January 16, 2020
EBMUD readying storm response
Residents and businesses urged to repair their sewer pipes
OAKLAND - EBMUD wastewater operators are busy firing up the Point Isabel wet weather facility to manage the increased sewer flows from today’s storm. Heavy downpours can increase water coursing into EBMUD’s wastewater treatment system tenfold – from 50 million gallons to about 500 million gallons. During storms, excess rain water enters the sewer system through cracks in old municipal pipes in the street and smaller private pipes connecting to homes and businesses.
These sewer pipes ultimately flow to the EBMUD Wastewater Treatment Plant located at the foot of the Bay Bridge. Heavy rains strain the treatment plant, potentially causing the release of partially treated wastewater into San Francisco Bay. To prepare for the higher volume of stormwater, EBMUD activates wet weather facilities that divert and treat some of the flows from the EBMUD Wastewater Treatment Plant. Crews who operate these facilities – sometimes in the dead of night, and always in the cold rain – must quickly adapt and respond to changing weather conditions, as well as unexpected power outages.
EBMUD is doing its part by upgrading its massive sewer pipes, including recently rehabilitating a pipe in West Oakland that collects wastewater from three East Bay cities. This 105-inch diameter pipe, large enough to stand in, had excessive corrosion after 60 years of continuous service. As part of its improvements, EBMUD inserted segments of new fiberglass-reinforced pipe into the existing sewer to prevent further corrosion and flooding.
We need businesses and homeowners to help, since much of the excess flow enters the sewer system through cracks in private laterals that connect individual properties to city sewer lines. By ensuring their private sewer laterals are inspected and repaired, East Bay property owners can help keep San Francisco Bay clean.
“It will take all of us working together to reduce the excess flows – EBMUD, cities, and private property owners,” said EBMUD’s Director of Wastewater Eileen White. “Residents and businesses can take an important step in protecting San Francisco Bay by fixing or replacing their damaged private sewer lines.”
Under federal and state mandates, property owners in the EBMUD service area are required to have their private sewer laterals inspected and certified leak-free. This can be done at any time, but is required during property sale, large remodels or changes in water meter size. Special requirements apply to properties with homeowners associations (HOA), such as planned developments and condos. If you live in one, make sure your HOA has started the compliance process. For more information on fixing your private sewer lateral, visit eastbaypsl.com or call 1-866-403-2683.