Pinole's Sanitary Sewer Lateral 

Sanitary Sewer Lateral 

The Pinole City Council adopted a Sewer Lateral Ordinance on November 20, 2012.

Any property being sold that has not received an offer is required to comply with the City's Sanitary Sewer Lateral Ordinance as of February 1, 2013.


In 2008, the City of Pinole commissioned a Sewer Master Plan Study. The study revealed that the City had a large Inflow and Infiltration problem both with private sewer laterals as well as public collection lines. Wet weather flow during rainfall events enters the sewer system through old, cracked pipes and can exceed the capacity of the Pinole-Hercules Wastewater Pollution Control Plant.


Based on the 2008 findings, the City's National Pollution Discharge Elimination System ("NPDES") permit, which is administered by the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Board, requires that the City adopt such an Ordinance by February 1, 2013 to reduce inflow and infiltration.

The City has been working to reduce the inflow and infiltration issues under the city's control thus reducing possible overflow issues to community streets, local creeks and waterways. Thousands of dollars have been spent to date to address these issues through repairs to leaky manholes and lining of main sewer collections lines. These projects have assisted to reduce a small portion of inflow and infiltration.

As a large portion of inflow and infiltration occurs through private sewer laterals, the City has adopted a Private Sewer Lateral Ordinances that require property owners to repair or replace damaged private sewer laterals that connect buildings to the main sewer collection line.


A Private Sewer Lateral Ordinance was adopted by the City of Pinole on November 20, 2012. The purpose of City of Pinole's ordinance (Sanitary Sewer Lateral Ordinance ) is (a) to provide for operation and maintenance of the City's sewer system in a reliable and serviceable condition; (b) to eliminate or minimize sanitary sewer overflows by eliminating or minimizing stoppages and reducing sources of inflow and infiltration into the City's sewer system; (c) to comply with applicable legal requirements pertaining to the City's sewer system; (d) to protect the public health and safety by establishing and providing a mechanism for enforcing performance standards for private sewer laterals that connect or are connected to a Public Sewer main; and (e) to comply with the goal of the City's Sewer System Management Plan which was adopted at the request of the State Water Resource Control Board, and to maintain all parts of the sewer system and reduce and prevent sanitary sewer overflows.

The City of Pinole's Municipal Code 13.20 states that the property owner is responsible for the inspection and if necessary, repairs to the sewer lateral when the property is transferred (prior to close of escrow). However, during the sale of a property it is not uncommon for the buyer and seller to negotiate who will assume the responsibility for the inspection and repair. The inspection is to be conducted by a state licensed contractor hired by the responsible party. For a list of qualified contractors click here "qualified contractors."

The list of qualified contractors is attached for the public's benefit. The City will not recommend any contractors.



The Building Sewer Lateral is that part of a drainage system which extends from the end of the building drain and conveys discharge to a public sewer or other point of disposal. The building sewer lateral shall terminate at the wye or other manufactured connection to the public sewer.

The maintenance and repair of the entire private sewer lateral is the responsibility of the property owner. Properties meeting certain conditions are required to obtain a Compliance Certificate as proof that their private sewer lateral has passed a verification test and does not leak.


The Pinole Sewer Lateral Administrative Guidelines were developed to explain the program and outline the process necessary for complying with the Ordinance requirements. The guideline topics include; when inspections are required, exceptions, inspection procedures, inspections for remodels, and common interest developments, enforcement and penalty for non-compliance, coordinating sewer later repairs with City improvement projects, and temporary deferrals for installation of sewer laterals.

The City of Pinole's Sewer Lateral Administrative Guidelines are posted below.


The Pinole Municipal Code requires property owners to clean and/or test private sewer laterals every ten years, and upon certain qualifying events.

Private sewer laterals must be cleaned and/or inspected primarily in response to the transfer of property (prior to the close of escrow). However, there are other factors which may also trigger inspection of the sewer laterals.

  • The application for a certificate of occupancy for a new building.
  • The installation of additional plumbing facilities based on the number of fixtures, which (in the City's judgment) produce a major increase in sewage flow from the building.
  • A change in the use of the building (for example, from residential to commercial or vice versa).
  • Within 180 days of the transfer of a building in a probate or testamentary proceeding.
  • A Notice of Required Inspection by the City of Pinole.


A. Upon any triggering event listed above, the property owner shall:

  1. Hire a licensed contractor qualified to provide video inspections, to perform a video inspection of the sewer lateral. Contractor must have both a City of Pinole Business License and a State of California Contractor's License (required State Contractors License - A-General engineering contractor, C-36 Plumbing contractor, C-34 Pipeline contractor, or C-42 Sanitary system contractor).
  2. Property owner must notify the City, at least seven days prior to the inspection, with the time and date of inspection.
  3. A sewer lateral must be cleaned prior to inspection.
  4. Complete a Sewer Lateral Video Review application accompanied by the video recording of the Building Sewer Lateral to the Department of Public Works for review along with the designated fee. At the beginning of such video, the contractor shall state the address of the property and take a photograph of the home. Property Owner shall submit application to the Department of Public Works with the video.
  5. The video is valid for a period of six months from the date of the inspection.

B. If it is determined that the sewer lateral is in need of repair or replacement, the process is as follows:

  1. The City will send the property owner a Notice to Repair (no later than 30 days of receipt of the video and review fee). The City's database will be updated to indicate repair work is needed for such property.
  2. The Notice to Repair will indicate the remediation which may include repair and/or replacement of lateral, and/or installation of a clean-out or a backflow retention device. The Property Owner must complete the work prior to the issuance of a Certificate of Compliance, or a Certificate or Occupancy.
  3. Upon completion of the repairs, the property owner must complete the inspection process again and submit a new video to the Department of Public Works. If the sewer lateral complies with the requirements of Chapter 13.20, the property owner will receive approval from the Public Works inspector in the form of a Certificate of Compliance.

It is recommended that one review the City's Sewer Lateral Ordinance and Administrative Guidelines to obtain a comprehensive overview of the Sewer Lateral process.


Below is a list of helpful forms / handouts.  As the City of Pinole has transitioned to electronic submittals, all applications / forms can be downloaded, completed and submitted to the City via email to 

Sewer Lateral Ordinance
Sewer Lateral Administrative Guidelines
Frequently Asked Questions
Application for Sewer Lateral Video Review
List of Contractors
Encroachment Permit Application
Credit Card Authorization Form for Fees