Lateral Program Update
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North Bay Watershed Association September 11, 2009 - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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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

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Part IIn the Beginning…

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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

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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

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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

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

Protect Your Home, Health and Environment

June 17, 2009

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What a Private Lateral Is

Collection Pipeline

Upper Lateral

Overflow Prevention Device

Lower Lateral

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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

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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



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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

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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

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Example: Stormwater FloodsTreatment Plant

December 31, 2005


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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

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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

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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

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Public Agency Solutions Underway overflows and spills, to:

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

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What Public Agencies Are Doing overflows and spills, to:

  • Developing the Marin Lateral Program to facilitate solutions

  • Investing $250 million in pipelines, pumps, and treatment facilities

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Past Decisions Based on Different Standards overflows and spills, to:

  • 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

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You Control the Private Laterals overflows and spills, to:

Upper Lateral

Lower Lateral

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Here’s What You overflows and spills, to: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

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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

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Some Potential Solutions so by public agencies


  • 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.

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More Potential Solutions so by public agencies


  • 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?

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What’s Next so by public agenciesTake it Public and Wrap Up The Program

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Technical Program Deliverables so by public agencies

  • Technical standards are expected to be widely adopted

  • Portfolio of options for inspecting & repairing laterals + analysis agencies can use in selecting options

  • Model Ordinance

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Outreach Program Deliverables so by public agencies

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

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Outreach Program Tools so by public agencies

  • Regional website on this topic

  • Press coverage

  • Model written materials and graphics

  • Facebook

  • Public access TV

  • Advertising,

  • Public meetings, etc.

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Next Steps so by public agencies

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What Else Can You Do? so by public agencies

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Sample Materials so by public agencies

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Driving Home in the Rain, so by public agenciesJim Had a Terrible Thought: My Lateral Might Be Leaking

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Do You Have Any Questions for Us so by public agencies?

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Now, A Few Questions For You so by public agencies

  • 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?

Contact us info@marinlaterals org visit our web site marinlaterals org thank you l.jpg

Contact us: so by public agenciesVisit our Web site: marinlaterals.orgThank You