What Is a Private Sewer Lateral?

Posted on: 19 April 2021

Few things are more frustrating for homeowners than plumbing issues. When you have an unexpected plumbing problem, the issue may lie with your private sewer lateral. When your private sewer lateral becomes damaged, you will likely need a replacement. If you have never heard this term before, the following information may be helpful when trying to diagnose your plumbing problem:

What Does Private Sewer Lateral Mean?

The private sewer lateral is the main pipe that moves the water and waste from your home's plumbing system to the public sewer system in your municipality. The private sewer lateral is an important part of a plumbing system because it ensures all the contents from your sinks, showers, toilets, and tubs are properly removed from your home. If there is an issue with the private sewer lateral, it could mean a big mess inside your home and an even bigger headache for you.

What Makes Up a Private Sewer Lateral?

There are two primary parts of a private sewer lateral. The first is the upper sewer lateral. This is the section of pipe that is closest to your house. This part of the private sewer lateral also includes the cleanout area.

The second part is the lower sewer lateral. This part of the private sewer lateral is made up of the pipe that is closer to the public street and includes the curb cleanout.

What Issues Can Cause Problems for a Private Sewer Lateral?

For the private sewer lateral to function properly, it has to remain in good condition. There are some issues that can arise and cause blockages or damage. The main problem is the failure of the pipe. If this happens, your wastewater can back into your home.

There are a number of ways your private sewer lateral can suffer damage. The intrusion of roots from nearby trees is common, as the roots can grow into the pipes or crush the pipes as the roots expand. The shifting of soil or natural erosion from wastewater can also prevent the private sewer lateral from working. You may also see decreased function caused by calcification, scale buildup, or corrosion.

Age is also an issue for private sewer laterals. The lifespan of this plumbing system largely depends on the materials used in its construction. Most modern private sewer laterals are made from cast iron, which increases its longevity. Older private sewer laterals were made from clay, which is not as strong.

If you begin to notice any issues with wastewater backup or slow draining in your home, be sure to call your plumber as soon as possible for a sewer lateral replacement.


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