Program Overview


A private sewer lateral is the pipe that carries sanitary sewage from a private building to the City mainline.  Property owners are responsible for maintaining their private sewer lateral.  In the City of San Mateo, private sewer laterals are defined as extending from the property structure all the way to and including its connection with the public sewer main.

About the Program

The Private Sewer Lateral Cost Sharing Program was created to assist and encourage property owners to properly maintain their lateral and ultimately reduce the amount of inflow and infiltration (I&I) into the City's sewer system. Sewer laterals in poor condition cause surcharging of public sewers, potentially posing health and environmental risks, and studies have shown that as much as 50% of I&I can be attributed to private laterals due to poor maintenance and lack of repair by residents. 

The cost to repair laterals is expensive and many residents opt to pay for regular cleaning or live with slow drains rather than replace lateral lines that have become susceptible to root intrusion and/or alignment problems.  The high cost of repair discourages and often precludes many homeowners from making the needed improvements; this establishes the need for The Private Sewer Lateral Cost Sharing Program.

The Department of Public Works can help residents with the repair of their private sewer lateral. We make it EASY and AFFORDABLE by GIVING you: 

A FREE Inspection
We save you the hassle of finding your own plumber and about $250 – the average cost of an inspection.

A FREE Assessment
After your inspection, you’ll receive a package in the mail telling you:
  • If you have a defective sewer lateral
  • The defects in your lateral
  • A list of prequalified plumbers with preset pricing

Money for the Repair
  • Grants for all property owners. (Maximums apply.) 
  • NEW! We have secured additional loan funding assistance. Starting August 6, 2012, we are offering low interest loans at a 1.25% interest rate for approved private lateral repairs (maximum of $6,000).

ad all about the Program Guidelines.

Additional Resources
Summary Overview of the Private Sewer Lateral Cost Sharing Program (1 page)

This program, in part, is being performed as settlement of an enforcement action of the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Board.