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Sewer Lateral Inspection

Sewer Lateral Inspections in Ventura

Since 1996, Gallegos Plumbing has served Ventura and surrounding areas with full-service plumbing solutions. Our certified and insured staff of trustworthy plumbing professionals specialize in clearing drainage systems, replacing pipes, repairing water and gas lines, as well as conducting comprehensive sewer lateral inspections.

City Of Ventura Sewer Compliance

Did you know that as of February 3, 2014, the City of Ventura requires sewer lateral inspections for newly closed property purchases? The local ordinance is a direct result from a lawsuit that held the City of Ventura accountable for a sewage overflow, thus aiming to prevent disruptions when it comes to the operation of the public sewer. These newly required inspections help residents and property owners identify any issues in their sewer lateral line, which connects a business or home’s plumbing system to the city’s main sewage system. Keep in mind that the property owner is responsible for the entire pipe length–not just the portion underneath their property. Although the City of Ventura is responsible for maintenance on all main pipelines, the sewer lateral line must be maintained by the property owner according to the law.

If you’re a local Ventura or Santa Barbara real estate agent or a potential seller, it is highly essential to have a licensed plumber inspect your property’s sewer lateral line prior to the opening of escrow. This will ensure you that you have plenty of time to complete the inspection and required paperwork. After the inspections, sellers are required to submit the Private Sewer Lateral Inspection Report to the City of Ventura’s Building and Safety Division prior to closing a sale. In the event that a sewer lateral line needs repair, the buyer and seller must reach an agreement that outlines who is responsible for financing and fixing it. Generally, any repairs will need to be made within 6 months of the sewer lateral inspection.

The Ojai Valley Sanitation District

Similarly, as of December 1st, 2015 the Ojai Valley Sanitation District (OVSD) requires that any newly purchased home or property that enters its period of escrow must undergo a sewer lateral inspection. Although the OVSD remains responsible for the main sewer line, it is the homeowner’s duty to maintain and repair the lateral line that connects from their property to the main street.

If you’re in need of a sewer lateral inspection for your residential or commercial property in Ventura County and surrounding areas, call (805) 243-2622.

What Is Wrong With My Private Sewer Lateral?

The condition of your private sewer lateral will ultimately determine where your home’s wastewater travels, as well as whether or not ground water and/or rain runoff will enter the pipe. Pipe failure usually comes in the form of breaks or blockages that cause low water pressure or clogs.

Some of the main causes of sewer lateral failure include but aren’t limited to:

  • Natural erosion from wastewater
  • Pipe corrosion, calcification, and/or scale build-up
  • Shifting soil
  • Tree root intrusion

All homeowners and property owner must keep in mind that when a sewer lateral line ages, it becomes more vulnerable to breakage and other damages. Also, the average lifetime of a private sewer lateral depends on the material used to construct the pipe. Although clay pipes are the most common, the old-style hub and spigot joints fail after a certain amount of time, causing the pipeline to break. These days, the most widely used material for pipes and sewer lines is a high-density polyethylene (HDPE), since it is a more durable, cost-effective solution that is faster to repair, and 100+ years of useful life.

Common problems caused by a broken private sewer lateral include:

  • Sewer back-ups
  • Local soil and creek contamination caused by leaks and/or spills
  • Excessive wastewater polluting local bodies of water
  • An overflow of raw sewage caused by water intrusion and root growth

Sewer Lateral Inspections & First-Time Homebuyers

Not many first-time homebuyers consider sewer lateral inspections. Although it’s widely known that homebuyers are expected to complete an inspection before purchasing their property, sewer lines are often overlooked. However, avoiding a sewer lateral inspection can pose more costly damages (and even structural damage) down the road.

If you can’t remember the last time your sewer line has been inspected, it’s time to contact your local plumbing contractors today!

Make Sure Your Private Sewer Lateral Is Environmentally Safe!

There are serious environmental risks that come along with broken private sewer laterals. Exfiltration failures allow wastewater to flow out of pipes and into the ground where it can contaminate drinking water supplies. However, inflow and infiltration failures tend to be more common. This occurs when rainwater and/or groundwater make it inside your pipe and plumbing system.

In fact, property owners experience this problem so commonly that any excess water can overwhelm a community’s sewer treatment system, which causes overflows and back-ups that force untreated sewage into yards, streets, or nearby bodies of water (such as the Santa Clara River and/or Ventura River).

