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Sanitary Sewer System
Facts About Oakland’s Infrastructure – Sanitary Sewer System
- Oakland’s underground contains over 930 miles of sanitary sewer pipes, the approximate distance from City Hall to Denver, CO.
- The sanitary sewer system includes 31,000 structures and seven pump/lift stations.
- We all share in the responsibility:
- Property owners are responsible for the sewer lateral, which is the pipe connecting the house or building to the public sanitary sewer main.
- The City of Oakland is responsible for the public sanitary sewer main pipes that carry waste to the treatment plant. Please refer to the Oakland Municipal Codes.
- East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) is responsible for sanitary sewer treatment and disposal. EBMUD manages the issuance of the Regional Private Sewer Lateral Compliance Certificates.
- A sewer service charge on your EBMUD water bill is used for capital repairs and maintenance of the sanitary sewer system.
- Most of the system is more than 50 years old, and some parts are as old as 100 years.
- Oakland Public Works responds to more than 2,900 calls annually, providing routine pipe inspection and maintenance.
Fats, Oil & Grease (FOG) Clog Your Drains
Liquid cooking oil & fat from animal products solidifies & clogs pipes. Pouring FOG down your household drain contributes to sewage problems near your home or even further down the pipeline. Pipes blocked with fats, oil & grease can result in a sewage backup into your home, sewage over flows into City streets, parks & waterways causing a public health risk that threaten our environment. Please see the FOG Brochure for more information and locations where you may safely discard your FOG.
There are several programs working together to keep things flowing cleanly in Oakland!
Sanitary Sewer Maintenance Department
The sanitary sewer maintenance department is responsible for the daily maintenance and operations of the City of Oakland's sanitary sewer main lines and pump stations.
Report a Problem
The Report a Problem tool enables you to request a public works maintenance service. Please note that this website is for NON-EMERGENCY services only! For potential emergency situations, call the Public Works Call Center at (510) 615-5566.
Sanitary Sewer and Storm Drainage Design Department
Responsible for the overall planning and management of the Sanitary Sewer and Storm Drainage Capital Improvements Program, this section establishes and updates Design Guidelines standards to ensure that Oakland complies with regulations. Engineering services are also provided to other City departments as requested. For a Sanitary Sewer Project Review Checklist, click here.
Capital Improvement Projects
The projects you will find are those designed to upgrade and improve the City’s infrastructure including building facilities, parks/open space, streets, sidewalks and sewers. Projects involving maintenance and repair of existing facilities are not shown here.
Regional Private Sewer Lateral (PSL) Program
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in collaboration with the California Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) is spearheading an effort to keep the Bay clean. The EPA and RWQCB are requiring the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD), six East Bay cities and one sewer district to fix old, cracked sanitary sewer pipes to ensure they don't allow the infiltration of rainwater which can overwhelm wastewater treatment facilities, resulting in untreated or partially treated sewage being released into the Bay. As a result, EBMUD and its partners are phasing in a Regional Private Sewer Lateral (PSL) Ordinance in some East Bay communities. Affected property owners will be required to obtain a certificate from EBMUD indicating that their PSLs are without defects and have proper connections. Follow the link to EBMUD's website for the requirements on the East Bay Regional Private Sewer Lateral Program.
Sanitary Sewer Infiltation and Inflow (I/I) Reduction Program
Sanitary Sewer Smoke Testing
Smoke Testing is used to detect storm water inflow sources such as roof downspouts, driveway drains, area and yard drains, foundation drains and storm water drainage system cross connections. It can also detect structural deterioration and leaking joints in the sanitary sewer collection system and within the private sewer laterals. Smoke testing is one of the most efficient method of locating sources of I/I within sewered areas.
The smoke is non-toxic and non-hazardous and is manufactured specifically for this purpose. It leaves no residuals or stains, and has no effects on plants or animals. The smoke should not enter your home, but if it does, it will have a distinct odor and should only last a few minutes with proper ventilation. Please note, all plumbing fixture drain traps must be filled with water prior to smoke testing.
See also Storm Drain Maintenance.