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 or lower sections of the lateral from the foundation to the street, alley or easement.
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.
Starting August 25, 2006 the City established an inspection requirement of private laterals for property owners: RMC 12.17 "Sanitary Sewer Connections"