Sewer laterals are the pipes that lead from homes or businesses to the sewer main. Leaking private building laterals are often one of the main sources of inflow and infiltration, commonly referred to as I & I, that is treated by the Sonoma Valley County Sanitation District (District) at its treatment facility. I&I is usually a result of leaky or deteriorating laterals and sewer main lines, which allow groundwater and stormwater to seep into pipes, increasing the amount of water flowing to the wastewater treatment plant for treatment. Additional water from I&I increases the pumping and sewage treatment cost for the wastewater treatment plant.
It is the responsibility of the property owner to clean, maintain and replace their sewer lateral. Many of the sewer lateral pipes are old, and are at risk for leaking raw sewage into the ground, causing plumbing problems in your home or business and contributing stormwater inflow to the sewer system during wet weather. Sewer laterals can be compromised by tree root intrusions, grease buildup, pipe cracks, and pipe sags.
As a result of a series of overflows between 2010 and 2014, the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board last year fined the District more than $700,000 and mandated the district to consider an ordinance that would result in sewer laterals being repaired or replaced. In order to prevent these costs from being passed on to residents, the District has passed an ordinance in a step to upgrade parts of the sewer that are known to be aging.
In response to the aging infrastructure, The Private Sewer Lateral Ordinance requires property owners of homes and businesses that are 30 years or older to have their sewer laterals inspected and repaired, if necessary, in order to prevent sewer overflows that contribute to pollution and result in costly fines to the District. An estimated two-thirds of the sewer laterals in Sonoma Valley are at least 30 years old and likely in need of repair.
In response to this issue, the District will be conducting free video inspections of private sewer laterals to property owners in areas known to have increased I & I. A notice will be sent prior to video inspections, notifying homeowners. If a homeowner chooses not to have the District provide the video inspection, homeowners will need to notify the District and provide their own video inspection by a certified contractor. After the video inspection, if a properties sewer lateral is determined to be failing, a letter will be sent out notifying the resident of the problem(s) and the steps that are required. The resident will have one calendar year to make repairs using a qualified contractor. To help residents with the cost of replacement or repair, the District will be offering a rebate program.
For a limited time, SVCSD is offering rebates to owners of homes and businesses for the replacement and/or repair of private sewer laterals in the SVCSD service area. Maximum rebate is up to $1,000 per Tax Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN). Rebate is available on a first-come, first-serve basis and is available to all customers within the SVCSD service area.The SVCSD Private Sewer Lateral Rehabilitation Rebate Program is being partially funded as a part of a settlement of an enforcement action by the Regional Water Board against SVCSD.
Complete and signed application with all documentation can be mailed to:
Sonoma Valley County Sanitation District – Sewer Lateral Rebate
404 Aviation Blvd
Santa Rosa, CA 95403