Avalon Rooter

All About Sewer Compliance In The East Bay

September 15, 2022
Sewer Services

Everything You Need To Know About Sewer
Compliance In The East Bay

Learn The Facts Before You Buy A Home, Sell Your Home, Or
Upgrade Your Water Meter.

In the East Bay, if you are buying or selling a home, upgrading your water meter size, or remodeling, there is an ordinance in certain cities that requires you to have a specialist perform a pressure test on your sewer lateral in order to obtain a Compliance Certificate.

There are two different ways that you can obtain a Sewer Compliance Certificate for your home. You may either successfully complete a pressure test on the sewer lateral, or you can replace your sewer line in full. However, in both situations you will still need to perform a pressure test on the sewer lateral to obtain a compliance certificate for your home.

Why would you want to replace the sewer if you can just perform a pressure test you ask?

The reason is because your existing sewer lateral may not be able to hold the required pressure as is. That’s, we always suggest performing a Video Camera Inspection of your Sewer lateral prior to making that decision.

There are a few things that we will look for to help us to make a recommendation for the homeowner.

The 4 main items we look for while performing the camera inspection are:

  • Broken pipes
  • Roots in the sewer
  • Off sets (disjointed pipes)
  • Clay pipe material (too old and fragile)

If we find any of these issues, we have to perform a further investigation to determine if a full replacement is necessary. We will look at both the upper lateral (house to sidewalk) and the lower lateral (sidewalk to street) to check the condition.

If we find that the entire lateral is clay, has broken pipes, offsets, or roots, we will recommend a full replacement of the sewer lateral in order to gain compliance.

If there are no apparent issues, and it is made of a more durable material like cast iron or plastic, we will recommend a pressure test on the sewer lateral. I say attempt because there is no guarantee that the existing sewer lateral will pass the required pressure test as is. It may need additional work up to and including full replacement of the sewer line before it can gain compliance.

If the sewer lateral is made of HDPE or High-Density Polyethylene (what we use), that typically indicates that the sewer lateral is very likely to hold the required pressure and will pass the test. That said, even then, there is no guarantee.

That’s why we always perform a pressure test on our replaced sewer laterals, so that when we put our 10-year warranty on the pipe, we know that you won’t have any issues for a long time.

If we find that the sewer lateral is clay, we will suggest replacing the sewer in full. The reason that we know that clay sewers will not hold the required pressure, is due to how clay material used to be connected at their joints.

With clay sewer lines, every 2 feet or so there is a joint. Over time, especially out here in California (earthquake territory), the pipes will shift at those joints causing the connection to fail. These points are where we will often find root intrusions or offsets.

We will then recommend a full sewer lateral replacement in order to guarantee that the pressure test will hold, rather than waste your money or time.

After the sewer has been replaced, we will then perform a pressure test on the new HDPE sewer pipe to be witnessed by EBMUD who will then issue the compliance certificate to the parcel which will allow you to close on your home, upgrade your water meter size, or gain a final signature from the inspector on your permit to remodel your home.

There are many cities throughout the east and north bay that require a compliance certificate, though here we speak only to those that are covered by EBMUD. The following are the cities that are required to have a sewer lateral compliance certificate from EBMUD: Oakland CA, Piedmont CA, Alameda CA, Albany CA, Emeryville CA, Kensington CA, El Cerrito CA, and Richmond Annex CA.

**Berkeley, Hercules, San Pablo, Castro Valley, West County Waste Water District, Richmond, Point Richmond, and El Sobrante all have their own requirements though generally they are similar to what has been explained above.

All in all, what this means for you as a homeowner or soon to be homeowner is that you should make sure that your realtor has experience in the East Bay Area and is familiar with sewer compliance.

What To Expect When Avalon Rooter & Plumbing Inspects Your Sewer

Photo Of Notepad And Plumbing Tools On A Table

Generally when we receive a request to perform a sewer camera inspection, you will begin by having us come out to the property and we will look for an exterior clean out. Once we find one, we will then perform the video inspection.

We then take the video back to the office and write up a full report of our findings. Next, we will write up an estimate for any work that will be necessary to gain compliance (test, sewer spot repair and test, or full replacement) and email it to you along with a link for the video inspection so that you can view our findings for yourself.

Once you are ready to move forward, we take care of obtaining the permits, purchasing the materials and equipment, installing the sewer, backfilling, and replacing the concrete and asphalt where needed.

You get to sit back and relax, while our professional crew gets to work! We will try our best to make the grounds look like we were never there. Once we are finished, we collect payment and provide you with the compliance certificate issued by EBMUD, along with the invoice showing “paid in full” for your records AND our 10-year warranty.

Getting A Time Extension From The EBMUD

Analog Stopwatch Close Up.

If you have paid the $4,500.00 deposit to EBMUD for a Time Extension from them, you will receive that check issued back to whomever paid it within 30 days generally. What is a Time Extension you ask? Well, a time extension with EBMUD will allow you to close on your home, remodel your home, or upgrade your water meter size and wait to get the compliance certificate for up to 6 months from the date of closing.

This allows for buyers to not have to worry about moving and all of the other items that goes along with moving to delay a bit, though don’t let the time run too far out as there are busy seasons where we cannot get to your work for almost a month which would spell trouble for your $4,500.00 deposit. We generally recommend that our clients schedule as far in advance as they can with us so that we can ensure that we will have the compliance certificate prior to the time extension expiration date.

If you would like to read more on what EBMUD has to say on the subject, please read below or visit their website. Thank you for choosing Avalon Rooter & Plumbing to be your knight in shining armor.

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