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Sewer Lateral Ordinance

In order to protect the environment and local waterways from bacteria-laden human waste coming from undetected sewer leaks or sanitary sewer spills, the City Council adopted changes to the Sanitary Sewer System Ordinance on June 26, 2018. 

The changes to the Sanitary Sewer System Ordinance are three-fold:

Part 1: Sewer Spills (Sewer Overflows): The owner of a property with a sewer spill is responsible for stopping the spill immediately and will be subject to fines and penalties if inspections and repairs are not made in a timely manner.

Part 2: Private Sewer System Inspection and Cleaning: Private sanitary sewer collection systems and pumps (at apartment buildings, homeowner associations and businesses) must pass inspection every 10 years and undergo regular cleaning.

Part 3: Time of Sale (Sale of Property): Prior to the sale of a property, the property owner must have the sewer lateral inspected by an authorized inspector, make any needed repairs, and submit an inspection form to verify compliance.

Sewer lateral ordinance figure2

Chapter 16.08 Sewer System Ordinance Text

Sewer Lateral Ordinance FAQ

Sewer Lateral Rebate Application


Part 1: Sewer Spills

If a sewer overflow originating at your property occurs, you are required to determine the cause of the spill and take remedial action to prevent future spills.  Failure to address the spill can result in fines and civil penalties.


How to respond to a sewer spill overflow:

sewer spill overflow chart

List of City-certified Inspectors for Sewer Lateral Inspections

Sanitary Sewer Overflows Inspection Form

Rebate Application

To report a sewer spill in Santa Cruz city limits call the Environmental Compliance Department at 831-420-6050. During non-business hours, please call 911 to report spills or illegal dumping. 



Part 2: Private Sewer System Inspection

private and public sewer

Do I have a Shared Sewer System big text


16.08.060    Private sanitary sewer maintenance and repair

16.08.064    Inspection and cleaning of private sanitary sewer systems

List of City-certified Inspectors for Shared System Inspections

Declaration of Exemption Form

Cleaning and inspection frequency for private systems

# of sewer laterals

Required frequency



< 10

5 years

10 years

≥ 10

2 years

10 years


Inspection Frequency for Private Lift and Pump Stations

Type of System


Inspection frequency

Lift station

or ejector pump

< 5 units

5 years

≥ 5 units


 City-Certified Plumbers List 12-17-19


Part 3: Time of Sale Inspections

Time of sale Inspection Flowchart

 time of sale actions flowchart

16.08.066      Building sanitary sewer inspection requirements

16.08.068    Exemptions from inspection requirement

City-certified Inspectors for Sewer Lateral Inspections

Time of Sale Sewer Lateral Inspection Form (To be completed by City-Certified Plumber)

Transfer of Responsibility to Repair Form