The primary result of a poorly operating or failed lateral allowing inflow and infiltration (I&I) is hydrological overloading (surcharging) of the City's sanitary sewer collection system during rain events contributing to sanitary sewer overflows. Additionally, the lack of their integrity promotes exfiltration causing standing sewage on
Who is responsible for the inspection and what does the inspection encompass?
Richmond Municipal Code 12.17 states that the property owner is responsible for the inspection. However, during property sale is common for an agreeing arrangement between the buyer and seller about who will assume the responsibility. The inspection is conducted by a state licensed contractor hired by the responsible party.
When do I have to do an inspection and are there any other conditions?
1. Issues that trigger an inspection
- Capital Improvement Project Sewer Rehabilitation
- Repair of the Sewer Lateral
- Sale of Property
- Upgrades and Remodeling
- Issuance of a Building Permit
- Evidence of an improper sewer connection
2. Properties in Escrow
3. Conditions for Home Owners Associations and Cooperatives
4. Testing Procedures
5. Shared Sewer Lateral Connections-Capital Improvement Project Sewer Rehabilitation
6. Backflow valve or overflow device required
1. Issues that trigger an inspection
The project-by-project inspection program will not preclude the COR from testing sewer laterals in conjunction with other projects anywhere in the City of Richmond. It does not preclude a property owner from testing their sewer lateral at any time and making repairs at their expense.
Repair of the Sewer Lateral
Whenever a sewer lateral fails during normal usage or is broken into before making any repair to the sewer lateral.
Whenever a property is to be sold or there is a transfer of title, a sewer Certificate of Lateral Compliance must be obtained. The procedures herein must be followed by the property owner to obtain a
Whenever property located in the City of Richmond is remodeled to include the addition of two or more plumbing fixtures that discharge into a sanitary sewer system, the sewer lateral(s) to the property shall be tested. Before the final building inspection, all repairs or replacements necessary to bring a lateral into compliance shall be performed.
When a building permit is issued by the City or County requires compliance with all applicable Codes
Failure of the property owner to comply with RMC section 12.17.020 or 12.17.040 may require them to conduct testing by direction of the City Engineer and obtain a Certificate of Lateral Compliance at
The COR has no intention of holding up sales transactions for properties in escrow. However, an extension of 60 days to obtain a Certificate of Lateral Compliance will be verbally granted by the City Engineer on a case by case need. The extension is documented in the escrow addendum. The property owner is responsible to ensure the documentation occurs stating who will complete the compliance action and the timetable of compliance.
The City of Richmond Engineering Division has become aware of the need to clarify sanitary sewer lateral inspections as it relates specifically to Homeowners Associations and Cooperatives during property sales. Each property owner is responsible for obtaining a Certificate of Lateral Compliance of a single-family dwelling, or an arrangement between the property owners and the cooperative or homeowners association for ensuring compliance in the stated regulatory time frames for property sales will need to be provided to the City Engineer. If the lateral is jointly shared then an arrangement between the property owners and the cooperative or homeowners association for ensuring compliance in the stated regulatory time frames for property sales will need to be provided to the City Engineer. The mains servicing the development will need to be tested every fifteen (15) years by an arrangement between the property owners and the cooperative or homeowners association. All arrangements between the cooperative or homeowners associations for compliance of this ordinance need to be on record with the City Engineer.
shall be in DVD format
shall be in color (any black & white, cloudy, fuzzy, or otherwise unclear video will be returned for resubmission)
shall show the address of the lateral
shall show the date the video was taken
shall clearly show the cleanout or access point used to insert the camera into the lateral
shall have a running foot or time marker clearly visible on the screen
where joints are present, shall briefly stop the camera at each to clearly indicate their integrity
shall have the date the DVD was submitted to the City written on the DVD along with the address of the inspection site and telephone number for the point of contact
The test results are submitted to the City Engineer for review (450 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, CA 94804). The review may take up to 5 work days, and the results can be faxed, mailed, or emailed to the responsible party.
At the City Engineer’s discretion, the video may be returned for resubmission in accordance with the above requirements if any of the above requirements are not strictly adhered to. The selected inspection method can be performed by contractors who have a current state license. The City Engineer will notify the property owner(s) and tenants regarding when a sewer lateral inspection is required except when it is required due to the sale of property, otherwise, the inspection is initiated as part of all applicable sections of Richmond Municipal Code Chapter 12.17.
5. Shared Sewer Lateral Corrections
When any repairs or replacements are done to those laterals that are jointly shared by more than one building or structure from different properties, each shall require a discrete connection to the City’s sanitary sewer main as part of the repair. If a property with two buildings or structures with plumbing fixtures requiring drainage is subdivided, each building or structures shall require a discrete connection to the City’s sanitary sewer main as a condition of subdividing (RMC 12.17.05. (d)). At the discretion of the City Engineer, a statement of
If the sewer lateral is shared with other properties or structures, the necessary repairs, separation of the system, or relocation of the system will be as approved by the City Engineer.
Such work shall be done according to standards issued by the City
If a letter of Agreement exists with the property deed explaining the joint responsibilities between property owners or the following:
The City will need to have a record of the notarized agreement that is filed with the finalized deed. It is recommended the agreement should at least state:
The location of any private easement on the subject easement property
What section or sections of the joint lateral each property owner is responsible to individually maintain and pay associated costs.
What section or sections of the joint lateral that the maintenance and associate costs are shared by both or all involved parties.
The duration of the agreement
The right to terminate the private easement agreement in writing and within a reasonable timeframe for the purpose of property improvements or plumbing relocation by the subject private easement property owner.
When any repairs are done to lateral that does not have an existing backflow valve or overflow device, the property owner shall install the appropriate valve or device. It shall be the responsibility of the property owner to maintain the backflow valve or overflow devise in proper operating condition (RMC 12.17.040 (b) (v)).
For your convenience and not an endorsement of any type click on the following link to locate a contractor:
List of Plumbing Contractors