Upper Lateral Program

The Vallejo Flood and Wastewater District offers a reimbursement-based, upper lateral replacement program. The upper lateral is the portion of the sewer pipe that runs from just outside the exterior of the building to the property line and is the responsibility of the homeowner. For a visual explanation of sewer lateral terminology, see image below.

The purpose of the Upper Lateral Program is to encourage homeowners to repair damaged sewer laterals to protect their home from sewer backups and to decrease the amount of groundwater and stormwater that can infiltrate into sewer pipesUpper Lateral Graphic

Application Instructions

The  Pre-Evaluation Questionnaire (PDF), is used to determine if you are eligible for reimbursement. To complete the application: answer the questions, read the Program Acknowledgment, fill in the property address and your contact information, and sign the application. The application must be submitted by the property owner. If you have newly acquired a property and wish to submit an application, please also include a copy of the property's Grant Deed as proof of ownership. Applications can be submitted to admin@vallejowastewater.org or delivered to our office at 450 Ryder Street. After the application has been processed, we will then perform a field evaluation and determine if you qualify for the program. If you qualify for the program, we will determine the amount of reimbursement you are entitled to and will inform you via email.  For a step-by-step overview of what happens after the application has been submitted, please see the Upper Lateral flowchart.

Reimbursement Values for Owner Initiated Repair

The program offers partial reimbursement for replacing or fixing your upper lateral, installing the required sewer cleanouts, and if necessary, a backflow prevention device. The following reimbursement values are estimates for owner initiated sewer lateral repairs which have complied with procedures and criteria for evaluation for owner initiated repairs and have been determined to be eligible for reimbursement upon completion of the repair.

Length Range of Lateral
(Center of Two-Way Cleanout to Center of District Cleanout)
Reimbursement Amount
(Per Foot)
0 to 5 feetLump sum of $250
5 to 10 feet$50
10 to 20 feet$45
20 to 30 feet$40
30 to 40 feet$35
40 to 50 feet$30
More than 50 feet$25

Reimbursement is also available if your property requires the installation of a two-way cleanout ($400), District cleanout ($500), or backflow prevention device ($300). District cleanouts must be installed by a licensed Class A or C-42 contractor. You are welcome but not required to select from our list of commonly used contractors.

Backflow Prevention Devices

To protect property from sewer overflows, many houses have an overflow prevention device that acts like a pressure cooker valve. If a blockage occurs in the pipes, the device is designed to overflow outside the house.

  • We recommend that you check to see what kind of sewer overflow device you have. If you do not have one, you may be eligible for reimbursement to get one installed.
  • An overflow device is usually found in the front yard within five feet of the foundation. It is often a cast iron or clay pipe, 4 inches in diameter. If your sewer overflow device looks like a plastic or aluminum mushroom, you are in good shape.
  • Newer homes may have concrete boxes that cover the device. If your device is in a concrete box, lift the lid of the box.
  • If your device looks like a pipe that has a cap screwed on tightly, we recommend unscrewing the cap and simply resting it on top of the pipe. This will allow a potential backup to flow outside the house. If the cap is secured, however, the sewer backup can be pushed back into the house, overflowing toilets and sinks. If there is no device near your house, check inside the sewer box in your sidewalk. If that cap is screwed down, call the District so we can replace it with a proper device.

If you have questions, concerns, or can't find your sewer overflow device, give us a call at 707-644-8949. We'll have a customer service tech come by your house and give you a free evaluation.