What You Should Know About Private Sewer Laterals

You know your home inside and how. But how familiar are you with the inner-workings under your house? Most homeowners don’t pay much attention to the sewer system on their property – until there’s a problem. Who is responsible for fixing the pipe if there’s a clog or breakage? Read on, and we’ll explain the basics of the private sewer lateral.

Private Sewer Laterals

What’s a private sewer lateral?

A private sewer lateral (often abbreviated as PSL), is an underground pipe on your property that connects the home’s plumbing to the municipal sewer main. Essentially, all water and waste that goes down a drain in your home (including toilets, sinks, and tubs) ends up flowing through the PSL. In most cases, the pipe is the homeowner’s responsibility for the length that it is on their property. 

In other words, if there’s a problem with the PSL, you will have to pay to fix it – unlike the sewer main, which is the municipality’s responsibility. This can be shocking for many homeowners when they experience an issue with their sewer line.

In some areas, the PSL is divided into two parts: upper and lower laterals. The upper lateral, which typically runs from the sidewalk to the house, is almost always considered the homeowner’s responsibility. However, in some areas, the lower lateral, which runs under the side to the sewer main, might be under the jurisdiction of the sewer authority. 

Common problems with sewer lines

For the most part, private sewer laterals are durable and do not require maintenance. However, just like any pipe, they can experience clogs due to fats, oils, and greases (FOG), as well as food scraps, paper products, and other non-flushable objects. If you have trees on your front property, your PSL is also at risk for root intrusion.

The material of the PSL is also important. Older pipes made from clay or Orangeburg are more likely to crack or break than modern plastic pipes. 

Since the pipe is below ground, it’s often difficult to notice a PSL problem until it’s too late. Warning signs include slow or backed-up drains around your house or soggy spots in your front yard. If ignored, a PSL issue can result in raw sewage backing up inside your home. That’s why it’s important to diagnose and repair the problem as quickly as possible.

Fixing a clogged or broken PSL

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to fixing a problem with a private sewer line. Traditional methods involved digging up the whole pipe to find the trouble spot, but thankfully this invasive approach isn’t always necessary. 

Today, professional plumbers can perform a sewer camera inspection to determine the issue (broken pipe, clog, tree roots), the severity, and location. Having that information allows the plumbers to take a targeted approach to either unclogging the PSL, repairing a portion of the pipe, or replacing the line. 

Sewer line repair and replacement in the Durham, NC area

If you suspect there’s an issue with your sewer line, or you know you have outdated pipes that are a ticking time bomb, call the experienced team at Acme Plumbing Co. We can inspect your PSL and provide guidance on what sections of the sewer line are your responsibility to repair or replace. Schedule an appointment or reach us at (919) 688-1348.

Why Choose ACME Plumbing?

4th Generation Family Plumbers

4th GenerationFamily Plumbers

Trusted & Recommended Since 1947

Trusted & RecommendedSince 1947

We Stand Behind Our Work

We StandBehind Our Work

Fully Licensed, Bonded & Insured

Fully Licensed,Bonded & Insured

2 Year Warranty On All Parts & Labor*

2 Year WarrantyOn All Parts & Labor*

Won the Super Service Award In 2015 by Angie's List

Won the Super Service AwardIn 2015 by Angie's List

A+ Rated by the Better Business Bureau

A+ Rated by theBetter Business Bureau

Top Quality Workmanship

Top QualityWorkmanship

Why Choose Us

With Deep Roots in the Community - We're Proud to Give Back At Every Opportunity

Call Us 24/7

(919) 688-1348
or Email Us!