Most home owners in Santa Barbara, Burbank, Glendale, Santa Barbara or surrounding areas are not aware of that a regular plumbing contractor that holds a license C36 classification does not allow to work under the sidewalk which means that not every plumber is certified or qualified to do a repair under the sidewalk or in the middle of the street, but they could tell you otherwise?

The only plumbing contractors (C-36) or most of the cities Sanitation contractor ( C-42) or even some cities (C-34 ) pipeline contractors,

that can do work in the street are bonded sewer contractors. You can find a list of bonded sewer contractor Santa Barbara on the Santa Barbara Department of Engineering web site . If your plumber is not on that list, he can’t touch the sewer pipes going under the street.

Many of the home owners believe that when a sewer problem occurs and is under the city street, it is the city’s problem and not the home owner’s responsibility. The homeowner is responsible for the sewer lines all the way to the city main sewer connection, including the saddle connection on the city main sewer line.

The City is responsible for the public sewer which is usually located under the street but sometimes located under an alley or in an easement on private property. Maintenance of the sewer lateral, the sewer that carries wastewater from buildings to the public sewer is the responsibility of the property owner as described in the City’s Municipal Code. The sewer lateral consists of upper and lower laterals. The upper lateral extends from the building structure to the property line. The segment from the property line to the street sewer is called lower lateral. Property owners are responsible for proper maintenance and operation of upper and lower laterals.

The City’s Municipal Code requires that the construction, maintenance, and repair of sewer laterals be the responsibility of the property owners. This includes that portion of the lateral, sometimes referred to as the lower lateral, located under the street or public right of way. Property owners are granted permission to connect to the public street sewer with the understanding they are responsible for their lateral sewer and its maintenance. The fact that part of the lateral sewer is located under a public street does not mean that it is of public benefit, nor should the maintenance and repair of the lateral be performed by City forces at the expense of the taxpayers.

In almost all cases, the owner of private property holds the underlying fee to the center of the street. The public street is an easement. The property owner has a legal right to construct and maintain a house connection sewer between private property and the public street sewer, subject to permit provisions of the Santa Barbara Municipal Code.

If the work is to be done entirely on your property, yes. A plumber with a C-36 Contractors license and a Santa Barbara City business license can do the work. An Engineering Class A, Sewer Contractor Class C-42, or Pipeline Class C-34 license and a Santa Barbara City Business License with an insurance policy on file are required to do work within the public right of way (e.g. under the sidewalk, under the parkway or under the street). A permit from the City would be necessary to work within the public right of way. To obtain a permit, contact the Bureau of Engineering, Central District A-Permits/Sewer Permits at (213) 482-7030.


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