Sewer Pipe Maintenance

Lateral Inspection

Private sewer laterals connect homes and businesses to the District’s public sewer system and are responsible for about 50% of all sewer spills! Maintaining private sewer laterals (often damaged by roots, ground settling, construction work and age) is the property owners responsibility. Damaged pipes allow large volumes of water to flow into the collection system. This can overwhelm pipes and the treatment plant, leading to dangerous spills. Below are steps you can take to avoid cracks and leaks when you buy a home or encounter periodic plumbing backup problems:

Maintain / Repair

Laterals can be cleaned and maintained with rooter type equipment or repaired by trenching or utilizing 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 also go to the Contractors State License Board website or call 800-321-2752 to verify contractor licensing and get contractor hiring tips.


A TV or Video inspection will show lateral defects, such as cracks, root intrusion, open or offset joints and sagging. Along with determining the potential for storm water to inflow into the system, these defects can clog the sewer, cause back ups and overflow into your home. Water or air testing will also show defects, but will not reveal the type or location of the problem.


Make sure your storm drains, sump pumps and gutters flow into a storm drain and not into your sewer lateral.

Is your sump pump connected properly?
Connecting sump pumps to the sewer system is illegal!

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