Sanitary Sewer System

The Public Works Department provides both routine maintenance and emergency response services for the city's sanitary sewer system. This on-going work protects both the public's health and the San Francisco Bay region's water quality by collecting and conveying wastewater to the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) main wastewater treatment plant.

After many months of negotiations, an agreement has been reached with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the State of California in the form of a Consent Decree (PDF) that requires the City to continue updating its sewer infrastructure to help protect the San Francisco Bay. Pursuant to the provisions of the Consent Decree the City must update the Asset Management Implementation Plan (AMIP) (PDF) to reflect the latest approved requirements. Similarly, the San Francisco Regional Water Board requires an update of our Sewer System Management Plan (SSMP) (PDF). Both the AMIP update (PDF) and SSMP update (PDF) plans were approved by City Council on August 4, 2014.

Prior to this Consent Decree, through a series of projects since 1995, the City has rehabilitated about 67 percent of the sanitary sewer system. It is our goal to continue with a program to complete the remainder of the system in the next 20 years to be in compliance with the provisions of the Consent Decree.

Report a Backup!

Suspected or visible sewage backups in the public sanitary sewer system should be reported to the City as soon as possible. Even if you are not sure, please call! Department personnel are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. During regular business hours, call the Public Works Department (510) 420-3050. After hours, on weekends and holidays, call the Police Dispatch (510) 420-3000.

Keep Fats, Oils and Grease Out of the Sanitary Sewer

Cooking fats, oils and grease, if washed down the drain, can lead to sewage back-ups at home, your business or in the City's sewer pipes. To reduce grease-related problems at home and to locate residential cooking oil recycling locations, see EBMUD's Residential Pollution Prevention.

Private Sewer Laterals

What is a private sewer lateral?
A private sewer lateral (PSL) is the underground pipe that transports wastewater from a private home or businesses to the City's sanitary sewer main pipes. In Piedmont, private sewer laterals comprise approximately 50 percent of the entire sanitary sewer system. The maintenance of the entire private sewer lateral is the responsibility of the property owner.

What causes the need for a sewer lateral inspection?

  1. The sale of the property.
  2. Remodeling of the property totaling more the $100,000.
  3. Requesting change in the size of the water meter serving the property.
  4. A written notice from the City of Piedmont regarding discovered irregularities in the PSL.

Sewer Connection

Do I need a building permit to repair or replace my private sewer lateral?
Yes. As the current building code requires, anytime a private sewer lateral needs to be repaired or completely replaced, a building permit is required to be obtained. If you are only getting an EBMUD Verification Test, that also requires a building permit so we have a record of that test in our house files.

How is EBMUD involved in the process?
In addition to the code required inspections made by the City of Piedmont for any sewer work, EBMUD also requires their own inspectors to witness a Verification Test. EBMUD will charge a separate fee for their inspection. Your sewer contractor can arrange for both the City and the EBMUD inspections.
Where can I get additional information on this subject?

  1. City of Piedmont, Dept. of Public Works, (510) 420-3050
  2. EBMUD PSL Ordinance website
  3. Piedmont Municipal Code, Chapter 17A (PDF)