Your Home's Plumbing
Many customers are unsure about where the Spotsylvania County Utilities Water and Sanitary Sewer System ends and where their home plumbing begins. Sanitary sewer mains, water mains, water meters, and their settings are owned and maintained by the Spotsylvania County Utilities Department. Your home’s plumbing includes all of the pipes and fixtures on your property, from the meter or valve near the street to the pipes and faucets inside your home.
This valve controls water flowing into your home. Depending on the age of your house, the main water valve can be inside a garage, basement, laundry room, near your water heater or in your crawl space. In newer homes, it is generally located where the water line enters your home through the foundation.
It is recommended that you locate the main water valve because you can use it to shut off the water in an emergency or when you are making plumbing improvements or repairs. It can also be turned off while the property is vacant to prevent water damage that unforeseen leaks might cause. A plumber or heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) expert should be consulted for long-term water shut-off of appliances like water heaters, etc.
Some older homes do not have main water valves. If your home does not have a main water valve, you may want to consult a plumbing professional for installation procedures and costs.
Typical valves are pictured below.
The water service lateral is the pipe that runs underground from the meter or valve near the street to the main water valve inside the house. Typically, it is made of copper, plastic, or sections of both. These components are owned by the property owner.
Water meters and their settings are owned and maintained by Spotsylvania County Utilities Department. Usually, meters are located near the edge of the property in a small barrel that is placed in the ground and covered by a cast-iron lid or heavy-duty plastic lid. It is helpful to keep plants, shrubs, and trees trimmed away from the County’s meters and registers to allow us to read and maintain them. It is also recommended that you do not run over the meter barrel and lid with the lawnmower because this can damage the barrel, lid, meter, and settings.
Your private sanitary sewer lateral is an underground pipe that is part of your home’s plumbing. Your sanitary sewer lateral conveys wastewater from your home to Spotsylvania County’s public sanitary sewer system.
If you own your home, you also own your lateral from the end of your home’s internal plumbing to the connection with Spotsylvania County Utilities. Your sewer lateral is your property from your home’s plumbing to the connection with Spotsylvania County Utilities’ sewer main. You are responsible for maintaining your lateral, just like other pipes in your home.
Many homes have sewer lateral cleanouts. A cleanout is a vertical pipe from an underground lateral to the surface. It has a removable cap for maintenance access. Know where your sewer cleanouts are in case you or your plumber needs quick access to stop a mess and costly sewage backups into your home. If your home doesn’t have a cleanout, you may want to add one at your property line.
Maintaining your sewer lateral helps protect your home and our environment. Broken sewer laterals and missing/broken cleanout caps can allow tree roots and debris into the pipe, which may cause blockages, building backups, or overflows in the environment. Leaking pipes can also allow wastewater to reach groundwater, which may contribute to water pollution.
Learn more: Tips for Maintaining Your Sanitary Sewer Lateral
This diagram represents a typical house. However, pipe layouts may differ.
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