Inc. Village of Valley Stream Private Sewer Lateral Repair Program Information Guide

The Significance of Your Sewer Laterals

The Village of Valley Stream enforces the laws and ordinances that require homeowners to maintain their sewer pipes on private property. So that our enforcement does not cause a financial hardship on our residents and homeowners, we have contracted with an experienced and proven company to offer the Village of Valley Stream Private Sewer Lateral Repair Program to all our homeowners. This program helps you fix your broken sewer lateral while saving you thousands of dollars in repair or replacement costs.

Your private sewer lateral is the pipe that connects the plumbing in your home running under your front yard and connecting to the sewer main in the street. It is your responsibility as a homeowner to maintain and repair this underground pipe to ensure that there are no leaks or breaks. The average home in Valley Stream has its original sewer lateral from the 1950s that has exceeded its working lifespan of 50 years. If ignored, this outdated sewer lateral will break, crack, and leak, causing sewer backups in your home.

Your sewer lateral is required to be free of roots and grease deposits, watertight with no structural defects such as cracks, breaks, openings, and holes; free flowing with no root intrusion backups, and without illegal connections such as sump pumps. These requirements are in the New York State and Valley Stream Village Sewer Ordinances and are required to be complied with so that the Nassau County treatment plants operate properly. When sewer laterals are in poor condition, rainwater and groundwater enters the sewer system, overwhelming the treatment capacity of treatment plants and causing overflows of raw sewage that contaminates streets, parks, and local waterways such as Mill Pond and Jamaica Bay.

The First Glimpse of Trouble

The most likely indication of a damaged or failing lateral is a backup in your house, which usually occurs in the basement. At first, a backup may only occur when you are running water, such as when you are doing the laundry. As it gets worse, even taking a shower or flushing a toilet will cause a backup. Sewer leaks are another problem with sewer laterals, but this problem most likely will not show up as a backup. With a sewer leak, the problem is untreated sewage leaking out into the environment through a yard or into an adjacent street, storm sewer or creek. The indications can be a bad odor, presence of black or gray colored water and in some instances, the undermining of yards, sidewalks, or street slabs.

Pictured: a flooded residential basement due to a sewer backup. The situations are costly, stressful and present health & safety risks.

What Does an Enrollee of This Program Do When There is Trouble?

When you notice the issues mentioned on the front page, and you are enrolled in the program, you would call the 24/7 repair hotline and explain the situation. A technician will then be dispatched to your residence to conduct an inspection and immediately perform the appropriate repairs. Your enrollment covers the cost. There is never an out-of-pocket cost or any additional charges for the dispatch and repair of your sewer lateral.

Upon arrival the goal for the technician is to clear the backup. They will restore flow to your system and diagnose the cause of the backup. All technicians are trained and certified to diagnose the cause of the backup using the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) & Pipeline Assessment Certification Program (PACP) standards. This process includes flow testing and camera inspections using CCTV inspection equipment.

Pictured: a highly-trained technician uses high resolution CCTV equipment to inspect the inside of a sewer lateral.

Common Causes of Sewer Backups

Did you know?

Many homeowners never get their sewer laterals inspected! Homeowners often unknowingly live for years in their homes with seepage under their properties!

Improper Disposal of Non-Flushable Items
  • Cooking Grease
  • Diapers
  • Feminine Products
  • Paper Towels
  • Wipes
Structural Damage
  • Collapsed Pipe
  • Cracked Pipe
  • Slipped Joint
Root Intrusion

What Happens When an Inspection Identifies a Damaged Sewer Lateral?

If the inspection identifies a damaged sewer lateral, an underground repair, a trenchless repair, or root treatment will be conducted. The program includes trenchless repairs to minimize disturbances to the property. This approach can be utilized if the existing sewer lateral pipe has enough structural integrity to properly support the repair process.

All the services and processes outlined above are included in the program with no additional costs.

How Much & When Will the Homeowner Be Billed?

This program is being offered to Village of Valley Stream residents for $14.99 per month, billed annually at $179.88. Included in the program are all inspections, repairs, replacements, assessments, and continuous education regarding your sewer system and responsibilities. There are no deductibles, no maximums, and no waiting periods, unlike insurance programs. This is a service program and is designed to help you maintain and repair your broken sewer lateral. The program is billed along with your annual property tax.

There is an annual enrollment period for the program every February. The inaugural enrollment is an opt- out enrollment, meaning unless you choose not to participate in the program you will be automatically enrolled for the first year. Each enrollment following the first year will be open enrollment, meaning you can join or leave the program. If you do not wish to change your enrollment status from year to year, your enrollment status will automatically carry over. This program is designed to address broken private property sewer laterals.

Standard plumbing repairs are not included in this program, such as clogged sinks, toilets, showers; toilet and sink replacements and interior pipe connections and repairs. When there is a repair or replacement of the sewer lateral, the resident is required to stay in the program for 60 months following the date of the repair. Detailed terms and conditions are available online at

The Environmental Implications of Widespread Broken Sewer Laterals

When your sewer lateral breaks and causes backups, it also creates a direct source of contamination and pollution into the surrounding soil and groundwater. Cracks and breaks in the lateral pipe allow raw sewage to discharge directly into the ground, a process commonly referred to as exfiltration. During high tides and heavy rain events the ground becomes saturated and pulls the exfiltrated raw sewage deeper into the ground and closer to nearby water bodies as shown in the diagram located below to the left. This, in turn may cause beach closures due to pollution and contamination.

The sole source for Long Island drinking water is the Magothy Aquifer, located directly below Long Island as shown in the illustration below to the right. The impacts of years of neglect of leaking sewer systems and sewage contamination threatens the reliability and stability of the aquifer.

In addition to exfiltration there is another harmful side effect of broken sewer laterals called infiltration. Infiltration is the process by which clean water enters the sewer system via cracks and breaks in sewer laterals. When a sewer lateral is broken it is susceptible to groundwater and rainwater finding seams and entering the pipe, resulting in sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) at Nassau County treatment plants.

The clean water that has entered the sewer system overloads the treatment plants causing the discharge of both treated and untreated raw sewage into our local waterways. When an SO occurs, the response is typically beach closures and a limitation of usage of our favorite recreational waterbodies.

Projections of the level of sea rise have steadily increased and the consequence for Long Island is frightening. The New York State Sea Rise Task Force projects that sea level will rise anywhere from 1 6 feet by 2100. Most homes and businesses in Valley Stream reside within 3 feet of high tide levels. This means that on the low end of projections, 1 foot of sea rise will have unfathomable impacts on our community.

As sea levels rise, groundwater levels also rise. This steady increase means that our underground sewer pipes will be completely covered in groundwater. Groundwater will inundate the buried sewer pipes causing further damage and corrosion. During high tide you will not be able to use your toilets, take a shower, clean your clothes, any activity involving drains. The best way we can protect ourselves from sea rise is to control what we can regarding our sewer infrastructure.

The Village of Valley Stream Private Sewer Lateral Program Terms and Conditions