Translation Disclaimer

Department of Public Works
Department of Public Works

Sanitary Sewer Program

IMPORTANT: for sewer backups, overflows or emergencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, please contact Customer Service at (510) 981-6620.

The City is responsible for maintaining City-owned sewer mains and lower sewer laterals. The lower sewer lateral connects the sewer main in the street to the cleanout, usually located behind the street curb. The property owner is responsible for maintenance, repair, or replacement of the upper sewer lateral, which is usually 4 inches in diameter, and runs from the cleanout to the private property dwelling.

Sanitary Sewer Management Plan

The City of Berkeley has updated its Sewer System Management Plan (SSMP) to meet the requirements established by the State Water Resources Control Board Order 2006-0003, Statewide General Discharge Requirements of Sanitary Sewer Systems. The goal of the SSMP is to minimize the frequency and severity of sanitary sewer overflows. The SSMP covers the management, planning, design, operation and maintenance of the City’s sanitary sewer system. The update of the SSMP was completed in May 2019. Revisions have been made since then, and are reflected in the files linked here.

The Updated SSMP may also be reviewed during usual business hours at the Public Works Engineering Division, 1947 Center Street, 4th floor. Interested parties can contact Tiffany Pham at (510) 981-6427 or for additional information.

Sewer System Hydraulic Modeling and Capacity Assessment:

Sanitary Sewer Smoke Testing Program

Private Sewer Lateral Compliance Program: Effective October 1, 2006

Sanitary Sewer System and Capital Improvement Program

The City of Berkeley provides wastewater collection and conveyance services to City customers. A large portion of the City's sewer system that has not been upgraded or replaced in the last 20 years is 50 – 100 years old and generally in a deteriorated condition. During intense, brief storms, flows in the sewer system can swell 5 – 10 times the dry weather sewer flows because of storm water infiltration. Cracks and open joints in the pipes allow rainwater and groundwater into the sewer system. This can result in overflows of diluted sewage and potential public health hazards. A Cease and Desist Order issued by the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) in March 1986 required that cities eliminate untreated sewage overflows.

A massive long- term Capital Improvement Program for sewer replacement and rehabilitation was initiated in fall 1987. The mandated compliance plan was developed to comply with the Cease and Desist Order. The objectives of the Program are to eliminate the overflow conditions, increase sewer carrying capacity, and to upgrade and replace the components of the sewer collection system. The long term Sewer Program is the City's largest capital improvement program and is financed entirely through sewer service charges.



E-mail the City concerning the Sanitary Sewer Capital Improvement Program.


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Department of Public Works, 2180 Milvia Street, Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: Phone: (510) 981-6300
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
TTY: (510) 981-6903