How many homeowners have the faintest idea about what shape their sewer lateral pipes are in?

Tom Brezsny
- Tom Brezsny

How many homeowners have the faintest idea about what shape their sewer lateral pipes are in?

Time for a quick show of hands… how manyhomeowners have the faintest idea about whatshape their sewer lateral pipes are in? If youdidn’t raise your hand, pay attention and read on…this is info that could have an impact onyour largest asset.

I know. Sewer laterals aren’t exactly the kind of warm and fuzzy topic you look forward to reading about over a cup of coffee on a Saturday morning. It’s a dirty job but someone’s got to do it. Might as well be me since the subject of sewer laterals has been on my mind lately.

All that infrastructure that underlies our neighborhoods is usually out of sight and out of mind for most of us. We flip a switch, turn on a faucet or flush a toilet and typically we don’t give much thought to what happens next as long as the lights come on and we get to wash our clothes and hopefully have toilets that are clean enough for our dogs to drink out of.

Rural homeowners have a heightened sense that there’s more to it all than that. It comes with the turf, as they say, when they have individual wells and septic and propane tanks and may have need of a gas-powered generator a dozen times a year when the power goes out.

But times are changing for homeowners living on the urban service line. And some of those changes are going to take people by surprise when they decide to sell their homes. The County has enacted a new sewer lateral ordinance that includes more aggressive enforcement of older regulations that are already on the books.

Here’s a quick rundown:

Everyone has to have a Sewer Lateral Video inspection at their own expense prior to selling their home.

The video has to be shot in certain ways by certain approved plumbing contractors.

Videos are submitted to the County for review to decide whether each sewer lateral is functioning properly

It there are breaks, offsets, roots, holes, bad connections, etc., they will prescribe necessary fixes.

Houses can’t close escrow until repairs are completed. And in most instances plumbers cannot be paid out of escrow.

So let’s stop there and let that information slosh through the laterals of your brain. Next week we’ll explore ways the new ordinance could affect the outcome of your next home sale. Meanwhile, email me for a homeowner’s info packet on sewer laterals.

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