What is a lateral? What is a prohibited connection?
A private lateral is the underground pipe that connects the customer's property to the KUB sewer system. Under KUB Rules and Regulations and area plumbing codes, property owners own and must maintain their laterals just as they would any other pipe or plumbing fixture. A prohibited connection is something that allows stormwater, which can overload sewers and contribute to overflows, to enter the KUB sewer system. Prohibited connections include roof downspouts, groundwater sump pumps, foundation drains, and drains from window wells, driveways, etc. Stormwater should go to the stormwater sewers, drainage ditches, or soak into the ground. 

How will I know if I have a problem?
As part of its Private Lateral Program (PLP), KUB notifies property owners when defective private laterals or prohibited connections to the sewer system are discovered. Such problems violate area plumbing codes and KUB Rules and Regulations, and KUB must terminate water service at properties where owners do not comply with requirements to repair laterals. 

If you have been notified by KUB that your sewer lateral has defects and/or prohibited connections, you should contact a plumber to schedule the needed work. KUB does not recommend or guarantee any particular service provider. The plumbers listed have indicated they are licensed and bonded.

How and when will I be notified?

  • First KUB sends a Notice of Noncompliance (NONC) packet by certified mail.
  • 30 days: KUB sends a Notice of Violation (NOV) letter by certified mail if repairs are not completed; deadline for appeals is 14 days after the NOV.
  • 60 days: The Private Lateral Program Coordinator attempts to contact the property owner to ensure the owner is aware of required repairs if it appears the first and second notices were not received.
  • 90 days: KUB sends an Urgent Final Notice by certified mail saying the property's water service will be shut off in 30 days if the issue is not resolved.
  • 110 days: KUB leaves a door hanger saying water service will be shut off in 10 days unless the owner arranges to correct the problem.
  • 119 days: KUB makes a final contact attempt before shutting off water.
  • 120 days: KUB turns off water service and leaves a door hanger as notice.

What if I can't afford the required work?
You may qualify for aid through a KUB-funded grant program. Also, you can speak with area lenders who may offer loan products to help property owners make repairs. 

The Community Action Committee (CAC) administers the grant program for KUB, and the CAC determines who qualifies for aid. Approval is based on income, but not income alone. The CAC adjusts for family size, medical expenses, and other qualifying factors. Only owners (or financially responsible parties, for example, those in lease-to-own agreements) of residential properties under PLP enforcement are eligible to apply for grant assistance.

To see if you qualify for a grant to repair your lateral, please call the CAC at 637-9073. If you don't qualify for aid, you should contact a plumber to schedule the needed work. KUB publishes the click here for the proper form.

Defects and prohibited connections also let stormwater enter KUB sewers. That extra water costs more to treat, and it may overload the system, causing overflows. Prohibited connections include roof downspouts, groundwater sump pumps, foundation drains, and drains from window wells, driveways, etc.If required sewer lateral repairs, including removal of illicit connections, are not completed within the 120-day time frame given, KUB must terminate water service to the property. The City of Knoxville Codes Department is notified any time water service is terminated inside City limits, and the property may be condemned for not completing the required repairs. Once repairs are completed, water service can be reinstated, and City Codes is notified to remove any condemnations on the property due to the sewer lateral. For questions on this process, please call 594-8270.