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City of Richmond Private Sewer Lateral Ordinance

There have been a lot of questions about the applicability, processes and procedures for Richmondís new sewer lateral regulations. There have also been some complaints that Richmond is more stringent than other jurisdictions or that the new requirements are simply too burdensome and expensive for many people to deal with.

To help understand the regulations, Steven Friday, Sr. Industrial Waste Inspector, has prepared the attached checklist. I hope it proves to be helpful.

Regarding the complaints, the short answer is that these regulations have been adopted to comply with the Clean Water Act, which is federal legislation, enforced locally by the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, San Francisco Bay Region.

Richmond, like some other jurisdictions, has been negligent in adopting practices and making infrastructure improvements to comply with the Clean Water Act. It was a lawsuit recently settled with Baykeeper that finally gave Richmond the necessary motivation to obey the law. One of the results is the new Sewer Lateral Ordinance.

On a related issue, if you have a sewer blockage or backup, don't call a plumber first; call Veolia Water 510-412-2001. They can determine if the problem is backing up in a main line or your home lateral, and they do that for free. If it is your lateral, then you are responsible for clearing it or repairing it. Contact a licensed plumbing contractor.  

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