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 ordinance is applicable to parcels serviced by the Richmond Municipal District.

Sanitary Sewer Districts
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(s) from the foundation to the city main to confirm its condition.  If the plumber provides proof and recommends the lateral(s) be replaced then proceed with the replacement with a state licensed plumber and then you can apply for the COLC.  If the lateral(s) looks good and feels it will pass our City standards, a video review submittal is required to our department for staff to review.  Our staff will review the video to determine if it passes or fails.

Close of Escrow Requirement:
If the property is closing escrow, the buyer and seller need to agree who will take responsibility for the sewer lateral ordinance compliance.  An addendum should be written and signed by both it must state:
- Name(s), address, email, and telephone number of the party taking responsibility of RMC §12.17.
- 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.  

COLC issued March 2008 to present
COLC issued from August 2006 to March 2008

List of Plumbing Contractors
Sewer Lateral Grant Program

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