Private Sewer Lateral Ordinance
In 2013, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board (Water Board) ordered the 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.
The Water Board's order compelled RVSD to phase in a Private Sewer Lateral Ordinance (PSL) beginning in June of 2014. Affected property owners must obtain certification from RVSD that their PSLs are leak-free.
Ross Valley Sanitary District'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 for your property demonstrating that all of the private sewer laterals located on the 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 with Ross Valley Sanitary District (RVSD) the exemption status of the property. Has the later been constructed or replaced in the last 20 years and passed final inspection by a District Inspector? Call 415-259-2949 or contact us by email.
- Hire a contractor to inspect your private sewer lateral. Commonly this consists of a closed-circuit television (CCTV) inspection allowing for the contractor and you to visually see the condition of your sewer lateral, including instances of offset joints, root intrusion and cracked or broken pipe segments which would prevent your private sewer 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 private 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. Ross Valley Sanitary District will witness the test and confirm that your private 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.
- If your lateral is free of leaks, a Certificate of Compliance will be sent to you shortly thereafter.
While the Ordinance does create new fees, the District does have fees associated with permitting lateral repairs, replacements, and inspections. Those fees will apply to any work needed to bring the private sewer lateral into compliance with the Ordinance. View the fee schedule.