Sewer Lateral Compliance Ordinance

What is a lateral? 

The "Lateral,” “building sewer,” or “service lateral” is the sewer pipeline conveying wastewater from the premises of a user to the City’s sewer system.  

In the Richmond Municipal Sewer District the property owner is responsible for the upper and lower sections of the lateral from the foundation to the street, alley or easement.

Bay Area Lateral Issues

Rain, high tides and/or groundwater can enter sanitary sewer laterals through cracks and gaps.  This causes a large volume water to enter the City’s main sewer line, and exceeding the intended design capacity. This results in manholes overflowing, back-ups into homes and business and could eventually discharge (untreated) into the San Francisco Bay.

This compounds the City's effort to maintain and control the publically owned collection system and increases the amount of overflows that enter the stormwater drainage system discharging to San Francisco Bay.

Are you Sewer Smart?  Click and see.

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Starting August 25, 2006 the City established an inspection requirement of the sewer lateral for property owners:

RMC 12.17 "Sanitary Sewer Connections"

The Sewer Lateral Compliance Plan establishes how the City enforces the program.   The ordinance is applicable to the Richmond Municipal District only!

What Sanitary Sewer District are you in?
Sewer District Page

Listing of All the Richmond Sanitary Sewer Districts by Searchable Address Range

In order to verify the sewer lateral is compliant with the RMC 12.17 ordinance and apply for a Certificate of Lateral Compliance 
(COLC) you will need to get a state licensed plumber to run a camera thru the sewer lateral line from the foundation to the city main to confirm it’s condition.  If the plumber provides proof and recommends the lateral be replaced then proceed with the replacement and then you can apply for the COLC.  If the line looks good and feels it will pass our City standards, a video review submittal is required to our department for staff to review it.  Our staff will determine if it passes or fails.

We have a list of plumbers at the following link:

Lateral Grant Program:

If the property is closing escrow, the buyer and seller need to agree who will take responsibility of the sewer lateral ordinance.  An addendum should be written and signed by both it must state the name(s) of the party taking responsibility and the sewer lateral must be compliant within 60 days after close of escrow.  A copy of the signed addendum must be emailed or fax to our department.  

Does the property I'm interested in have a current COLC?

Look for a Wastewater permit for the subject address in this database: 
eTRAKiT Database (March 2008 to present) 

Certificates of Lateral Compliance issued from August 2006 to March 2008

Claims for damaged laterals:
Complete a claim form explaining how your lateral was damage at the expense of the City and submit it and any receipts to the City Clerk's office.

Financial Assistance for lateral replacement:
Home Repair Assistance