Ordinance Air Testing

Each district adopted their ordinance in the mid-1980s. They require testing of the exterior sewer (house clean out and property line clean out), checking the integrity of the sewer line for leakage, defect, improper installation and shifting of the ground (causing breaks).

The ordinance has two purposes:

  • To prevent groundwater from entering the system.
  • To prevent sewage from leaking into the groundwater and contaminating the environment.

Most existing sewer laterals are an acceptable pipe material for testing and repairing. Periodically, we encounter an asphaltic composite pipe (orangeburg) or terra cotta clay. Both of these materials deteriorate much faster than others and usually need to be completely replaced. The ordinance has actually led to the discovery of problems in the sewer that might otherwise have gone unnoticed.

Air pressure testing the sewer service will determine if the line is in need of repair or replacement due to leakage.

In effect since the late 1980s, the ordinance maintains an aging system and ensures upgrades and repairs to protect against sewer spills and pollution.

Testing is good for 5 years, and required in case of:

  • A change of ownership
  • A new construction
  • A remodel

Lateral Clean Out Assembly


Process & Procedure

Check with your local utility district to confirm that testing is required.

If so, Contact Our Office and we will complete an Order Form and give you an estimate. our estimates are free and depending on the season, turn around time can be anywhere from 2 days to a week. No work can be scheduled without an estimate. It determines what is required and how much time to allow for scheduling.

Plan Ahead!

We might be booked out as much as 3 to 6 weeks at a time. It is best to arrange for an estimate when you first list your home. An estimate is free and can remain pending until you give authorization. Call to schedule as soon as you open escrow and we will work with you to get it done in time for closing.

The amount of a lump sum proposal may be reduced if a portion of the work is not completed as expected. Any extra work that exceeds the proposal will be billed as time and materials with prior authorization.

Failed testing indicates a leak in the line that needs to be repaired. The next step is to isolate the line to locate the leak, dig down to make the repair and re-test. Leak isolation is done by testing small sections of the line to pin-point its location.


On occasion, when factors such as weather prevent ordinance work from being completed prior to escrow closing, some districts will allow a “withhold” amount to be held in escrow until the required work is finished. This amount is determined by the utility district. Withholds are authorized by the district and should never be used as an excuse for lack of lead time.


  • Two clean outs (see illustrations) one outside the foundation and one on the property line.
  • If the line is more than 75’, a mid line cleanout is required.
  • Clean outs must be to grade (ground level) and boxed.
  • If the line is under 10’, an inspector may waive testing.

Sewer Lateral Residential/Commerical


Cleanouts give access for testing, cleaning and emergencies. The sewer line must hold 3.5 PSI of air pressure for a minimum of 5 minutes to pass testing. A loss of 1/2 PSI of pressure is allowable on an existing line, no loss is permissible for a new line.

Districts require re-testing and work to be performed by a licensed pipeline, plumbing or general engineering contractor.

The homeowner can perform work with a refundable bond of $500.00.

If the test fails, an additional cost will be incurred for repair, replacement, or to meet district codes.

Tapco is authorized to test sewer services in the following districts:

  • Tahoe City P.U.D.
  • North Tahoe P.U.D.
  • Truckee Sanitary District
  • Northstar Community Services P.U.D.
  • Incline Village G.I.D.,
  • Donner Summit P.U.D.

Ready to place an order for ordinance work? Go straight to the Order Form.



Have questions? We’re here to help!

What is ordinance testing?

When do I have to have it done?

How long is testing good for?

How is the testing done?

What is a clean out?

What is “grade”?

What does a failing test mean?

How do you find the leak?

Still Have Questions?

Can’t find the answers you’re looking for? Chat with a member of our team.

Tapco Construction, Inc.

Let's Talk

Ready to talk estimates or learn more about our services?

Give us a call at 530.546.4231 or fill out a Contact form HERE.


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Kings Beach, CA 96143



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Kings Beach, CA 96143



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