South San Francisco to require sewer line work earlier than residence sale | Native Information

South San Francisco home owners will now need to bring their sewer lateral lines up to code before selling their homes, following a City Council vote establishing the new rule.

Sewer laterals are the pipes that connect toilets and drains from private properties to the city’s main sewer lines. The city estimated more than a third of houses in the city had such pipes that were at risk of failure and would likely be affected.

Mark Addiego

“These provisions help to ensure that the new property owner is not stuck with an unanticipated costly repair,” said Public Works Director Eunejune Kim. “We estimate that 35% of residents have orangeburg sewer laterals in our city, and those are the ones that have that material that is basically paper and tar that are beyond their useful life.”

Kim said the city had worked with the San Mateo County Association of Realtors to draft the ordinance such that it “exports expedient real estate transactions while protecting our environment and our community.”

The rule puts the city in compliance with a regional water board requirement for cities that discharge into the San Francisco Bay, according to City Manager Mike Futrell.

Council member Mark Addiego estimated replacing the pipe can cost upwards of $15,000. He requested the city also look at ways to connect multiple nearby property owners who need the pipes replaced as a means of reducing individual costs as well as mitigating disruptions to road paving. He pointed out the task usually entails tearing up a portion of the street.

“I have always thought this was the least we could do at the point of sale,” he said. “We probably know from permits where these are failing, and anything that was built in the ’50s and ’60s and expected to last 50 years is decades beyond that currently.”

Kim said most homes that have undergone major renovations or rebuilds have been brought up to code, but “those homes that haven’t done any major triggering events, a lot of them haven’t been inspected for a very long time. This is hoping to capture those that are going through the sale process.”

San Mateo, San Bruno, Millbrae and Burlingame are among other cities in the county that have passed similar ordinances in recent years. Some cities have rebate programs to help offset costs.

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