Sanitary Sewer Maintenance

Sewer Collection System

The City operates and maintains 84 miles of gravity sanitary sewer pipelines that serve the majority of parcels within the 6.6 square mile City limits. Operations, maintenance, and repair activities include sewer line cleaning, root removal, manhole maintenance and repair, sewer line video inspection, and sewer lateral maintenance, repair, and replacement. The City’s wastewater collection system conveys untreated wastewater to Orange County Sanitation District’s (OCSD) trunk sewer system via 35 separate connections. OCSD conveys, treats, and disposes of the City’s wastewater flows via OCSD treatment plants. The City is responsible for maintaining the gravity sanitary sewer pipelines within its limits. 

Additional Information

If you need to report a sewer overflow during regular City Hall hours, please call (714) 993-8245, and 911 after hours.

Sanitary Sewer Collection Fees

On April 26, 2002, the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board ("RWQCB") issued Board Order ("Order") No. R8-2002-0014, which prohibited the discharge of untreated sewage to any surface water storm or drainage system. This Order included numerous provisions, including the requirement for every agency to prepare a Sewer System Management Plan (SSMP) to address all requirements of the Order by September 30, 2005. The SSMP is intended to reduce the number of sewer overflows that sometimes result in beach closures and other environmental violations. On March 15, 2005, the City Council adopted a sanitary sewer fee via Ordinance No. 2005-04 and established the Sewer Enterprise Fund to meet the increased costs and comply with the Santa Ana regulations RWQCB. Revenues received from this fee will be used only for the sanitary sewer collection system to help with:

  • Administrative Overhead
  • Billing expenses
  • Capital improvements
  • Maintenance and operations
  • Reserves

Current Fee Structure

On Tuesday, July 6, 2021, the City Council held a public hearing to consider increases to the City’s sewer service rates. The City Council held a study session on March 16 and April 20, 2021, to review the Study and proposed rates. On May 4, 2021, the City Council adopted Resolution No. R-2021-20 and directed City staff to initiate the Proposition 218 proceedings and set the public hearing date to consider the proposed rates. The City mailed out notices to all affected property owners on May 21, 2021.

On July 6, 2021, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. O-2021-07, which established new sewer rates including multi-year rate adjustments effective August 20, 2021, and thereafter July 1 for 2022, 2023, 2024, and 2025. The sanitary sewer maintenance fee is based on the use of the sewer system as it correlates to the consumption of water by different users. The user class fee per 100 cubic feet of water (CCF) is as follows:

User CategoryEffective on August 20, 2021Effective July 1, 2022Effective July 1, 2023Effective July 1, 2024Effective July 1, 2025
Single-Family Residential$0.72$0.74$0.76$0.79$0.81
Multi-Family Residental$0.82$0.84$0.87$0.89$0.92
Government & Public$0.72$0.74$0.76$0.79$0.81

Sewer Enterprise Fund: What does the City's Sewer Fee pay for? 

The City utilizes the revenues from the fees for the operation and maintenance of the City's sewer system in compliance with State and Federal regulations.  All revenue and expenditures related to the sewer services provided by the City are contained in the Sewer Enterprise Fund, which is separate from the City's General Fund and other funding sources. 

The City's Sewer Fee is separate from the charge that property owners see on their property tax bill. This charge is from the Orange County Sanitation District and is for treating the sewage collected by the City's sewer system.  None of that revenue goes to the City. 

Sewer System Management Plan

The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) adopted Order Number 2006-0003-DWQ, which requires all publicly owned sewage collection systems that have more than one mile of developed pipeline to implement and fund a Sewer System Management Plan (SSMP) which establishes the minimum requirements under which a public collection system must be operated and maintained.

The City conducts regular inspections and maintenance of the sewer system. Maintenance activities include annual line flushing of the entire system and closed-circuit television inspections (CCTV) to determine pipeline conditions and identify damaged sections.

Reports & Reference Documents 

2018 Sewer Master Plan  

In 2018, the City completed a Sanitary Sewer Master Plan (Master Plan) under a contract with Dudek Corporation. The Master Plan evaluated the capacity and condition of the City’s sanitary sewer system and outlined recommendations and improvements to provide adequate hydraulic capacity and improve the reliability of the collection system. The Master Plan identified a Sewer Capital Improvement Program (Sewer CIP) consisting of seven (7) capacity-related CIP projects, three (3) pipeline condition-related rehabilitation projects, and one (1) manhole rehabilitation project with an estimated cost of $15,972,000. A copy of this Master Plan can be accessed at the link below: