Laterals

What's a lateral?

A lateral is the wastewater or stormwater pipe from an individual property to the council main. The lateral is a continuous pipe which may cross from private to public land (such as a road or recreation reserve), and may serve more than one property.

My lateral is blocked or broken. Who pays to fix it?

It depends. Each city has their own bylaw or policy as to who is responsible for fixing a lateral. In general, if the issue is within your property boundary, you are responsible. If the issue is outside your property boundary it depends on which city you live in. See below for a summary of your city’s lateral bylaw or policy.

Wellington

  • Property owners own and are responsible for the maintenance and renewal of laterals from their property until it connects to the council main 
  • Wellington City Council will fund a once-only removal of tree roots where the blockage has occurred from a tree located in the road reserve. The property owner is responsible for any further blockages due to tree roots

Porirua

  • Property owners own and are responsible for the maintenance and renewal of laterals within their property boundary
  • Porirua City Council own the laterals from the property boundary to the council main and is responsible for the maintenance and renewal
  • If the wastewater main runs through private property, the property owner is responsible for the maintenance and renewal of their lateral up to 1.5m before it connects to the main. Porirua City Council is responsible for the 1.5m section of the lateral before it connects to the wastewater main

Lower Hutt

  • Property owners own and are responsible for the maintenance and renewal of the lateral from their property to where it connects to the council main 
  • If the defect or blockage in the lateral is beyond the property boundary and within Council property, and it has not been caused by the property owner or occupier, Hutt City Council will take responsiblity for repairing the lateral
  • HCC is conscious that each case may have its own set of circumstances and will work on a “case by case” basis with the property owner to determine the best way forward

Upper Hutt
Note:

  • some laterals are wholly private (i.e. owned by the property owner from the property to the council main) and some private/public (the section within the property is private and the section from the property boundary to the council main is public) – contact UHCC if you are unsure
  • the property owner will need to employ a plumber or drain layer to establish the cause of the blockage

Blocked wastewater lateral

  • Where the lateral is private, the property owner owns and is responsible for the maintenance and renewal of the private lateral
  • If the defect that caused the blockage on the lateral is due to damage from a Council tree (as confirmed by a CCTV recording), UHCC will consider reimbursement for reasonable costs
  • If the lateral is public, and the blockage in the public lateral is due to a defect , such as tree roots or a collapsed pipe (as confirmed by a CCTV recording), UHCC will consider reimbursement for reasonable costs
  • If there is no obvious defect in the public lateral, the property owner is responsible for all costs incurred in clearing the blockage
  • If damage to the lateral has been caused by a utility company or third party (e.g. gas, electricity, phone, broadband) then the utility company or third party is responsible for the repair of the damage
  • If the blockage is caused by a blocked council main, contact UHCC

Blocked stormwater lateral

  • Stormwater laterals serving a property are the responsibility of the property owner. This includes the full cost of maintenance and repairs
  • Stormwater laterals are private through to the point of discharge at the public main or drain or street kerb and channel