Sewer Lateral Inspection Key Facts

  • If your home or building is older than 20 years old, a sewer lateral inspection will determine if your lines are faulty and require replacement. Even if a sewer line is fairly new compared to homes built before 1950, tree roots can still intrude your lines.
  • Did you know that roots crawl into tiny openings and expand in your sewer line? They then latch on to other debris, such as grease, eggshells, or other food waste, which typically cause clogs or back-ups. Also, chemicals can sometimes a tree’s roots, which damage your pipes in the process.
  • Some homes constructed before main sewer lines still rely on cesspools. Surprisingly, some cesspools have been left intact and connected to the sewer line–even after cities installed public septic systems. A sewer lateral inspection will be able to determine if your property’s sewer lines are still connected to a cesspool.
  • With homes built in the 1950s, many sewer lines were made from tar paper. These are typically referred to as Orangeburg pipes, and they tend to disintegrate and collapse over time. If a home is 60 years or older, your sewer lines will undoubtedly need to be replaced if they haven’t already.
  • Before your sewer lateral inspection, be sure to ask your plumbing contractor about the type of material your current sewer lines are made from. Depending on when your house was built, sewer lines can be constructed from different materials, including Orangeburg, clay, and cast iron.

Sewer Lateral Inspection in Ventura County

If you’re a property owner in Ventura or surrounding areas, odds are you will have to seek out a sewer lateral inspection at some point. At Gallegos Plumbing, you can rest assured that we make the process as efficient and cost-effective as possible for all of our clients. Here is the formula our plumbing technicians follow in order to deliver the best sewer lateral inspections in all of Ventura and Santa Barbara County!

  • First things first, the lateral line inspection requires that a $75 permit be pulled for the inspection. When you hire Gallegos Plumbing, our staff pulls the permit as part of the inspection process.
  • During the inspection, an inspector will be present to oversee and ensure compliance of the procedure.
  • One of our certified plumbers will run a digital camera through an accessible clean out and record the footage of the private sewer lateral. The footage, along with the inspection form, will be submitted to the city for review.
  • If there are no defects, the city will issue a Compliance Certificate that lasts 10 years until renewal is required.
  • If there are defects in the sewer lateral line, the city will then issue a Defects Letter, which holds the property owner accountable for repairing it within six months.
  • For any Ventura County property owner to note that in order to properly inspect a sewer lateral line, there must be a “mainline clean-out” from which we can run our camera through.

Do you have any additional questions about our sewer lateral inspections, or would you like to schedule an inspection? Give us a call with any inquiries or requests at (805) 243-2622.

Private Sewer Lateral Inspection FAQ

Before calling your local plumbing contractor to facilitate an official and professional private sewer lateral inspection, it is totally normal to have a lot of questions about the process and its importance. Our team at Gallegos Plumbing has compiled some of the most common questions we answer for our clients throughout Ventura, Santa Barbara, and beyond.

How much does a private sewer lateral inspection cost?

The overall price of a sewer lateral inspection will vary according to the size and scope of properties and their subsequent sewer lateral lines. Keep in mind that Gallegos Plumbing provides special rates for local real estate professionals and financing options are available for all of our clients!

How often should my private sewer lateral line be cleaned?

Typically, sewer lines ought to be serviced every 18 to 22 months, but if your property is experiencing more frequent plumbing issues, they might require more frequent maintenance–or even replacement.

How much does it cost to replace a sewer line?

Although sewer line replacement is more of an expense than an inspection or maintenance, it may be necessary for the safety of your water supply and compliance with the city. For bigger plumbing projects such as this, we offer financing.

What are some signs of a broken sewer line?

A broken sewer line should never be ignored.

Here are some of the tell tale signs that your sewer line is in disrepair:

  • Varying toilet water levels
  • Slow draining
  • Odd smells and sounds coming from water appliances and/or fixtures
  • Wet spots on your lawn
  • Inconsistent grass color
  • Foundation issues
  • Pest problems
  • Indoor/outdoor mold
  • Multiple plumbing issues at once

How do I know if my sewer line is leaking?

More often than not, sewer line leaks can’t be detected without an inspection. That’s why it’s important to contact a plumber as soon as you encounter any irregularities or issues with your plumbing system.


Have questions? We are here to help. Still have questions or can't find the answer you need? Give us a call at 805-243-2622 today!

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