California Association of Sanitation Agencies
The sewer lateral is the pipe that connects a home's plumbing system into the public sanitary sewer main. These pipes carry sanitary sewage and/or industrial waste from a building to a public sewer. The lateral is considered the "private" segment when it is located on private property and serves the purposes of an individual, privately owned building.
Except in rare circumstances, property owners are responsible for the maintenance, repair and replacement of their lateral. The local publicly owned treatment works (POTW) is responsible for the mainline sewer in the street.
It is imperative that property owners maintain their sewer lateral protecting the environment and public health. Please consider the items you pour down the drain or flush down your toilet. Take a proactive approach in cleaning out your sewer lateral.
The main components that clog sewer laterals are tree brush roots that wrap around the sewer line, disposable items, and fats, oils, and grease (FOG). Items to be “think twice” about before disposing:
- Baby wipes and diapers
- Feminine hygiene items (including tampons and pads)
- Paper towels
- Dental floss
- Disposable cleaning towels
- Foods not meant for the garbage disposal such as chicken bones, corn cobs and egg
- Cooking grease