What is a Private Sewer Lateral and How Does It Work?

Your home’s plumbing system is important because it provides the water supply your household needs. At the same time, it gets rid of wastewater and channels it away from your home. Unfortunately, many homeowners often take their plumbing system for granted until problems appear. If you encounter any plumbing problems, you should address them immediately to prevent matters from worsening. 

If you encounter problems with your home’s sewage system, it could be something to do with your private sewer lateral or PSL. This post will talk about what PSL is and its common problems, and how to solve them. 

What is a Private Sewer Lateral? 

A private sewer lateral or PSL is a pipe that connects your plumbing system to the municipal sewer line. It is an important pipe because it channels away wastewater from your sink and bathroom and from your property to the sewer. Sewage water is then transported to a wastewater treatment facility. 

Private sewer laterals have two major elements, the upper and lower sewer lateral. The upper sewer lateral is the pipe that is closer to your home. The lower sewer lateral is the pipe that is closer to the street. Each pipe is important in transporting dirty water to the sewers and keeping your home clean. 

The homeowner is the one responsible for maintaining the PSL. In some areas, homeowners are responsible for the upper lateral connection. However, in some places in the US, such as in San Francisco Bay areas, property owners are responsible for both upper and lower laterals. 

Common Private Sewer Lateral Problems 

Private Sewer Laterals are also prone to common plumbing issues. PSLs usually last depending on the material used. Clay pipes are commonly used, although they may not be as durable as cast iron which can last up to 50 years. 

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is also a popular PSL material thanks to its durability, ease of repair, and affordability. 

Like any plumbing problem, pipe failures usually begin with blockages or cracks in the pipe. Other common causes of lateral sewer failures are the following: 

  • Shifting soil 
  • Tree root intrusion 
  • Natural erosion due to wastewater 
  • Pipe corrosion, scale buildup, calcification 
  • Sewer backups 
  • Soil and watershed contamination due to sewer leakage
  • Sewage overflow due to root or water intrusion 
  • Fractures due to old age 

A sewer video inspection is the best way to fix sewage problems in your home. It will help diagnose your sewer line so you can do further tests and determine whether you need to spend money on the repairs. More importantly, determine the overall condition of your pipes. Contact a professional plumbing service in Spring Hill, TN, for your plumbing needs. 


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