Sewer - FAQs

What is an SSO?

A sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) is a condition in which untreated sewage is discharged from a sanitary sewer into the environment prior to reaching sewage treatment facilities. Most sewage spills are relatively small and can be stopped and cleaned up quickly, but left unattended they can cause health hazards, damage to homes and businesses, and threaten the environment, local waterways, and beaches.

What is a Sewer Lateral?

A sewer lateral is the pipe that carries the wastewater from the house to the sanitary sewer main line in the street. Every building receiving sewer service from Milpitas has at least one sewer lateral.

What is the Sewer Main Line?

A utility pipe that carries wastewater from the connected laterals to the wastewater treatment plant (via sewer force or gravity main).

Does the city fix sewer lines on private property?

No. The area between the sewer cleanout and the house (owner’s side) is the responsibility of the property owner and must be repaired/serviced by the owner or designated service personnel.

Do I need a permit to repair my sewer lateral?

Yes. A permit is required to repair the sewer lateral. A city engineer will inspect the lateral to validate that the work was performed according to code. If you need guidance as to policies or procedures please contact the Engineering and Construction Division at 408-586-3300.

What does the “public” side and the “private” side of my sewer lateral mean?

The “public” side (also called the lower lateral) of the sewer lateral is the city’s responsibility. It refers to the section of the lateral between the sewer cleanout (usually located at the resident’s property line) and the sewer main line out in the street.

The “private” side refers to all plumbing lines that are located inside the property line from sewer cleanout to the house. The private side of the sewer lateral is the property owner’s responsibility and is not serviced by city maintenance personnel.

Can I get the City to install a sewer cleanout if I do not have one?

No. Sewer cleanouts belong to the property owner. It is the responsibility of the property owner to install a property line cleanout.