Sanitary Sewer Lateral Inspection Program

Sanitary Sewer Lateral Inspection Program

Sewer Lateral Compliance Plan (Purpose of the Inspection)

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 private and public property, discharges of sewage to the storm drains, public health, general nuisance, and wellbeing problems.  There are approximately 18,000 private laterals in the Richmond Municipal Sewer District, an estimated 272 miles in total length.  Following the guidelines from the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, San Francisco Bay Region (CRWQBSFB) Resolution number R2-2005-0059, “In Support of Program for Inspection and Rehabilitation of Private Sewer Laterals,” and the direction of CRWQCBSFB Resolution Number R2-2003-0095, “In Support of Collaboration between the Regional Board and Bay Area Clean Water Agencies to Report and Manage Sanitary Sewer Overflows,” is the purpose of this plan, and to collectively maintain the beneficial use of all receiving waters.

The program is managed by the Engineering Services Department and the contact telephone number is 510-307-8091.

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 the 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 a 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
    - Exceptions

6. Backflow valve or overflow device required


1. Issues that trigger an inspection

Capital Improvement Project Sewer Rehabilitation

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.

 

Sale of Property

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 Certificate of Lateral Compliance.

 

Upgrades and Remodeling

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 final building inspection, all repairs or replacements necessary to bring a lateral into compliance shall be performed.


Issuance of a Building Permit

When a building permit is issued by the City or County requires compliance with all applicable Codes

 

Evidence of a improper sewer connection

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 anytime. (RMC 12.17.080)

2. Properties in escrow

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. Generally monies can be left in escrow by the seller to pay the contractor’s fees for any necessary repairs.  If the buyer elects to assume all responsibility for obtaining a Certificate of Lateral Compliance a Notarized Letter or a statement in a Standard California Realtor Escrow Addendum stating that the requirements will be met sixty (60) days after the close of escrow is necessary.  A copy of the signed addendum or notarized letter must be received by the City  Engineer’s office no later than the close of escrow. 

 

3. Conditions for Home Owners Associations and Cooperatives

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.

As of March 20, 2007 arrangements 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 for review by April 1, 2008.   After a satisfactory review and approval of the arrangement the lateral inspections and any subsequent repairs or required unified plumbing updates need to be completed and the Certificate of Lateral Compliance obtained no later than April 1, 2009 and every fifteen years thereafter.

4. Testing and Submittal Procedures

Testing may be accomplished by either a water ex-filtration test or an air test or Closed Circuit Video recording observation.  If a Closed Circuit Video recording observation is selected as the preferred method of inspection then the video shall meet the following requirements:   
      1. shall be in DVD format

      2. shall be in color (any black & white, cloudy, fuzzy, or otherwise unclear video will be returned for resubmission)  

      3. shall show the address of the lateral

      4. shall show the date the video was taken

      5. shall clearly show the cleanout or access point used to insert the cameral into the lateral

      6. shall have a running foot or time marker clearly visible on the screen

      7. where joints are present, shall briefly stop the camera at each to clearly indicate their integrity

      8. 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 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

        General
        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 agreement between the subject property owners will be filed with the escrow/title company, County Clerk or on record with the deed stating who is responsible for any necessary repairs as required by RMC.  This statement of agreement, approved by the City Engineer can supersede the requirement to install discrete connections.

        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 Engineer, and in the latest edition of the Unified Plumbing Code and COR’s Standard Specifications and Drawings.

        Exceptions
        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:

        1. The location of any private easement on the subject easement property

        2. What section or sections of the joint lateral each property owner is responsible to individually maintain and pay associated costs.

        3. What section or sections of the joint lateral that the maintenance and associate costs are shared by both or all involved parties.

        4. The duration of the agreement

        5. 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.

        6. Backflow valve or overflow device required

        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: