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For Sanitary Sewer Overflow Emergencies, click on Sewer Overflows and Maintenance

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Sewer Overflows & Maintenance




New Utility Construction


Sewer Laterals & Cleanouts

A sewer lateral is the pipe that carries the wastewater from the house to the sewer main line in the street. Every building receiving sewer service from Redwood City has a sewer lateral. It is divided into the "upper" lateral and "lower" lateral.

The lower lateral is from the property line cleanout to the sewer main and is maintained by the City. A sewer cleanout is a point of access at the property line where the lower lateral can be serviced. It is usually 4 inches in diameter and has a steel or plastic cover over it.

The sewer main line is the pipe that carries wastewater from connected laterals to the treatment plant.

The upper lateral is the property owner's responsibility. The property owner must maintain sewer lines on the owner's side (everything past the property line cleanout, including the upper lateral and plumbing within the home). A permit is required to repair sewer laterals. It is also the property owner's responsibility to install a cleanout if they do not have one already. Visit New Utility Construction for details.

Sewer FAQ

Expand/Contract Questions and Answers

  • What is an SSO?

  • Who provides my sewer service?

  • What is a sewer lateral?

  • What is the sewer main line?

  • Does Redwood City provide a sewer lateral (cleaning) service?

  • Does the city fix sewer lines on private property?

  • Do I need a permit to repair my sewer lateral?

  • How do I get a permit?

  • What does the “public” side and the “private” side of my sewer lateral mean?

  • How can I get my sewer lateral repaired so I will not have anymore sewer backups?

  • What do I do when I smell sewer odors/gases out in the street?

  • How do I report sewage overflowing from a sewer manhole out in the street?

  • What is a sewer cleanout?

  • How can I tell if my home has a sewer cleanout?

  • I cannot locate my sewer cleanout? What can I do?

  • Can I get Redwood City to install a sewer cleanout if I do not have one?

  • What do I have to do to get a sewer cleanout installed at my home/business?