Yours and the District's Responsibilities

Ensuring the wastewater collection system properly transports wastewater to the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility is a cooperative venture between the District and Property Owners that dischage wastewater into the District wastewater collection system. You as a Property Owner can help matain a quality wastewater collection system, whether it's properly maintaining your building sewer that connects your property to the sanitary sewer main in the street or properly disposing of household hazardous waste rather than flushing it down the drain.

As a Property Owner your responsible for:

Keeping the building sewer clear between the building and the property line cleanout if there is one as shown in the below figure. If there is no cleanout or the location is unknown, the property owner is responsible for clearing the building sewer to the sanitary sewer main. In these circumstances, a hired professional plumber may be warranted to clear any stoppages in your building sewer.

Installing a property line cleanout. For purposes of minimizing your cost of building sewer maintenance, the installation of surface cleanouts, in accordance with District specifications and procedures, in each building sewer, at, or near, the point where a building sewer leaves a street and enters into private property is required.

Installing a backflow protection device if needed. In order to proctect any building that is connected to the wastewater collection system from a sewage backup, the property owner is required to install, at the property owner's sole cost, and maintain, at all times in operable condition, a sewage backflow protection device whenever:

  1. The lowest floor elevation of any building containing plumbing fixtures that are or will be connected to the District's wastewater collection system is less than one (1) foot above the surface elevation of the nearest upstream manhole, vertical riser, or similar structure located in the District's wastewater collection system capable of providing for overflow of sewage and relief of preasure developed by sewage; or
  2. The District Manager determines, in the Manager's discretion, and based upon specific site conditions, that the installation and maintenance of a backflow protection device is waranted.

Locating the building sewer and its connection to the wastewater collection system, although the District will attempt to assist with available records and information.

The District is responsible for:

  • Call us first if you experience any sewer overflows, backups, or other sewer-related problems at your residence or business—it's free of charge. The District maintains a 24-hour on-call service for emergencies, and will dispatch a crew to respond to your problem as quickly as possible, at no charge to the property owner.
  • Checking the sanitary sewer main; and if there is an existing property line cleanout, inspecting and clearing any stopages in the building sewer between the property line cleanout and the sanitary sewer main.
  • If a property owner hired plumber is unable to clear a stoppage due to a defect in the portion of the building sewer line in the public right of way, evaluating the damage and determining if a repair is necessary, provided a property line cleanout has been installed to District standards. If there is no cleanout to grade, a cleanout must first be installed at the property line. The District will perform no work on private property except within a public sewer or utility easement.
  • Working on private property for damage caused by sewage backup due to stoppages in the District sanitary sewer main, not from sewage backup due to a building sewer stoppage.
  • Not servicing building sewers in easements, as the property owner is responsible for clearing the building sewer to the sanitary sewer main.


Building sewer maintenance responsibility

FIGURE 1.  Building sewer maintenance resposibility between Property Owner and the District