Sewer Lateral Ordinance Incentive Program


Starting July 1, 2019 a change to an existing ordinance will take effect in Santa Cruz that brings the city in line with sewer maintenance measures already in place throughout much of California. The amendment to the ordinance focuses on the inspection and repair of lateral sewer lines, which carry wastewater from the property to the main sewer line of the city.

While the city maintains the main sewer line, it is the responsibility of the property owner to make sure the sewer lateral is in good condition, including the cleanout and connection to the main line. This means that any time a property is sold, either commercial or residential, the sewer line must be inspected and, if necessary, repaired at the expense of the owner. To put it simply, the owner is responsible for the health of the sewer line up to and including the connection to the main sewer line, where it then becomes the city’s responsibility.

To help offset the costs of any potential repairs, there is a rebate program in place that applies to both residential and commercial properties. The rebate program is designed to incentivize property owners to be proactive in dealing with any potential sewer line problems before they become a serious issue. The amount of the rebate varies based on the type of repairs needed.

In most cases, the rebate covers approximately 10 percent of the cost, up to a maximum amount set by the city. It is important to note that the rebate will only be available to the extent that the city has funding available so applying early is recommended. The rebate application can be found online here (PDF), or at the City of Santa Cruz Public Works Department.

To qualify for the Sewer Lateral Incentive Program Rebate, the following criteria must be met:

  • The property must be located within the City of Santa Cruz.

  • Does not apply to construction of new sewer laterals, only for repairs of existing lines.

  • Only applies from the sidewalk cleanout to sewer main in the street—not for repairs on the property itself.

  • Rebates are only applicable for clean out, spot repairs, lateral replacement, and connection to the sewer main.

  • Application for the rebate must be completed within 30 days of the completion of any repairs.

  • All refunds are reviewed and decided upon by the Public Works.

When it’s time to have your sewer lateral, cleanout, and connection inspected, the plumber will do a visual inspection with a sewer scope to make sure that everything is in good working order. There is a listing of certified inspection professionals that are recommended by the City of Santa Cruz, which you can find below.   

For the most up to date information about preferred inspection professionals in Santa Cruz, contact the Public Works Department at (831) 420-5030.