In 2013, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board (Water Board) ordered the Ross Valley Sanitary District (RVSD) to fix old, cracked sanitary sewer pipes. Many pipes are in need of repair to prevent the infiltration of rainwater, which can overwhelm the wastewater collection system and treatment plant, leading to sanitary sewer overflows in the community or discharges of partially treated wastewater into the San Francisco Bay. The Water Board's order compelled RVSD to phase in a Private Sewer Lateral (PSL) Ordinance beginning in June of 2014. Affected property owners must obtain certification from RVSD that their PSLs are leak-free.
Who is affected?
RVSD's service area covers properties in the City of Larkspur, Town of Ross, Town of San Anselmo, Town of Fairfax, and the unincorporated areas of Sleepy Hollow, Kentfield, and Greenbrae. If you own a property in any of those areas, this Ordinance applies to you.
All requirements of the Ordinance went into effect as of July 1, 2014, except those relating to property sales, which became effective on January 1, 2015.
Triggers for Compliance
The testing requirement in the PSL Ordinance applies only if you are buying or selling a property or remodeling in excess of $75,000.
PSL Exemptions from the Ordinance Triggers
Your PSL is exempt if it was permitted by RVSD for construction or full replacement and passed final inspection by a District Inspector within the last 20 years. Follow the Guidelines for Exemption to obtain an exemption for your property.
Complying with the PSL Ordinance
To receive a Certificate of Compliance for your property demonstrating that all of the PSLs located on the property are without leaks and have proper connection, proceed to the guidelines and select the condition which applies to you.
Generally, to receive a Certificate of Compliance, the following steps will be taken:
- Verify with RVSD the exemption status of the property. Has the later been constructed or replaced in the last 20 years and passed final inspection by a District Inspector? Call (415)259-2949 or contact us by e-mail.
- Hire a contractor to inspect your PSL. Commonly this consists of a closed-circuit television (CCTV) inspection allowing for the contractor and you to visually see the condition of you PSL, including instances of offset joints, root intrusion and cracked or broken pipe segments which would prevent your PSL from passing the verification test.
Note: A copy of the CCTV inspection is NOT sufficient proof for obtaining a Letter of Compliance. Certificate of Compliance
is only granted after passing a verification test.
- If necessary, have your PSL repaired or replaced. If full replacement is needed, you may qualify for financial assistance.
- Schedule an inspection with RVSD. Your contractor will set up and administer the pressure test per the provided guidelines. RVSD will witness the test and confirm that your PSL is free of leaks.
- If your lateral does not pass the pressure test, additional work will be required on your PSL. The pressure test must be rescheduled with RVSD.
- If your lateral is free of leaks, a Certificate of Compliance will be sent to you shortly thereafter.
PSL Program Fees
While the Ordinance does create new fees, the District does have fees associated with permitting lateral repairs, replacements, and inspections. Those fees will apply to any work needed to bring the PSL into compliance with the Ordinance. Click here for a fee schedule.