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North Bay Watershed Association September 11, 2009

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Lateral Program Update Seeking to Resolve a Difficult Public / Private Problem. North Bay Watershed Association September 11, 2009 . Part I In the Beginning…. Co-Sponsors of the Lateral Program. Central Marin Sanitation Agency Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District

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Lateral Program Update

Seeking to Resolve a

Difficult Public / Private Problem

North Bay Watershed Association

September 11, 2009

co sponsors of the lateral program
Co-Sponsors of the Lateral Program
  • Central Marin Sanitation Agency
  • Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District
  • North Marin Water District
  • Sausalito Marin City Sanitary District
  • Sewerage Agency of Southern Marin
  • Novato Sanitary District
  • San Rafael Sanitary District
  • Ross Valley Sanitary District
  • Sanitary District No. 2 of Marin County
why marin lateral program was formed
Why Marin Lateral Program Was Formed
  • Joint public agency response to public concerns
  • Better technical analysis of a complex issue
  • Develop common standards and requirements to help plumbers and homeowners
our strategy
Our Strategy
  • Understand and outline the technical issues
  • Interact with stakeholders first to test the response and get feedback
    • Present the problem
    • Then proposed solutions
  • Then present it to the broad general public
  • Take recommendations to local agencies for their consideration, adoption

Plumbers □ Realtors

Environmental Groups

Leaders □ Legislators

Within Months


The Problem:Privately-Owned Laterals. You Can Help Solve It!

Protect Your Home, Health and Environment

June 17, 2009

what a private lateral is
What a Private Lateral Is

Collection Pipeline

Upper Lateral

Overflow Prevention Device

Lower Lateral

storm drains are not sanitary sewers
Storm Drains Are NOT Sanitary Sewers

Storm Drains collect stormwater and runoff, then discharging it untreated into the Bay

Sanitary Sewers collect sewage, then deliver it to a treatment plant where it is cleaned, discharge into the Bay or recycled

Private Laterals connect a home or business to the sanitary sewers

explaining sewer spills
Explaining Sewer Spills

Blockages occur in the sewer mains, mostly from roots and grease

These blockages cause backups in the pipelines and in turn cause sewage spills

Spills and overflowsare also caused by heavy stormwater flows into the sewers

Spillsare prohibited by law, leading to heavy fines, regulatory actions, and lawsuits



inflow infiltration i i cause major problems
Inflow & Infiltration (I&I) Cause Major Problems
  • Inflow – direct flow of stormwater into a sanitary sewer system from downspouts, drains, yards, parking lots and streets
  • Infiltration – Indirect flow of stormwater into a sanitary sewer system at open joints and cracks

Wastewater volumes can increase 1000% or more

inflow and infiltration i i also affects treatment plants
Inflow and Infiltration (I&I) Also Affects Treatment Plants
  • I&I flows to sewage treatment plants can exceed plant capacities
  • This can affect treatment operations and effectiveness
  • Lead to discharges exceeding regulations
regulatory hammer
Regulatory Hammer
  • East Bay cities will limited on wastewater volume discharged to the treatment plant.
  • Must address lateral infiltration problem over next 10-20 years. Costs could be $300 million!
  • Also must tighten up mains: $1.7 billion
  • If that is not effective $1 billion + in treatment/storage
  • Similar requirements expected to be imposed everywhere in next 5 to 15 years
  • Our goal: develop our own cost-effective solutions—before we are forced to do it a more painful way
third party lawsuits
Third Party Lawsuits
  • Costly judgments and settlements have resulted from legal action by environmental groups
    • Third parties sue regularly
    • Example: recent $1.6 million fine in Southern Marin and $2 million in Pacific Grove

We must decrease inflow and infiltration, stop sewer overflows and spills, to:

  • Protect the environment
  • Protect public health
  • Comply with new regulations, avoid regulatory fines
  • Avoid costly lawsuits
  • Avoid heavy cleanup costs
public agency solutions underway
Public Agency Solutions Underway

Decrease I&I from public systems through an aggressive pipeline repair /rehabilitation program

Establish storage tanks and/or ponds to temporarily store high storm flows to treatment plants

Expand treatment plant capacity

Develop a standard sewer lateral program for our area

Sanitary agencies are currently taking all these steps

what public agencies are doing
What Public Agencies Are Doing
  • Developing the Marin Lateral Program to facilitate solutions
  • Investing $250 million in pipelines, pumps, and treatment facilities
past decisions based on different standards
Past Decisions Based on Different Standards
  • Cheaper to build larger treatment plants for high flows than to fix mains and laterals
  • Blending and treating high stormwater flows was ok
  • Leave laterals alone – the problem is too difficult

But with $250 million already being invested in public systems….. ….it’s now time to deal with private laterals

you control the private laterals
You Control the Private Laterals

Upper Lateral

Lower Lateral

here s what you can do now
Here’s What You Can Do Now
  • Inspect your lateral
  • Maintainyour sewer lateral: use a qualified plumber or contractor
  • Obtain a permit from your sanitary agency before making lateral repairs
  • Disconnect outdoor drains that goto sewer laterals
About $250 million spent or budgeted for next five years or so by public agencies

Public agencies and Property owners must take responsibility for sewer laterals – or EPA will:$100 million for laterals$600 million for public mains$300 million for treatment/storage$1 billion total

Marin Lateral Program developing standards to make it easier to solve lateral problems

A Call to Action

some potential solutions
Some Potential Solutions


  • Education programs to help the public act. Add stuffers to water bills. Seek percentage cutback like conservation
  • Inspections. Free inspections
  • Disclosure by property sellers of the condition of their laterals.
  • Incentives to property owners to inspect and repair: through grants, loans, global construction and repair bids, insurance, reduced sewer service charges for demonstrated good laterals.
  • Mandatory inspection program with various potential triggers: health and safety, time period, remodeling, sale or transfer of title, change of service, distance to waterways, and others.
more potential solutions
More Potential Solutions


  • Targeted Repairs. Reduced costs by scheduling public agency lateral repairs while repairing mainlines,


  • Public Ownership, inspection and repair of the lower lateral
  • Public ownership, inspection and repair of the upper and lower lateral
  • Additional treatment, storage or collection system improvements to convey or store high flows.


  • Stimulus funding? State or Federal Grants?
technical program deliverables
Technical Program Deliverables
  • Technical standards are expected to be widely adopted
  • Portfolio of options for inspecting & repairing laterals + analysis agencies can use in selecting options
  • Model Ordinance
outreach program deliverables
Outreach Program Deliverables

Develop public understanding and support

Stakeholders, press, legislators have been informed

  • There is a problem
  • Private owners have responsibility
  • Public agencies are doing their part and facilitating public/private solutions

Now general public must understand and accept the program. Goal: achieve public and political understanding for agencies to pursue locally

outreach program tools
Outreach Program Tools
  • Regional website on this topic
  • Press coverage
  • Model written materials and graphics
  • Facebook
  • Public access TV
  • Advertising,
  • Public meetings, etc.
now a few questions for you
Now, A Few Questions For You
  • Questions or information you want analyzed in our review of potential solutions?
  • Individuals or groups that we should communicate with?
  • Best ways to communicate this information to the public?
  • Anything else?