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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do sewage spills happen?

Sewage spills occur when the wastewater in underground pipes overflows through a manhole, cleanout, or broken pipe. Most spills are relatively small and can be stopped and cleaned up quickly, but if spills are left unattended they can create health hazards, damage to homes and businesses, and threaten local waterways and the environment.

Common causes of spills are:

  • Grease build-up
  • Tree roots
  • Broken/cracked pipes
  • Missing or broken cleanout caps
  • Undersized sewers
  • Groundwater/rainwater entering the sewer system

How do I know if I have a sewage spill?

Sewage spills can be a very noticeable gushing of water from a manhole or a slow water leak that may take time to be noticed. If you think you may have a spill, look for: 

  • Drain backups inside the building.
  • Wet ground and/or water leaking around manhole lids onto the street.
  • Leaking water from cleanouts or outside drains.
  • Unusually odorous wet areas including sidewalks, external walls, and the ground or landscape around a building.

What should I do if I have a sewage spill on my property?

Immediately notify the City at 577-3434. If the problem occurs after 3:30 p.m. or on weekends/holidays, please call the San Leandro Police Department at 577-2740. Our crews will locate the blockage and determine whether it is in the public sewer; if it is, the crew will remove the blockage and arrange for cleanup.

If the backup is in your private internal plumbing or in the service laterals, you must contact a plumbing/sewer contractor to address the problem immediately. Public Works staff cannot provide recommendations for contractors.

Who is responsible for sewer repairs and maintenance?

You as the property owner are responsible for maintaining and repairing your service laterals (sewer pipes). Service laterals run from the connection at the home/business to the connection with the public sewer.

The City is responsible for maintaining and repairing the sewer main.

Who do I contact if I have questions about my sewer bill?

If you have questions about your sewer bill you can contact the Water Pollution Control Division of the Public Works Department at 577-3434 or submit a San Leandro Assist request. 

If you are located in the Oro Loma Sanitary District service area, please call (510) 276-4700.