Private Sewer Lateral
Property owners must verify that their Private Sewer Lateral meets City standards before selling their building, performing major renovations, or if otherwise required by the City.
Private Sewer Lateral (PSL) is the section of sewer line that connects individual properties to the central sewer line. The PSL typically runs from the sidewalk curb to the building. Many of Berkeley’s PSLs are old and degraded, which causes environmental pollution during wet weather, when rainwater flows into the pipes and overwhelms the City’s sewer treatment system.
In order to reduce environmental damage from broken PSLs, property owners are required to obtain a Sewer Lateral Certificate of Compliance in the following situations:
- Before close of escrow for transferring or selling your property
- Before obtaining a building permit for major construction projects such as remodels
- When the City finds that the PSL may be a public nuisance
- When you choose to repair or replace your PSL
These requirements apply to all buildings, including condominiums and other developments with shared laterals.
Obtaining a Sewer Lateral Certificate
To obtain a Sewer Lateral Certificate, you will need to hire a contractor to apply for a PSL permit, inspect your PSL, perform any necessary fixes, and schedule a verification test with a City inspector. Please review the fact sheet and compliance guide for more details.
If the PSL on your property was replaced within the last 20 years, you can obtain a Sewer Lateral Certificate by filling out a Private Sewer Lateral Certificate Application and attaching documentation that the lateral has been newly constructed or replaced within 20 years of the date of application.
In most cases, all repair work must be completed and a Sewer Lateral Certificate (SLC) obtained before the transfer of title or before issuance of a building permit. However, the City may grant an extension in some cases.
Extensions for property transfers
Property owners should obtain a Sewer Lateral Certificate before listing their property for sale. However, the City may be able to grant a six-month extension in certain cases.
To request an extension, select one of the two options below:
- Submit the Sewer Lateral Extension Deposit Form, deposit of $4,500 and the Agreement for Time Extension to Obtain a Sewer Lateral Certificate at the Finance Customer Service Center; OR
- Prepare a signed contract with a licensed plumbing contractor to have verification testing and/or repair or replacement within 6 months of the close of escrow, and submit with a completed Agreement for Time Extension to Obtain a Sewer Lateral Certificate.
The Public Works Department will review your request for extension to determine if the work is urgent or whether a 6-month extension is appropriate.
If the work is not completed within 6 months of the close of escrow, the funds will be forfeited and transferred to the City. The City will complete the lateral repair or replacement and testing, and any costs greater than the amount of the forfeited funds will be billed to the current property owner or become a lien on the property.
To obtain a refund after the SLC is obtained, submit a copy of the SLC with a Claim for Refund of Money Paid to Finance Revenue Collection, 1947 Center Street, 1st Floor, Berkeley, CA 94704.
Extensions for remodels
In certain situations where repair, replacement, or verification testing of the PSL would not be possible prior to building construction and/or where replacement of the PSL is part of the building construction, you may apply for an exception to the requirement that the SLC be obtained prior to issuance of the building permit. Submit an Exception – Extension of Time for Sewer Lateral Construction Application and, if the extension is approved, you must record a Notice of Limitation. The building permit will be issued; however, the building permit will not be finalized and the Certificate of Occupancy will not be issued until the SLC is obtained.
Loans for low-income property owners
Low-income property owners may be able to get support from the City to pay for repairs to private sewer lateral. The loans are only available in cases where the City has found your PSL to be a public nuisance. The loans are not available in cases where you are transferring or selling your property, or performing major renovations.
To apply for an interest-free loan for PSL repairs, first confirm your household meets the eligibility guidelines outlined in the PSL Loan Program Summary. Then, prepare all required documentation. For support, call (510) 981-6423 or email PSLProgram@CityofBerkeley.info.