Did you know that wet weather conditions frequently overwhelm the town's sewer system and caused more than 89 public sewer system overflows from December 2004 to January 2009? These occurrences result in raw sewage overflowing onto streets, down storm drains and directly into the San Francisco Bay. In late 2009, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board issued the town a Cease and Desist Order under which the town is mandated to develop a comprehensive plan to eliminate public sewer system overflows.
Results of Investigations
The town has carefully investigated the causes of its sewer system overflows, along with options to eliminate further occurrences. These investigations revealed the following:
- Many of the town's aging sewer pipelines are defective and must be replaced.
- The capacity of the sewer pipelines and systems must be increased wherever possible to accommodate greater volumes of sewer flow that occur during wet weather.
- Many of the pipes that connect individual properties to the main sewer system are cracked, have been punctured by tree roots, and/or are otherwise degrading. These pipes, known as sewer laterals, also allow excess water to flow into the system during wet weather conditions, and raw sewage to leak out during dry weather conditions. This raw sewage can contaminate the surrounding ground. Blockages can also cause sewer backups in homes.
Sewer Repair & Rehabilitation Plan
Based on these findings and in order to maintain compliance with the Cease and Desist Order, the town is implementing an initial 5-year, $25.5 million program to repair and/or replace defective sewer pipelines, while at the same time encouraging and incentivizing the voluntary repair or replacement of faulty sewer laterals by private property owners.
The sewer repair and rehabilitation plan will address three major areas