City: fix laterals at house sale time

POOPY PIPELINE Laterals carry wastes from homes and businesses to the sewer system.  Graphic courtesy City of Arcata

POOPY PIPELINE Laterals carry wastes from homes and businesses to the sewer system. Graphic courtesy City of Arcata

Kevin L. Hoover
Mad River Union

ARCATA – The City of Arcata creates about two million gallons of drinking water per day, most of which must then be processed as sewage. However, another several million gallons of water infiltrates into the sewage system through leaky pipes, maxing out the wastewater treatment plant and possibly limiting future development in town.

facebook-like-buttonThe opposite is the problem, too – sewage leaks out of pipes and contaminates Humboldt Bay, resulting in fines and environmental damage.

To address the problem, the city would like to require owners of properties that are more than 20 years old to have their laterals – the pipe that carries waste to the sewer system – inspected when the property sells and, if necessary, replaced.

Costs could include $150 or so for a test. If a new lateral is required, the property owner could have to spend as much as $6,000 to $10,000 for repairs.

City officials explained the matter a a sparsely-attended meeting last week.

“We’re just trying to get as many upgrades as possible,” said Environmental Services Director Mark Andre.

The Humboldt Association of Realtors opposes the proposed amendment to the Arcata Municipal Code that would impose the requirement on grounds that it places an unfair burden on homebuyers and sellers and could harm sales. The HAR proposes voluntary approaches instead.

The matter will be considered by the City Council, with a July 1 target date for implementation.

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