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Sanitary Sewer Maintenance
A Shared Responsibility
The Sewer Services Division of Oakland Public Works is responsible for performing preventive maintenance to over 920 miles of sewer main, ranging from six inches to over 66 inches in diameter. Preventive maintenance consists of closed circuit television (CCTV) inspections, cleaning and performance of minor repairs. Larger repairs are given to the Engineering and Construction Division for completion. Sewer Services staff also make recommendations to City engineers for complete pipe rehabilitation projects.
The waste water collection system (sewers) in Oakland conveys wastewater from homes and businesses to the East Bay Municipal Utilities District (EBMUD) treatment plant. Oakland property owners are responsible for the private sewer laterals that connect their homes to the sewer system, including the lower lateral.
The Sewer Services Division has an array of equipment that is used for sewer maintenance, including CCTV units, power-rodding trucks and hydro-flusher trucks. This equipment visually inspects sewer pipes, cleans pipes and clears blockages. Blockages are caused by debris; fats, oils and grease; and tree roots that gather in sewer pipes.
Normal operating hours for the Sanitary Sewer Division are Monday through Friday from 7:00 AM to 3:30 PM. Standby crews are on call during non-business hours to address overflows and other sewer-related emergencies.
What Goes Down the Drain
What You Put Down Your Drain Matters!
Putting debris down the drain contributes to sewer overflows that can backup into your neighborhood, your home or nearby waterways. Debris, such as used bandages, cleaning wipes, cotton swabs (including Q-Tips) and makeup pads, feminine hygiene products, floss, kitty litter and the like, should never be flushed down the drain.
"Flushable" wipes are one of the biggest problems for Oakland sewers. Wipes should never be flushed, even if the package indicates the wipes are "flushable".
Fats, Oils and Grease
Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG), harden in the sewer system and can contribute to sewer overflows. Pour cooled FOG into a sturdy container and recycle or discard it in your green yard trimmings cart or garbage. Sending food down the drain, even if you use a garbage disposal/grinder, contributes to sewer overflows. Always scrape your plates and set aside your food scraps. Food scraps can be recycled in your green yard trimmings carts. This will help protect your home and your family from messy and expensive sewer problems.
Visit the City of Oakland FOG Website for more information.
Only wastewater should be sent down your drains!