Wastewater Lateral Repair and Replacement Program

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The City Council approved an amendment to the Wastewater Utility Ordinance during the Public Hearing held on January 10, 2017. The amendment creates a “Wastewater lateral repair and replacement charge” to become effective on April 1, 2017 for the purpose of reimbursing customers for repair of laterals within the City rights-of-way and for replacement of pipe using conventional or trenchless technology.

Repairs to wastewater laterals — individual pipelines that carry wastewater from buildings — often involve public rights-of-way. Currently, property owners are responsible for maintenance and repair of these pipelines – all the way to the main within the rights-of-way. Usually invisible for decades, wastewater laterals sometimes require emergency repairs, particularly after a pipeline failure. These repairs must be completed immediately and can cost as much as $30,000 or more using conventional open trenches. In many cases at least a portion of the lateral runs under a public street, sidewalk or other municipal area.

Repairs are usually corrective and require immediate response. The amended ordinance provides city support in two primary ways; (1) technical advice regarding cost effective methods of repair and replacement, and (2) financial reimbursement for eligible corrective repairs or preventive replacements. The city is therefore establishing lateral repair and replacement support that would share a portion of the costs with customers who experience failures primarily within city streets and easements yet also for complete replacement to avoid future failures.

Because these corrective repairs are so expensive, the city also encourages property owners to obtain additional insurance from their own insurance companies as well as some independent utilities that offer such insurance for lateral repairs.

The Wastewater lateral repair and replacement program is being developed as a Phase 1 approach and is a self-sustaining and dedicated program. Residential and business wastewater customers will be charged $18 or $36 per year, respectively, added to each city customer’s utility bill as a separate charge per billing period. 

Reimbursements for eligible projects are presented in the graphic below:

Graphic of Program Reimbursement

For more information regarding the Program, please view the documents below, including a video excerpt from the City Council Work Session of October 29, 2015.

Documents for Download: