2018 Private Sewer Lateral Ordinance for Sanitary District No. 2 

What are the triggers that require a PSL inspection and test? 

  • When a property owner submits a building permit application for improvements valued at $50,000 or more over a cumulative three-year period, or when the permit improvements involve legalizing or constructing ADU, size change of a water meter or install of fire sprinklers, fixture count change, or District manager request.
  • When a property is sold or has any transfer of property title. Note: There are 2 start times for the 180 days compliance division; 1) Is notice of repair, 2) Is the date of close of escrow which whatever comes first will trigger the 180 days compliance.
  • When a sewage overflow, malfunction or other public health threat occurs at a property as determined by the SD2 staff. 
  • When the sewer main is being improved or the road above a resident’s sewer lateral is being paved as part of a Capital Improvement Project led by the Town of Corte Madera, Sanitary District No. 2 or other government agency. 


The purpose of this ordinance is to provide for the operation and maintenance of Sanitary District No. 2’s (SD2) wastewater conveyance and treatment facilities in a more safe, reliable and serviceable manner.
In 2017, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board ordered SD2 to fix damaged and deficient sanitary sewer pipes. Many pipes are in need of repair to prevent the infiltration of rainwater and groundwater, which can overwhelm the wastewater collection system and treatment plant, leading to sanitary sewer overflows in the community or discharges of partially treated wastewater into the San Francisco Bay. Improperly maintained private sewer laterals also lead to raw sewage spilling into residential areas.  
The SD2 Board adopted the Private Sewer Lateral (PSL) Ordinance No.45 at its June 4, 2018 meeting thus requiring inspection of private sewer laterals when any one of the four (4) specific triggers are met (see below). 

When did the PSL Ordinance become effective? 

The PSL Ordinance went into effect on August 4, 2018.  For complete information on the Private Sewer Lateral Ordinance, please click here to access the PDF of Ordinance No. 45. 

Who is affected? 

The Sanitary District No.2 area covers properties in the Town of Corte Madera, small portions of the surrounding communities of Larkspur and Tiburon and some adjacent unincorporated County land. 

​Generally, to receive a Certificate of Compliance, the following steps will be taken:

  1. Verify with SD2 if the private sewer lateral is exempt (see exemptions section).
  2. For private sewer laterals that are not exempt, applicant to apply for a Sewer Permit and hire a licensed contractor to inspect your private sewer lateral. Commonly this consists of a closed-circuit television (CCTV) inspection and have a PSL Inspection Form completed by a licensed or certified contractor allowing for the contractor and SD2 to visually inspect the condition of your PSL, including instances of offset joints, root intrusion, and cracked or broken pipe segments which would prevent your PSL from passing a pressure test. 
  3. Submit the PSL Inspection Report, including a video inspection of the sewer lateral to the Department of Public Works, who will review and determine whether further action is required to bring the PSL within compliance. At the property owner’s discretion they may forego this review process if they choose to apply for a sewer permit for replacing the entire private sewer lateral.
  4. Apply for a sewer permit for a pressure test or any work on the private sewer lateral. Test is required.
  5. Note: A copy of the CCTV inspection is not sufficient proof for obtaining a multi-year Letter of Compliance. Certificate of Compliance is only granted after passing a pressure test.
  6. If necessary, have your PSL repaired or replaced. If full replacement is needed and you are a low income household financial assistance may be available. Schedule an inspection with SD2 to witness the pressure testing procedures administered by your licensed contractor per the District guidelines. 
  7. If your PSL does not pass a pressure test, additional work will be required and a subsequent pressure test must be scheduled with SD2 which will necessitate another inspection Fee.
  8. If your lateral is free of leaks, a Certificate of Compliance will be sent to you shortly thereafter.

Protecting Our Sewer System

The ordinance has two critical public health and safety goals: 
  • To improve efficiency and operational integrity of the sewer collection system and the wastewater treatment plan.
  • To enhance environmental quality and specifically preserve the quality of our creeks and Bay.

Sewer Lateral Exemptions from the Ordinance Triggers

  • Prior Repair of Sewer Lateral - An owner otherwise required to perform a private sewer lateral inspection under this subsection shall not be required to perform such an inspection if the owner (or the owner's predecessor-in-interest) has repaired his or her property's private sewer lateral and passed a pressure test within the three (3) years prior to the date of the application for a building permit, listing the property for sale, change of title or capital improvement project, unless reasonable cause is made apparent to District staff that the new lateral is compromised (see ordinance for complete language).
  • Proof of Prior Replacement of a Sewer Lateral - Owner shall provide proof of any prior replacement including passing of a pressure test of a private sewer lateral 10 years or less in age and approved by the District Manager in the form of a certificate, a paid bill or any sufficient documentation that ensures such prior replacement (see ordinance for complete language).
  • Shared Sewer Laterals – Portions of shared laterals may apply for a onetime 180-day extension to assist owners with additional time to schedule needed repairs or replacement.
  • Homeowners' Associations (H.O.A.) Managed Laterals – H.O.A’s may apply for a 3-year blanket approval if a lateral or laterals in the condominium complex are inspected at one time, and approved in accordance with this title by the District.

Sewer Lateral Program Fees

Should repair or replacement be required additional permit fees will be applied to obtain compliance with the ordinance. View the fee schedule for Sanitary District No.2.

Questions and Contact Information

Fernanda Stefanick, Associate Civil Engineer
Department of Public Works
Sanitary District No.2
Phone: (415) 927-5057
Email: fstefanick@tcmmail.org 

Forms and Other Helpful Documents

For sewer permits, PSL specifications and other important forms and helpful documents, please click here.