When you have a sewer problem, you’re usually facing an expensive repair or replacement process. Therefore, it’s important to figure out if this problem is actually the city’s responsibility. If so, they’ll be paying for it. However, a homeowner’s responsibility for the sewers usually extends further than they think, potentially even past their property line.

Here’s what you need to know about what portion of the sewer line the city is responsible for.

Sewer Responsibility in Concord, CA

Laws about sewer line responsibility vary by region and city. We’re going to be talking about the sewer rules in Concord, California and surrounding areas. If you live in a different jurisdiction, you’ll need to contact your local plumber to find out if your sewer problem is your issue or not.

In Concord, you are responsible for your sewer lateral at least until the property line clean-out, potentially to the sewer main. It depends on your specific property.

The Structure of Your Sewers

So, if you’re responsible for the sewers until the property line clean-out, where exactly is that?

Consider your drain lines, for your toilet, sink, showers, and other appliances. These drain lines all head down your home and connect out into a pipe called a lateral. It’s called a lateral because it connects to the sewer main laterally.

As the lateral gets further away from your home, it heads deeper into the ground. This angle helps sewage drain away from your home. Where the sewer passes your property line, it has what’s called a property line clean-out.

This is a vertical access pipe that connects down to your lateral. It allows plumbers to connect equipment to the sewer lateral, or get into it for cleaning or repair. You are definitely responsible for the sewer lateral up until this point. Not only is it on your property, but you’re the only person who uses this line of pipe. If there is a problem in the pipe, the city probably didn’t cause it.

In some areas of Clayton, CA, the city is responsible for the lateral past this point. In Concord, the city is usually not responsible for the lateral past this point. If so, it’s up to you and your plumber to take care of issues between the property line clean-out and the sewer main.

Where is the Sewer Main?

If you’re informed that you are responsible for the sewer lateral until the sewer main, you’ll want to know where that is.

In Concord, the sewer main is considered any 12-inch or larger pipe. So as soon as your lateral connects to a 12-inch pipe you are no longer responsible for any problem in it. Only a plumber can tell you when this happens, but there is a way to estimate it in general.

The simplest way is to find a nearby manhole. The manholes are usually directly on top of the sewer line. The sewer may be a little curvy as it gets closer to your home, but this gives you a general idea of how close the main is to the homes on your street.

Ultimately, you’ll want a plumbers advice as to whether your specific sewer problem is the city’s responsibility or not. Even if it’s not in their portion of the sewer, you may be able to argue the city caused the problem.

Sources:

https://www.cityofconcord.org/DocumentCenter/View/1043/Sewer-System-Management-Plan-PDF

https://www.codepublishing.com/CA/Concord/html/Concord13/Concord1305.html