New ordinance will require Oakland property owners to replace leaking sewer pipes


EBMUD Private Sewer Lateral Sewer Compliance Program

EBMUD (PSL) Private Sewer Lateral ordinance

The new EBMUD (PSL) Private Sewer Lateral ordinance mandates that a sewer test must be 

performed on all properties, located in the EBMUD service area, involved in a real estate 

transaction and EBMUD sewer lateral certificate of compliance must be issued in order for the 

escrow to close.

An EBMUD PSL certificate is issued after the property has passed a pressure/water test that is 

viewed and inspected by the local city inspector and EBMUDs field inspector. EBMUD PSL certificates are valid for (7) seven years or (20) twenty years depending on the lateral being tested with no 

repairs versus tested with repairs. The only exceptions are condominiums. Other triggers which 

make an EBMUD PSL certificate necessary are renovations exceeding $100,000 and increasing 

the size of the water meter to a property.

What is a private sewer lateral?


A private sewer lateral (PSL) is the pipe that connects the plumbing in a home or business 

to the sanitary sewer main, usually located in the street. The PSL carries sewage from a 

building to a public sanitary sewer. It is the responsibility of the property owner to maintain 

the sewer lateral.

Old, cracked sewer laterals allow rainwater and groundwater to infiltrate the sewer system. 

Excess water in the system can overwhelm wastewater treatment facilities, causing untreated 

or partially treated sewage to be released into the Bay. Fixing damaged PSLs helps protect the Bay.

PSL Frequently Asked Questions:


How does the Regional Private Sewer Lateral Program protect San Francisco Bay?

By inspecting, testing, and repairing old cracked sewer pipes, we ensure that during storms, 

rainwater does not enter sanitary sewer lines. Too much rainwater can overwhelm the sanitary

 sewer system and the treatment plant, allowing sewage to overflow into the Bay.



What are the problems associated with private sewer laterals (PSLs)?

Most East Bay homes were built before 1950, and many have never had their original PSLs replaced. Over time, these pipelines (generally made of clay) can crack, become disjointed or displaced, 

and can be subjected to intrusion by tree roots, causing leaks and blockages. Rainwater and groundwater can enter the sanitary sewer system through these sewer lateral defects, potentially overloading the treatment system.


Where does this private sewer lateral program apply?

These requirements will affect properties in the EBMUD wastewater service area in Emeryville, Oakland, Piedmont, El Cerrito, Kensington, and the Richmond Annex. The cities of Alameda,

 Albany and Berkeley have local private sewer lateral ordinances already in effect and manage 

their own programs. Check with these cities for their specific PSL requirements.


The PSL on my property has passed its test and a Compliance Certificate has been issued. How long is the Compliance Certificate good for?

If the work done was a complete replacement, the Compliance Certificate is valid for 20 years. 

For certificates obtained without complete replacement (repair or passed test without repair), the certificate is valid for 7 years.


Why does EBMUD require an air or water verification test?

The plumbing industry has determined that an air pressure test or water infiltration test is the 

best way to ensure that the PSL does not allow water from the surrounding soil to infiltrate the 

sanitary sewer system.



Do these requirements apply to commercial, industrial and residential properties?

Yes. If you have a business or home in Emeryville, Oakland, Piedmont, El Cerrito, Kensington or 

the Richmond Annex, the Regional PSL Ordinance applies to your property.


What if I own or manage a property with a large private sewer system like a campus facility or business park?

You will have until July 2016 to develop a Condition Assessment Plan describing how you will 

inspect all of your PSLs. By July 2021, you must complete your assessment and submit a Work Plan

 to the Regional PSL Program which details the condition of your sewer system and your plan to complete needed repairs or replacements.


I own a condominium. How does this apply to me?

Homeowners associations for multi-unit buildings have until July 2021 to comply. Contact your homeowners association for additional details.


Where can I go for more information?

For more information regarding the Regional Private Sewer Lateral Program call 1-866-40-EBMUD or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



Contact Detail

Jaime -Supervisor



Patricia  -Office Manager


Fax (510)568-5378


Business Hours


6:00am - 11:00 pm


6:00 am - 5:30 pm




-->Jaime did a wonderful job. He was very polite and efficient. Thank you for the help.


Shon D.

Oakland CA