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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

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

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

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

  • Does the city fix sewer lines on private property?

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

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

  • How do I get a permit?

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

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

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

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

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

  • What is a sewer cleanout?

  • What is a sewer lateral?

  • What is an SSO?

  • What is the sewer main line?

  • Who provides my sewer service?