Repair your sewer lateral. Save money. Protect the San Lorenzo River.

On June 12 the City of Santa Cruz launched an incentive program to support Santa Cruz homeowners and business owners in completing repairs on their sewer laterals. The incentive program includes a number of rebates that save people money while they take action to prevent sewer spills and protect local waterways.

Sewer laterals carry wastewater from toilets, sinks, and drains of your home and business to the City sewer main usually running under the street and eventually the City of Santa Cruz Wastewater Treatment Plant. While the City regularly maintains and updates the sewer system, it is the responsibility of each property owner to maintain their private sewer lateral. Like many things around the house, private sewer laterals need regular maintenance and upkeep. Aging sewer laterals can crack or split open causing sewage spills that release harmful bacteria into the groundwater, the San Lorenzo River and the Monterey Bay.

The City of Santa Cruz and Coastal Watershed Council want you to get your sewer lateral inspected and repaired to prevent spills. The City’s rebates will typically cover about 10% of the total cost of repairs to parts of the sewer lateral including the cleanout, the full lateral or the connection to the main. The incentive program will also waive permit fees for sewer lateral repairs (a $392 value as of July 2018). The diagram above shows the types of repairs which qualify for the rebate and the dollar amount of the rebate per repair type. The maximum possible rebate amount for a given property is $1400.

Interested property owners must fill out and submit a rebate application (available at the City of Santa Cruz Public Works front desk and online) and include the property information, contractor information, and information regarding the scope of repairs. The scope of work (and therefore the rebate amount they qualify for) will be verified through inspection by Public Works. Once the work is verified as complete, a check for the specified rebate amount will be issued to the property owner. The application for the Sewer Ordinance Lateral Incentive Program Rebate is available at the Public Works front counter or you can access the online form here.

Rebates are also available to new homebuyers and sellers who will be required by the forthcoming City of Santa Cruz Sewer Lateral Ordinance to get sewer laterals inspected upon point-of-sale of property. Rebates are for repairs only and not for inspections.

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