Making Changes To Your Property? Make Sure Your Lateral Sewer Complies With Local Laws

If you are making changes to your home, you obviously need to find a contractor who will get the proper permits that follow your HOA and municipality's rules. While you may be concerned with construction above the ground, don't forget about what goes on beneath it: sewer lines. Many towns and cities require their citizens to get an inspection to their lateral sewer lines before big changes occur. Read on to learn more about lateral lines and why you need to comply with local laws before making changes.

What Is Your Lateral Sewer Line?

Lateral sewer lines are pipes that connect your home's private plumbing to the city's public sewers. There are two pieces of the lateral sewer line: the upper and the lower. The upper sewer line is the pipe beneath your home that connects the indoor plumbing to pipes on the sidewalk area. The lower lateral line are sewer pipes on the sidewalk verge that connect to the public sewer main.

You may already realize that you are responsible for the upper lateral line, but the lower lateral line is a bit of a gray area. Some towns take care of the lower lateral lines, but you should check your laws. Some areas say that property owners are responsible for both the upper and lower lateral lines.

What Is a Compliance Certificate?

A compliance certificate is similar to a permit in that it shows the city that your property is meeting the required codes and specifications. It's important to have a compliance certificate relating to your lateral lines in order to prove to the city that there are no leaks.

As you can imagine, there are many situations in which your town may require a compliance certificate. When you make big changes to your property, like home additions that require plumbing, your city will likely require you to get a plumbing inspection. If you pass the inspection, you'll get a compliance certificate.

Again, it's always best to check your local laws as some areas are more stringent than others. You may need to get a compliance certificate for your lateral lines if you are:

  • making major home remodels

  • changing your home's water meter to add pressure and volume (e.g. for lawn irrigation)

  • buying a new home

  • selling your current home

What Happens If You Don't Get a Compliance Certificate?

If you don't have a plumber inspect your lateral line and certify that there aren't any problems, you could be fined by your city. Plus, you won't be able to proceed with changes to your property without a certificate.

Even though you have to pay to have the inspection done, this small cost is so much better than putting your lateral lines at risk for major repairs if you ignore a growing leak. Costhelper says that repairs per foot of pipe could cost between $50 and $100. If the lower line is badly damaged and needs new piping altogether, you could be paying more than $20,000!

It's best to get an inspection to catch problems early. A plumber can use sewer camera inspection to check your lateral line. These camera inspections are invaluable because they save you both time and money. The plumber can see immediately see a leak or blockage on the camera and know where he or she has to work. Instead of doing extensive excavations, issues may be able to fixed with less labor. Sewer cameras are also small, so you don't have to worry about an invasive procedure that would mess up your plumbing. If there is a problem, you'll be able to catch it early instead of spending a lot later to make major repairs. Lastly, you'll be able to get a compliance certificate with this quick, easy inspection.

Contact a plumber at companies like Streamline  Plumbing in your area for more information on checking your home's lateral lines.