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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 project 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.

Common Questions