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What You Need to Know About the Local Sewer Lateral Ordinance in Monterey, CA



Maintaining and upgrading sewer systems is crucial for the well-being of any community, ensuring proper sanitation and environmental protection. In the city of Monterey, homeowners need to be aware of sewer lateral laws that govern property transactions and remodeling projects.

The city's municipal code mandates that property owners are responsible for the maintenance and repair of their sewer laterals, which connect individual properties to the main sewer lines. Before selling a home or undertaking significant remodeling ($50,000 or more), property owners must ensure that their sewer lateral complies with city standards.


The process involves obtaining a sewer lateral inspection from a licensed plumber or contractor approved by the city. The inspection assesses the condition of the lateral to identify any leaks, blockages, or structural issues via video camera. If the lateral passes inspection, the homeowner can proceed with the property transaction or remodeling project. However, if issues are identified, the necessary repairs or replacements must be made to bring the lateral into compliance.  


  • Overflow and backflow valves devices must be installed on all repaired or replaced laterals.

  • All repair or replacement work should be completed within 60 days of notification by the city that such repair or replacement is required.

  • With approval from the city and before the time of sale or transfer, the transferor and transferee may mutually agree to shift responsibility for compliance to the transferee. The transferee should complete the inspection and meet the City’s standards within 90 calendar days from the date of the sale or other transfer.


Many of our sewer lateral pipes are old and may date back over 100 years so updating and ensuring that the sewer lines are functional and free of debris is important to all homeowners. Cost to replace or repair will vary depending on the location of the line, the length of the run and complexity of the lot. Sellers may be able to work with their plumber to pay the repair/replacement invoice at the close of escrow and there may be a loan program for low income households. Monterey is not the only Peninsula city with sewer lateral compliance so make sure to check before proceeding with any major renovation or transfer of property.


Source: City of Monterey website


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