California Regional Water Quality Control Board Compliance Order
In 2013, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board ordered Ross Valley Sanitary District (RVSD) to fix old, cracked sanitary sewer pipes. Many pipes are in need of repair to prevent the infiltration of rainwater, which can overwhelm the wastewater collection system and treatment plant, leading to sanitary sewer overflows in the community or discharges of partially treated wastewater into the San Francisco Bay.
Private Sewer Lateral Ordinance
The California Regional Water Quality Control Board's order compelled RVSD to phase in a Private Sewer Lateral Ordinance (PSL) beginning in June 2014. Affected property owners must obtain certification from RVSD that their PSLs are leak-free.
RVSD's service area covers properties in the City of Larkspur, Town of Ross, Town of San Anselmo, Town of Fairfax, and the unincorporated areas within the boundaries including Sleepy Hollow, Kentfield, Fairfax, San Anselmo and Greenbrae. If you own a property in any of these areas, the Private Sewer Lateral Ordinance applies to you.
All requirements of the Private Sewer Lateral Ordinance went into effect as of July 1, 2014, except those relating to property sales, which became effective on January 1, 2015.
The testing requirement in the Private Sewer Lateral Ordinance applies only if you are buying or selling a property, remodeling in excess of $75,000, or adding a bathroom to a property.
Exemptions from the Ordinance Triggers
Your private sewer lateral is exempt if it was permitted by RVSD for construction or full replacement and passed final inspection by a District Inspector within the last 20 years. Follow the Guidelines for Exemption to obtain an exemption for your property.
To receive a Certificate of Compliance demonstrating that all of the private sewer laterals located on your property are without leaks and have proper connection, proceed to the guidelines and select the condition which applies to you.
Generally, to receive a Certificate of Compliance, the following steps will be taken:
- Verify the exemption status of the property with RVSD by checking to see if the lateral has been constructed or replaced in the last 20 years and passed final inspection by a District Inspector. Call us at 415-259-2949 or email Info@rvsd.org for more information.
- Hire a contractor to inspect your sewer lateral. Commonly this consists of a closed-circuit television (CCTV) inspection allowing you and the contractor to see the condition of the lateral, including instances of offset joints, root intrusion and cracked or broken pipe segments which would prevent your lateral from passing the verification test.
- Note: A copy of the CCTV inspection is not sufficient proof for obtaining a Letter of Compliance. Certificate of Compliance is only granted after passing a verification test.
- If necessary, have your sewer lateral repaired or replaced. If full replacement is needed, you may qualify for financial assistance.
- Schedule an inspection with RVSD. Your contractor will set up and administer the pressure test per the provided guidelines. RVSD staff will witness the test and confirm that your sewer lateral is free of leaks.
- If your lateral does not pass the pressure test, additional work will be required. The pressure test must be rescheduled with RVSD after any additional work is complete.
- If your lateral is free of leaks, a Certificate of Compliance will be sent to you shortly thereafter.
While the Ordinance does not specifically create new fees, the District does have fees associated with issuing permits for lateral repairs, replacements and inspections. These fees will apply (as appropriate) to any work needed to bring the private sewer lateral into compliance with the Ordinance.