Sewer lateral replacement permit fees?

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By an edhat reader

I'm required to replace my sewer lateral under the city SLIP program, which I will do. The permit will cost $1,719.94 plus an "administration" fee of $150, a total of $1,869.94. This seems like a lot in that the city does no actual work, does anyone that has experience with the SLIP program know if this is more or less the normal amount for a permit?

The property is on W Valerio between State and Castillo. This amount of course does not include the cost of the work which varies wildly from company to company but is not cheap no matter who does the work.

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MountainMan4865 Feb 12, 2021 05:22 PM
Sewer lateral replacement permit fees?

Good lord! That seems like an astronomical amount for a permit for known work. I'm having a difficult time seeing how that is justified. But that's just me.

Shasta Guy Feb 12, 2021 05:41 PM
Sewer lateral replacement permit fees?

I know several people who have, and what they paid make what you paid look like a bargain. I’m just waiting from that friendly letter from the city to land in my mailbox.

tagdes Feb 12, 2021 05:52 PM
Sewer lateral replacement permit fees?

Just a short few years when they videoed all the lines they gave us a special discount on the permit. We jumped on it even though they lied about our wye being broken since we had to get a new line in order to replace our D/W. I can check the difference if you like.

a-1613185860 Feb 12, 2021 07:11 PM
Sewer lateral replacement permit fees?

I'd like to know, and hear more about your experience. I'm familiar with the list of approved providers; can you tell us who you used for the work?

tagdes Feb 12, 2021 08:56 PM
Sewer lateral replacement permit fees?

Low Coast Plumbing and they are well over a thousand less than anyone else. They have done easily over half of all of them here in San Roque. They still have to use Lash or a couple of others for the wye install due to Union listers and that's basically the only time the inspector looks at anything and signs it off. As a retired County Roads Construction inspector I'm glad some of you feel it's reasonable for the $1,800 permit that we sometimes spend up to an hour inspecting. I personally inspected several of the tie ins off of Ontare.

NotReallyDave Feb 12, 2021 06:08 PM
Sewer lateral replacement permit fees?

Fees of any kind are established by public servants that will benefit directly from them. Isn't that a cool job?

RHS Feb 12, 2021 06:44 PM
Sewer lateral replacement permit fees?

The amount does not seem to me to be unreasonable. People complain that the city is irresponsible but when they try to allocate costs to the users they complain. If they raise taxes so that all will share the cost people complain more. These drain/sewer problems are reality. It costs money to repair the lines.

a-1613185727 Feb 12, 2021 07:08 PM
Sewer lateral replacement permit fees?

Just want to reiterate that this is specifically the permit fee, separate from repair charges.

Good timing for this question; the most recent newsletter accompanying City utility bills had an explainer of homeowner responsibility: https://www.santabarbaraca.gov/gov/depts/pw/resources/slip/default.asp
I'm thinking about having mine pre-emptively scoped.

a-1613186659 Feb 12, 2021 07:24 PM
Sewer lateral replacement permit fees?

OP, how did this come about? Did you have a drainage issue or did the city send you a letter after one of their inspections?
Here's the FAQ page: https://www.santabarbaraca.gov/gov/depts/pw/resources/slip/faq.asp#1154

"Does the City offer incentives or rebates to help with repairs?
The City waives some permit fees for residential City-initiated SLIP cases, except for replacing the connection to the sewer main. "

Ahchooo Feb 12, 2021 08:02 PM
Sewer lateral replacement permit fees?

This is alarming. That’s a huge fee for a permit for something you cannot avoid doing. I realize the city has costs for monitoring and inspecting, but this is too much, when the homeowner also has the actual replacement costs as well.

Channelfog Feb 13, 2021 02:35 AM
Sewer lateral replacement permit fees?

Yes this was(for us) and is very alarming! SB taxes are very high and this is precisely the kind of engineering/health & safety issue that our tax dollars should cover. It is as if the city has used Heal The Ocean against the residents and taxpayers. Not all of us are ready to fork $5k out of the blue and with hefty monthly penalties...as I stated, it was a nightmare.

Always_Running Feb 12, 2021 08:51 PM
Sewer lateral replacement permit fees?

