Why Should I Fix My PSL?
Under the Regional Private Sewer Lateral Ordinance certain property owners are required to have their sewer laterals certified as leak-free. The triggers that require this certification include buying or selling a property, building or remodeling in excess of $100,000, or changing the size of your water meter. Even if the above triggers aren't met by your property, there are plenty of good reasons to ensure your PSL is leak-free voluntarily. Leaking or cracked PSLs can cause problems on many fronts:
- Defective laterals increase the risk of raw sewage seeping into surrounding soils and groundwater, contaminating private property and local creeks
- They result in increased rain water flows into the sewer system that can overwhelm the wastewater pipes and treatment plant, resulting in partially treated sewage being discharged to the Bay
- Leaking or cracked laterals increase the risk of raw sewage back-ups in homes and businesses, resulting in property damage and health risks
- Leaking laterals result in water intrusion into the sewer system, or growth of roots in the pipes, both of which can lead to raw sewage overflows on local streets, storm drains and local creeks
- Raw sewage overflows resulting from damaged sewer laterals can result in local jurisdictions being fined by the Environmental Protection Agency, which ultimately will be paid by revenues from the public
- Allowing a defective lateral to remain unaddressed is a violation of local city ordinances and could result in enforcement actions against the responsible property owner. Below is a list of the Municipal or District codes which require that property owners properly maintain their laterals. The latest version of the local codes can be accessed on each city's respective website.
- Alameda: Municipal Code, Chapter 18, Section 5.3
- Albany: Municipal Code, Chapter 15, Section 15-1.22
- Berkeley: Municipal Code, Chapter 17.24, Section 17.24.30 and 17.24.170
- Emeryville: Municipal Code, Title 7, Chapter 8, Section 7-8.206
- Oakland: Municipal Code, Title 13, Chapter 13.08.120
- Piedmont: Municipal Code, Chapter 5, Section 5.47
- Stege Sanitary District: District Code, Chapter 4, Section 4.4