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FAQ Topic: Sewer Laterals

How can I avoid having sewer lateral problems?

The simple answer is not to put anything down the drain or in the toilet that could cause problems. This includes: fats, oils and grease, medications, wipes and hazardous liquids. Fats, oils and grease clog sewer lines, and medications and hazardous liquids pose challenges for the sewage treatment process. Also, never connect any storm drain … Continued

Are improperly maintained sewer laterals a more severe problem during winter rains?

Yes. During wet weather, stormwater enters through cracks and breaks, allowing massive amounts of stormwater to enter the public sewer system, causing additional spills and overloading the wastewater treatment process. The result increases the threat to public health, requires costly upgrades to the public system, and has, at times, contaminated San Francisco Bay and its … Continued

Why is it important to properly maintain a sewer lateral?

As private laterals age, just as sewer mains do, they can develop leaks, become clogged by fats, oils and grease, and become cracked by roots. This situation leads to sewage spills and overflows, threatening public health and the environment. Defective sewer laterals affect us all.

What is a sewer lateral?

A sewer lateral, or side-sewer, is a privately-owned sewer pipeline connecting private property, such as a home or business, to the publicly-owned main sewer line, typically located in the middle of the street. It is the responsibility of the property owner to maintain and repair the lateral.

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