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City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Adadu Yemane , Public Works Department, (510) 981-6423

Affects Sellers and Remodelers

Berkeley, California (Thursday, August 31, 2006) -  Effective October 1, 2006, a new City of Berkeley law will require all property owners who plan to sell or remodel their homes to prove that their private sewer lines are in good shape and not adding to polluted waters.
Under federal order the City has to reduce the amount of water that flows into the sanitary sewer system.  Half of the water that enters the sewers during wet weather comes from deficient private sewer laterals (property owners’ responsibility) and from downspouts and yard area drains.  This program will help protect the water quality of creeks, watersheds and the Bay.

Property owners will be required to inspect and, if necessary, repair or replace any private sewer lateral prior to sale of a property, or before obtaining a permit for a major remodeling project that costs more than $100,000 or costs $50,000 and involves more than two plumbing fixtures.  Shower, combination bath and shower, bathtub, dishwasher, flood drain, lavatory and sink—these are the most common plumbing fixtures.

 The following regulations apply to property sales as well as remodeling projects:


If you can prove that your sewer lateral is less than 20 years old, or that repair has been done in the last 10 years, the City will issue a Sewer Lateral Certificate of compliance at no charge.  As proof, you may submit to the City’s Finance Customer Service Center at 1947 Center Street, 1st Floor, any one of the following:

Evidence that the sewer lateral is less than 20 years of age; or

A copy of a plumbing permit for repair or replacement work done within the last 10 years; or 

A California State licensed contractor’s receipt of work completed showing that the sewer lateral is less than 20 years old or has been repaired within the last 10 years. 


If you cannot meet any of the above requirements, you must have your sewer lateral inspected by closed circuit television (CCTV) conducted by a California State licensed plumbing contractor or sanitary sewer contractor. The CCTV videotape, along with the Sewer Lateral Certificate fee of $150, must be turned in to the Finance Customer Service Center at 1947 Center Street, First Floor, for review by the Public Works Department. The Public Works Department will review the videotape to determine if the lateral is in good condition or if you will have to repair or replace it. To close the sale of a property, or to get a final sign-off on a building permit for major remodeling projects, you must show you are in compliance.


If you are selling your property and do not comply with this new law, you will not be able to close escrow.  If you are applying for a building permit for a major remodeling project, you will have to provide a Sewer Lateral Certificate or apply for one concurrently with your permit application.


For more information, go to www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/pw or call (510) 981-6423.



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