We’ve waited three years for the permit. They videotaped it years ago and the city lost the tape but I’ve never called and complained. It’s at their request so it feel like no rush, but now that I see the cost I’m dreading the permit process.

gizmo1 Feb 12, 2021 09:02 PM
Sewer lateral replacement permit fees?

Just think of your permit fee going to a good cause like the city truck that just got stolen-And oh yeah the $1900 inspection fee for that lateral connection tea if anything goes wrong with it in the future after you pay that fee to the city official you have no recourse now do you feel better

Voice of Reason Feb 13, 2021 09:43 AM
Sewer lateral replacement permit fees?

That is a good point Gizmo. People pay these really high inspection fees but if the inspector missies something it’s on you to fix it in the future and the city will charge you again.

Channelfog Feb 13, 2021 02:23 AM
Sewer lateral replacement permit fees?

In most places the sewer main is owned by the city AND only they can work on it or the first 3 ft of any lateral. SB city wastes plenty of money that could fund all of this. I believe Carp does it this way. We went through the whole SB sewer wye process in 2016 and it was an expensive nightmare. It really made us sure that selling and bailing from SB was the right move.

Bob Wilson Feb 13, 2021 07:31 AM
Sewer lateral replacement permit fees?

I’ve never understood how the city has the legal authority to enter your property without permission. Sending a video camera into a private sewer lateral is no different than sending a camera into an open window. They admit it’s your property because you must pay the repair cost. Seems like trespassing to me.

tagdes Feb 13, 2021 09:44 AM
Sewer lateral replacement permit fees?

The city did not enter your property. They videoed the main and recorded all of the wyes. They then sent out notices of wye problems and were ready to assess fines daily if not replaced. If you fought it you had to pay the plumber to video the lateral to claim it was okay. They gave us a break on the permit as they were glass lining the mains. I sat next to the video truck and they verified the wye was not broken or damaged. Later the City started saying it was defective because it was cast iron. We changed it out trenchless and all the way through the house. I figured I got my use out of our 77 year line. Guess we were lucky because Low Cost never gave us a problem with at least 20 of ours replaced within our 2 block area and like I said the only part that is an issue is the wye which is done by Lash, Tierra or Granite. We had Rooter Solutions do the house and the trenchless tie-in.

Bob Wilson Feb 13, 2021 10:20 PM
Sewer lateral replacement permit fees?

Not completely accurate. The city sends a video camera as far up the private lateral as they can. Looking for damage that they then force you to repair. It’s not just the wye. It’s several feet of the private property lateral.

Regina Feb 13, 2021 08:25 AM
Sewer lateral replacement permit fees?

You can pay the City up front and then they will be responsible to do the work. This is not cheap but in the long run it is.
The cost adds up if you take on the job yourself and get a plumber....we’ll
Just drive by any job that has the street dug up and see what’s all involved and all the people hired to work digging up the street, rerouting traffic and then there’s the plumber, they all get paid

a-1613249404 Feb 13, 2021 12:50 PM
Sewer lateral replacement permit fees?

This is what we are doing. city is repaving street. their inspection of our sewer lateral indicated a problem (tree roots), so we paid to have it videoed and yes, a problem from our sewer line on private property to city sewer. checked around and cheapest and simplest solution was having city do it. $5,000. then again, have been in house for 20 years, and probably will never have this expense again. could be worse.

a-1613249450 Feb 13, 2021 12:50 PM
Sewer lateral replacement permit fees?

I used Low Cost for the video component and had to call or email them 3 times before they sent the video to the city.

a-1613239584 Feb 13, 2021 10:06 AM
Sewer lateral replacement permit fees?

I suggest you ask the City what is covered by their permit fee? Ask for a breakdown. Ask lots of questions. I know they have professional staff who personally review/evaluate the camera video inspections, keep track of all these videos, store them, and deal with problems. These are put in place, so that work is performed correctly and completely to protect our City. Wait until you see how much the contractors charge you for the sewer lateral replacement. I hope for you that the wye connection at the street isn't too deep in the street, because it could mean excavation, removal of contaminated soils, traffic diversion, public works permits, shoring for walls around the dig, steel plates to cover the whole because it days several days to complete. It could cost in the tens of thousands of dollars. Once it is done, it should be good for another 100 years.

a-1613242114 Feb 13, 2021 10:48 AM
Sewer lateral replacement permit fees?

