As a residential or business customer of the City of Fairfax Wastewater Utility you are entitled to a reimbursement for expenses paid to repair or replace your lateral within public property.
Residential and business wastewater customers are charged $18 or $36 per year, respectively, added to each city customer’s utility bill as a separate charge per billing period.
In most cases, the City of Fairfax will reimburse you for replacement of the entire lateral within private property, if the replacement is completed using trenchless technology. Repairs on private property are not eligible for reimbursement because such repairs are not considered a public utility purpose.
Reimbursements for eligible projects are presented in the graphic below:
Step 1 – Obtain at least two quotations
Contact at least two contractors and ask for a quotation along with a camera inspection that includes video and voice recording of the inspection showing both the house number and the interior of the lateral section considered for repair or replacement. Only one recording is required for an emergency repair or replacement. In all cases you must obtain two quotations to ensure competition.
Step 2 – Submit an application to the City of Fairfax Public Works Department
Submit a Wastewater Lateral Repair and Replacement Program application before the work is started and include the following supplemental documents:
- Two quotations and related descriptions for the work to be accomplished.
- At least one video recordation of the interior lateral condition for the entire length to be replaced or section to be repaired.
Step 3 - Contract for the Work
After you receive recommendations and application approval by the City (this can be accomplished within four hours for emergency repairs), you will hire the selected contractor. The City will not manage the contractor and as such will not be responsible for the work product.
The hired contractor will be expected to apply for a plumbing permit with the City of Fairfax Office of Code Administration before the work begins.
Step 4 - Reimbursement
Upon completion of the work, pay the contractor and provide the invoice and proof of payment to the City of Fairfax Public Works department for reimbursement for a portion of the payments made.
Repairs to wastewater laterals — individual pipelines that carry wastewater from buildings — often involve public rights-of-way. Currently, property owners are responsible for maintenance and repair of these pipelines – all the way to the main within the rights-of-way. Usually invisible for decades, wastewater laterals sometimes require emergency repairs, particularly after a pipeline failure. These repairs must be completed immediately and can cost as much as $30,000 or more using conventional open trenches. In many cases at least a portion of the lateral runs under a public street, sidewalk or other municipal area.
Repairs are usually corrective and require immediate response. The amended ordinance (approved by City Council on January 10, 2017) provides city support in two primary ways; (1) technical advice regarding cost effective methods of repair and replacement, and (2) financial reimbursement for eligible corrective repairs or preventive replacements. The city is therefore establishing lateral repair and replacement support that would share a portion of the costs with customers who experience failures primarily within city streets and easements yet also for complete replacement to avoid future failures.
Because these corrective repairs are so expensive, the city also encourages property owners to obtain additional insurance from their own insurance companies as well as some independent utilities that offer such insurance for lateral repairs. The following companies offer insurance for sanitary sewer lateral repairs (residential customers only):
Dominion Energy Solutions “Home Protection Program” managed by Home Serve can be contacted at (888)-216-3718.
American Water Resources “Home Protection Program” can be contacted at (888)-207-5795 (in Virginia).
Because coverage's change fairly often please contact the companies directly via telephone to verify the latest coverage, policies and related costs.
Documents for Download:
- Wastewater Lateral Program Package (Application)
- How to Apply for Assistance
- Wastewater Lateral Repair and Replacement Program Presentation (City Council Work Session of October 29, 2015).
- Wastewater Lateral Program Video Presentation (City Council Work Session of October 29, 2015)
- Recommended Phase 1 Wastewater Lateral Repair and Replacement Program Presentation (City Council Work Session of July 13, 2016).
- Proposed Lateral Phase 1 Repair and Replacement Program Summary.
- Consideration of Policy Change for Laterals Presentation (City Council Work Session of January 28, 2014).
For more information regarding the Wastewater Lateral Repair and Replacement program please contact Ann Feeherry by phone at (703)-273-6239 or by email at Ann.Feeherry@fairfaxva.gov.