Sewer Lateral Ordinance

Protecting Mill Valley

Looking to protect the long-term integrity and safety of the sewer system in the City of Mill Valley, the Mill Valley City Council adopted an ordinance at its March 2, 2015 meeting amending Section 17.04.270 of the Mill Valley Municipal Code and requiring  inspection of private sewer laterals, in four instances.

When is an inspection required?

  • When a property owner submits a building permit application for improvements valued at $50,000 or more over a three-year period. The City currently requires a sewer lateral inspection when a property owner submits a permit application that involves new plumbing – a new sink or toilet, for example.
  • When a property is sold
  • When a sewage overflow, malfunction or another public health threat occurs at a property as determined by the City Engineer.
  • When the City is paving the road above a resident’s sewer lateral.

Protecting Sewer System

  • The ordinance has two critical goals:
  • To improve efficiency and operational integrity of the sewer collection system and the wastewater treatment plan.
  • To enhance environmental quality and specifically preserve the quality of our creeks and Bay.

Who is Affected?

The Sewerage Agency of Southern Marin (SASM) board approved a model ordinance earlier this year and encouraged its member agencies to adopt it. The six member agencies include the City of Mill Valley and the Alto, Almonte, Homestead Valley and Richardson Bay sanitary districts. If you own a property in any of those areas, a sewer lateral ordinance applies to you.

Effective Dates

All requirements of the Ordinance went into effect in the City of Mill Valley as of June 2, 2015.

Triggers for Compliance

The testing requirement in the Sewer Lateral Ordinance applies only if you are buying or selling a property or remodeling in excess of $50,000.

Sewer Lateral Exemptions from the Ordinance Triggers

Your Sewer Lateral is exempt if you provide proof that the line was originally installed or fully replaced within the last 20 years or that it has been repaired within the last three years.

Complying with the Sewer Lateral Ordinance

To comply with the Ordinance provide a Lateral Inspection Report that demonstrate that the Sewer Lateral located on the property is  without leaks and has proper connection.

Generally, to comply with the sewer lateral ordinance the following steps will be taken:

  • Hire a licensed plumbing contractor to inspect your Sewer Lateral with a closed-circuit television (CCTV) and prepare a Lateral Inspection Report which identifies offset joints, root intrusion, downspouts or outdoor drain connections and cracked or broken pipe segments which would prevent your PSL from passing the verification test.
  • Submit the Sewer Lateral Inspection Report, a DVD or flash drive containing the video of the sewer lateral, and payment of $140.00 to the Department of Public Works.

Sewer Lateral Program Fees

The Sewer Lateral Inspection fee is $140. There may be other fees associated with the work involved in bringing  the Sewer Lateral into compliance with the Ordinance.

Sewer Laterals: Helpful Documents

Sewer Lateral Inspection Form

Cash for Sewers Program