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Private Sewer Lateral Replacement Program

This program is necessary to minimize the amount of rainwater and/or groundwater that enters the sanitary sewer system.

In our continuing effort to protect the health of the community and environment, Mobile Area Water & Sewer System developed the Private Lateral Replacement Program

This additional flow, known as infiltration and inflow or I & I, occurs during rain events and wet weather and contributes to sanitary sewer overflows, backups into buildings, lost sewer capacity for customers and adds the additional expense of transporting and treating storm water.

Private Sewer Lateral Defects

Private laterals account for over 1000 miles of pipe connected to MAWSS public sanitary sewer collection system. Approximately 75% of private laterals were constructed prior to 1976 and were made primarily of vitrified clay pipe (vcp). VCP lateral have joints every 3 to 5 feet, and generally, are 50 feet to 150 feet in length. Overtime joints fail allowing roots and storm water/ground water to enter to the pipes. As the roots grow, the joints tend to open wider allowing more storm water to enter the pipes. As pipe settles, the joints separate which causes the pipes to crack and break.

MAWSS uses various methods to determine whether a private lateral needs repair. One method is to force smoke into the sanitary sewer system and identify if the smoke exits the lateral. The exiting smoke indicates a leak in the lateral.  Laterals with roots, cracks, separated joints, deteriorated walls, etc. (detected by the camera) are not water tight and allow rainwater and/or groundwater to enter the system.  Direct visual inspection of storm water flowing from the lateral during a rain event is another method of identifying prohibited lateral discharges.  

Storm water and groundwater enter the sanitary sewer through defective public and private property wastewater pipes. View illustration of possible lateral defects and their causes

Private Sewer Lateral Defects FAQs

For more information on the program please review Policy 3.15 Property Owner Sewer Repair Notices.

Periodically MAWSS solicits pricing from licensed plumbers that are qualified to make lateral repairs. View contractor’s contact information or the contract’s unit pricing.

MAWSS offers a financing assistance for residential property owner’s whose homes fail private lateral investigation tests. For additional information on the financing option, please contact MAWSS Mapping and Connections Department at (251) 694-9434.

MAWSS also offers grants for low-to-moderate income property owners. For more information, please contact the Collections System Department at (251) 694-3471.

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Main Office Address

MAWSS Park Forest Plaza
4725 Moffett Road
Mobile, AL 36618