Private sewer laterals, which connect homes and businesses to the District's public sewer system, are responsible for about 50% of all sewer spills! These pipes are the responsibility of the property owners and are often damaged by roots, ground settling, construction work and age. Damaged pipes allow large volumes of water to flow into the collection system, which can overwhelm pipes and the treatment plant, leading to dangerous spills. To avoid cracks and leaks here are steps you can take when you buy a home or encounter periodic plumbing backup problems:
Maintain / Repair
Laterals can be cleaned and maintained with rooter type equipment or repairs can be made by trenching or with newer technologies that don't require extensive digging such as "lining" and "pipe bursting." Use a licensed and insured plumbing contractor who can provide advice, inspection and repair services. All repairs must comply with District standards and be inspected by a District Inspector. Visit the Sewer Installations and Extensions page for information on all requirements and procedures or call the district at 415-259-2949. You can verify contractor licensing and get tips about hiring a contractor by visiting the Contractors State License Board website or by calling 800-321-2752.
Make sure your storm drains, sump pumps and gutters flow into a storm drain and not into your sewer lateral.
A TV or Video inspection will show defects in the lateral, such as cracks, root intrusion, open or offset joints and sagging. Along with determining the potential for inflow of storm water, these defects can clog the sewer and cause back ups and overflow into your home. Water or air testing also will show defects, but will not reveal the type or location of the problem.