Sewer Consent Decree FAQ

What has been done so far to address the inflow and infiltration problem?

  • EBMUD: An ordinance requiring all wastewater customers to repair or replace leaky private sewer laterals was enacted in 2010.
  • Oakland has spent over $300 million since the 1980s to improve its collections system and reduce flows.

What does the consent decree require us to do?

  • EBMUD must continue to enforce its private sewer lateral ordinance and make upgrades as needed to its 37 miles of pipelines. EBMUD must also implement a regional program to track down the largest sources of storm water entering the sewer system, and it must build and operate a project to remove pollutants from urban runoff in a portion of Oakland, further improving water quality in the Bay.
  • Oakland will:
    • Rehabilitate 13 miles of sewer pipes per year
    • Clean the entire sewer system by 2018 and 140 miles per year thereafter
    • Inspect 92 miles of sewer pipes per year
    • Treat 50 miles of sewer pipes with root foam (to remove tree roots that grow in sewers and can occasionally cause blockages) per year
    • Renovate all seven sewer pump stations by 2022
    • Eliminate high priority storm water inflow sources within two years wherever found
    • Inspect and clean sewer hot spots annually
    • Require private sewer lateral rehabilitation (initiated in 2012, regional requirement)
    • Report defective sewer laterals owned by local, state or federal entities to EPA
    • Rehabilitate identified sewer laterals owned by the City within 10 years
    • Notify owners of private property defective sewer laterals within 90 days
    • Enforce repairs on high priority defective sewer laterals
    • Assist EBMUD in development of sewer lateral education program
    • Formalize the previously implemented fat, oil and grease control (FOG) program

How much will this cost the ratepayers and taxpayers? Regionally and individually?

  • The work in Oakland is funded through sewer fees that were most recently adopted in 2010 by City Council. In the current budget there is $50 million per year for two years. No additional fee increases beyond cost-of-living are anticipated in the next five years.
  • EBMUD: The requirements of the private sewer lateral program affect property owners in the EBMUD wastewater service area in certain situations. Completely replacing a leaky private sewer lateral can cost a property owner aprroximately $4,000 to $6,000.
  • The total cost of repairing or replacing all private sewer laterals over the next 22 years is estimated at $500-$800 million regionally. The program to track down the largest sources of storm water will cost approximatley $2 million per year. The urban runoff treatment project will cost approximately $1.5 million.

Who has contributed most to the problem of raw sewage discharges and sewage back-ups?

  • It’s not necessarily the case that anyone has contributed more or less to the problem but more that with time we’ve all become more and more conscious of the need to be better stewards of our environment. What was considered a reasonable level of discharge to the Bay in the 1980s is no longer acceptable as the regulatory criteria have been raised.
  • We can all agree with that and we’re all committed to making our systems even cleaner over time. We all agree this is a problem best served with a regional approach, which this settlement represents. Everyone benefits from a cleaner San Francisco Bay.

Who is going to pay for these infrastructure upgrades?

  • Ultimately everyone who benefits from a cleaner San Francisco Bay will need to share in the costs of improving our urban infrastructure: property owners, residents, businesses, ratepayers and taxpayers of the cities and districts in the region.

Who benefits from this settlement?

  • San Francisco Bay and everyone who cares about keeping the Bay clean!

What happens to the wet weather facilities? Will they be mothballed?

  • The wet-weather facilities will still be used to store and treat flows from the largest storms, but their use will become less frequent as the amount of storm water entering the sewers is reduced over time.

How are we doing with the requirements?

  • Refer to the Annual Reports and periodic Agenda Reports.

Posted: August 31st, 2018 3:44 PM

Last Updated: January 20th, 2021 8:02 PM

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