Sewer System

Residential Plumbing Systems and Sewer Laterals

The City is responsible for maintaining the sewer system main (the large collector pipes connected to individual sewer user). Property owners are responsible for plumbing systems on their property and sewer laterals for the entire distance to the connection to the sewer main. Plumbing and laterals on both private property and within the public right-of-way must be maintained in proper working order to prevent discharge of sewage from overflows or leakage into buildings, onto the ground, or into the storm drain system.

For questions about plumbing problems within buildings, please call the Building and Safety Services Section at (510) 577-3405.

For questions about sewer lateral problems that may impact the storm drain system, please call the Environmental Services Section at (510) 577-3401.

A property owner's sewer pipes, known as service laterals, stretch from their home's connection all the way to the public sewer link. It's the property owner's job to keep these service laterals in good shape, up to the point where they connect with the City's sewer main.

  1. City Responsibilities
  2. Sanitary Sewer Master Plan (SSMP)

The City is responsible for:          

  • Operating and maintaining local and regional sewer lines
  • Protecting City property & streets, the local storm drain system, sewage collection system and other public areas
  • Collecting, treating and disposing of wastewater

Sewage spills occur when the wastewater in underground pipes overflows through a manhole, cleanout, or broken pipe. Common causes of spills include:

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