Owning a home is not cheap. People don’t factor these kinds of things in to their budgets. I sure didn’t consider this possibility when we bought our house, and so far we haven’t had to do it. I am now forewarned. Sigh.

Lucky 777 Feb 13, 2021 11:33 AM
Sewer lateral replacement permit fees?

I and many of my neighbors on West Valerio went through this a few years back. The important point is that in most other cities the homeowner's responsibility stops at their property line, so when the wyes start to fail the City takes responsibility and trenches and replaces the whole street's pipes and wyes all at one time. BUT in SB because of the Heal the Ocean lawsuit the City quietly changed the rules here, so now they can require homeowners to pay for it, and says their permit fee is so high because they authorize the plumber to close the street or slow traffic. In Valerio Canyon there have been numerous pipe failures, which undermine the stability of the underground pipes and cause the wyes to fail. In my case I had replaced all my sewer lines with trenchless technology with Burt Short and Express Rooter, ((highly recommended)) and the wye was perfect. But 2 years later (after the street water main had broken in winter storms) I was notified I had to replace the wye, and what would have been a minimal fee when added onto the other work was then many thousands of dollars more.

i.live.in.sb Feb 13, 2021 11:43 AM
Sewer lateral replacement permit fees?

We had ours done as required by the City about 2 years ago. We are on W Valerio, and a bunch of neighbors had to do theirs at the same time. We used Low Cost Plumbing, and I think their cost included the permit. It was over $5,000, and the damage to the wye was limited to a small crack. We were not allowed to dig the hole ourselves to save money. It was a ridiculous waste of money and a major headache. The city said they plan to inspect as often as every 3 years, so this could be a recurring expense.

a-1613249558 Feb 13, 2021 12:52 PM
Sewer lateral replacement permit fees?

over $5,000! that's why perhaps having the city do it for a flat $5,000 fee isn't so bad. yes, expensive, but rate is fixed and hassles minimized. not cheap and not fun, but at least you know how much you'll have to pay and know it's done to their satisfaction

Cabomark Feb 13, 2021 01:19 PM
Sewer lateral replacement permit fees?

This is a complete dereliction of the City to maintain their sewer system, and claiming that the "connection" to their sewer main is the responsibility of the homeowner. Aside from charging hideously overpriced "permit" fees for this forced action, they also require that the replacement be done by one of two companies which the City has contracted to for replacement and maintaining the sewer, LASH and Tierra , who in turn charge an arm and leg to replace the wye connection. Our cost was in excess of $7000, and many others I know have had up to $25,000-30,000 in costs depending on where in the street /sidewalk the wye is located. This is a travesty that the City has forced on the residents. What actually is that cost paying for ....? The kick-backs to the contractors ...? Woefully shameful way of doing business by the City.

imarshell Feb 14, 2021 08:48 PM
Sewer lateral replacement permit fees?

@LUCKY777 I think you're mistaken in ascribing a quiet "rule change" concerning sewer laterals to a lawsuit by Heal the Ocean. Sounds more like the tactics of other NGOs like Waterkeepers. I'm pretty sure HTO has never sued or threatened to sue anyone.

PitMix Feb 16, 2021 07:37 AM
Sewer lateral replacement permit fees?

What happens if you just ignore them? I know homeowners with other issues that the City has contacted and they have ignored them and nothing seems to have changed in several years. At some point they can start assessing fines but how often do they really start that process against homeowners who can raise a stink?

PitMix Feb 16, 2021 07:39 AM
Sewer lateral replacement permit fees?

After that nightmare the Samarkand resident went through to get a permit to remove her overgrown Cedar tree, you might interested to know that a low cost tree outfit has been going through my westside neighborhood and trimming historic oak trees in the last couple of weeks. No permits, no fuss, no muss. Not really the best time of the year for doing this work, but it's hard to blame the homeowner for how they did it.

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