• Email
  • Print

For Property Owners

Property Owner Responsibilities

  • Property owners are responsible for the sewer pipe, called a lateral, which runs from the home or building to the sewer main which is typically located in the street. The city is accountable for the sewer once the sewage leaves the lateral and enters the main.
  • Property owners’ responsibilities include maintenance and repair of the lateral, overflow cleanup and damages. The city may have to step in and take corrective action should a sewage overflow occur from a lateral. The property owner may be responsible for costs incurred by the city.

Please send your comments on how the city is operating and maintaining the sewer system to wastewater@carlsbadca.gov or call 760-438-2722.

Pipe Maintenance

To avoid costly repairs and to protect public health and the environment, sewer laterals should be cleaned regularly. Ideally, a lateral should be professionally cleaned once a year to remove built up debris. Inspections using a small camera should be conducted by a professional every three to five years to ensure pipe integrity. Check more often if you experience a sewage-like odor or frequent clogged drains.

Access to the lateral pipe is important for cleaning, maintenance and troubleshooting. A cleanout is an access point into the sewer lateral that is used to inspect the line and clear it of any obstruction. Cleanouts are usually located within three to five feet of a business or home and they look like the end of a pipe with a cap on it. A plumber can determine a cleanout’s location, its condition and make repairs. The cleanout cap must be on tight at all times except when servicing the lateral. Removing the cleanout cap to relieve a sewer back-up will cause a sewer spill and is a health violation. Having a missing or damaged cleanout cap is illegal.

Sewer Lateral Grant Program

The city will assist property owners, via grants, toward replacement or rehabilitation of their private sewer lateral from the building to the sewer main in an effort to lower the number of sewer spills associated with faulty sewer pipelines. The sewer lateral is a pipeline that runs from the building to the sewer main which is generally located in the middle of the street. This assistance is in the form of a grant program that will reimburse the property owner for up to $3,000 of the expenses spent on these repairs. The property owner is required to fill out the sewer lateral grant program forms.

The Sewer Lateral Grant Program will operate on a first come, first served basis. In the event there are several applications submitted at one time, there will be a triage survey done to decide a prioritization. The highest priority will be given to locations that have had overflows/spills. This program is offered to sewer customers within the Carlsbad Wastewater service area which includes a majority of the City of Carlsbad.

For more information about this program, please email wastewater@carlsbadca.gov or call 760-438-2722.

Common Questions