Got a backup

Call us first

Call the District first Monday to Friday 7:30 am to 4:30 pm at (408) 385-3090, or after hours at (408) 299-2507 if you experience any sewer overflows, backups, or other sewer-related problems at your residence or business at no additional charge as its included in the monthly sewer service you pay. The District will dispatch a crew to check the District sanitary sewer main; and if there is an existing property line cleanout, as shown in figure 1 below, inspect and clear any stoppages in the building sewer lateral between the property line cleanout and the District sanitary sewer main.

If the District determines the problem is not in our sanitary sewer main or your building lower sewer lateral, then calling a contractor/plumber would be advised to check your building upper sewer lateral and residence indoor plumbing for a blockage. Please do not run your water until your backup is cleared.

Your responsibility

You as the property owner are responsible to keep the building sewer clear between the building and the property line cleanout if there is one as shown in Figure 1. If there is no property line cleanout or the location is unknown, the property owner is responsible for clearing the building sewer to the District sanitary sewer main. In these circumstances, a hired professional plumber may be warranted to clear any stoppages in your building sewer lateral.

Building Sanitary Sewer Lateral Maintenance Responsibility Diagram

Figure 1 - Building sewer maintenance responsibility between Property Owner and District.

You may have a device installed for wastewater backflow protection that is blocking your wastewater flow

If present, a device for wastewater backflow protection (BPD) on your property has a flap that will close when sewage is backing up from a blockage located away from your residence. The blockage could be in the building lower sewer lateral or our sanitary sewer main. Once the flap is closed, sewage backing up from the blockage will not reach your residence. Depending on the topography of your property and the location of the blockage, sewage may come out of your BPD riser onto the surface before spilling out of our system.

However, the flap of the BPD could malfunction and close if not properly maintained. You should check the BPD at intervals recommended by the BPD manufacturer (typically every three to six months) to ensure that the flap is able to move freely and the device is free from sediment.

When the BPD flap is closed, sewage from your residence will not flow to our system and will start backing up in your building sewer and could potentially enter your residence through plumbing drains and damage your residence floors and furnishings.

You will need to apply for a permit if you are working on your building sewer lateral

When you need to perform work on your building upper sewer lateral to address a backup, apply for a permit to ensure access to your building lower sewer lateral meets standards in order for District Operations staff to perform maintenance activities.

We can assist you in replacing your severely deteriorated residence upper sewer lateral

An interest-free five-year term loan as a lien against your property, maximum amount of $3,500, is available for you as a homeowner to assist in replacing your failing, or failed building upper sewer lateral located on your property that connects to a District sewer main located in the public right-of-way. Funding is available on a first-approved, first-served basis, for homeowners with single family residential properties and limited to only one sewer lateral per property and one property per homeowner for the life of the District's Private Lateral Replacement Program (PLRP).  Follow the steps below to begin the process.



Determine your lateral connection

Enter the information in the form below and our staff will inform you if your residence building upper sewer lateral is connected to our sanitary sewer main in a public right-of-way, and that you may continue with the PLRP application process.

form_icon_small PLRP Qualification Form


Televise your lateral and submit replacement application

Once you have been determined to be eligible for the PLRP, you will need to contact a closed circuit television (CCTV) contractor (identified in the District Sewer Work Registered Contractors List) to inspect and assess the condition of your building upper sewer lateral; in the amount of approximately $300. Once the CCTV inspection is completed, complete the PLRP application form below and upload the CCTV inspection file for us to review.

form_icon_smallPLRP CCTV Submittal Form


District reviews your CCTV and replacement application

District will review your PLRP application and the CCTV inspection to assess the significance of the defects in your building upper sewer lateral and its serviceability condition. The District's assessment is final for purposes of approving the PLRP application. The District will inform you whether the PRLP application has been approved or declined.

If approved, the District will perform a field check to identify if a property line cleanout and/or a device for wastewater backflow protection will be required; and indicate that a preliminary loan allocation has been made. You will then have thirty (30) calendar days from the date of being notified of your PRLP application approval to secure a contract with a construction contractor that meets the District requirements.


Obtain and submit contractor bids

Within thirty (30) calendar days after the PLRP application approval date, select a construction contractor to replace your residence upper building sewer lateral and install a property line cleanout and/or a device for wastewater backflow protection as indicated in the approval letter, and submit the bid with the form listed in this section. If you decide, within the thirty (30) calendar days, to use a different construction contractor, submit the replacement bid with the below form.

It is typically a good idea to obtain more than one construction contractor bid to determine the most competitive and qualified. The lowest price is only one factor that you may want to consider. Other factors include the scope of work being proposed, the construction contractor's experience and qualifications, and your comfort level with a particular construction contractor.

form_icon_smallPLRP Contractor Bid Submittal Form


District reviews your contractor bids for approval

The District will review the construction contractor's bid and scope of work and determine which scope of work qualifies for loan repayment; such as CCTV assessment/inspection, property line cleanout installation, BPD installation, local agency jurisdiction permit fees, and concrete walkway and landscaping restoration. Subsequently, a PLRP loan allocation confirmation letter with the approved loan amount will be sent to you. You will have ninety (90) calendar days from the letter date to complete all the scope of work identified in the construction contractor's bid.


Obtain work permits and complete work

Within ninety (90) calendar days after the PLRP loan allocation letter approval date, 1) local agency with jurisdiction permit as well as a District permit (fees will be waived) shall be obtained, 2) all work shall be completed, and 3) final permit inspections by the local agency with jurisdiction and the District shall be completed. You will need to pay the construction contractor for all scope of work performed.


Obtain and submit grant deed and contractors invoices

You will need to obtain and submit to the District a certified Grant Deed of your property from the Santa Clara County Recorder's Office along with your construction contractor invoices and payment receipts.


District prepares loan documents

The District will review the construction contract invoices and payment receipts and prepare PLRP loan documents with the final loan amount.


Sign PLRP loan document and record with County

The person(s) shown on your property grant deed, or the person given Power of Attorney for a trust (documentation must be provided) will need to sign the PLRP loan documents. You will need to record the signed PLRP loan documents at the Santa Clara County Recorder's Office, and provide the District a copy of the recorded PLRP loan documents.


District distributes loan and creates property tax bill special assessment

Once the District receives a copy of the recorded PLRP loan documents, a PLRP loan check will be processed. The PLRP loan check along with a letter showing the schedule of payments to be made on your property tax bill will be mailed to you.


Loan payments made on property tax bill and District release

You pay the PLRP loan payment included in your property tax bill; and upon repaying the PLRP loan, the District will release the lien on your property.