Tips for Maintaining Your Sanitary Sewer Lateral

A sanitary sewer lateral is the pipe that carries sanitary waste from the plumbing system in a home or business to the public sanitary sewer main. The sanitary sewer lateral is located on your private property while the public sanitary sewer main is typically located in a public right of way (public streets) or a dedicated County easement located on private property. Sanitary sewer laterals are typically 4" to 6" in diameter and public sewer mains are 8" and larger in diameter.

Many homes and businesses have sewer lateral cleanouts. A cleanout is a vertical pipe from an underground sewer lateral to the surface. A sewer cleanout is a point of access where the sewer lateral can be serviced. It usually is 4" in diameter and has a tight-fitting steel or plastic cap over it. If you are not successful in locating one, you either do not have one or it may be buried under dirt. A plumber can assist you in locating it and if your home does not have one, you may want to add one.

Help protect your property and the environment by following these tips:

  • Maintain/repair your private sewer lateral to meet regulations and area plumbing codes.
  • Remove any prohibited stormwater connections.
  • Clear roots, grease, debris, or other blockages in the lateral all the way to the connection with the sewer main.
  • Know where your cleanout is for quick access to clear blockages or stop backups. If you do not have one, consider having one installed.
  • Keep your cleanout cap on and in good shape. This keeps out rain and debris that can cause blockages, back-ups, and overflows.

Call Us First!

If you suspect a sanitary sewer line or drain stoppage, or you are experiencing a sanitary sewer backup or overflow, contact Spotsylvania County Utilities Department immediately! See the Report Sanitary Sewer Backup or Stoppage page.