toilet – When you do these things, what do you discover? Gurgling noises? Slow draining? Backups with sediment in the water? By performing these tasks, you could reveal a problem with the home’s plumbing drains.

2. Walk the Exterior of the Property – Do you notice any sink holes or damp areas in the yard? Are plants growing exceedingly fast during droughts. Noticing these peculiarities may indicate a leaky sewer line that needs to be repaired.

3. Take a Look at the Pipe Connections on Your Home’s Exterior – Is there a cleanout outside? Can you confirm these lines connect to the city main directly from your property? Does it connect to the main crossing through your neighbor’s property? Is there an easement if it does?  An easement may require a complex engineered solution, which can be difficult to resolve. By taking a good look and inventory of the home’s exterior, you can receive clues about future repairs or even bigger issues and expenses down the line.

4. Get Copies of the Home’s Permit History – If you have the time to research and get copies of the home’s permit history, you can obtain more information about the status of your new property’s sewer line compliance. Your local city building and planning department should be able to help you obtain the records free of charge.

5. Do Your Own Research – Order up your own independent home inspection and ask for particular information on the home’s sewer connections, exposed cleanouts, water connections, gas lines, and the corresponding meters for each of these systems.

6. Get a Sewer Camera Inspection – A sewer camera inspection will tell you all you need to know about the home’s sewer line. When looking for a sewer camera inspection service, make sure you hire an experienced professional like Pipe Spy to do it so you get written and recorded proof of the diagnosis, and a fair explanation of the estimated charges for repair.

Sewer lateral compliance is one of the most difficult processes to go through when purchasing a new home. By following the guidelines above, you can prevent a lot of pitfalls and missteps that complicate the process even further.

If your sewer lateral compliance process requires repair or sewer camera inspections, call Pipe Spy. Our 40+ years of experience in trenchless sewer repair and replacement make us the best company to assist you in your sewer lateral compliance process.