Sewer Lateral Ordinance Proposed for Sanitation Zones & Districts


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    For Immediate Release - May 18, 2018
    Ann DuBay 
    707.524.8378 (office)
    707.322.8185 (cell)
    Brad Sherwood
    707.547.1927 (office)
    707.322.8192 (cell)
    Santa Rosa, CA – The Sonoma County Water Agency (Water Agency) will hold a series of community meetings to discuss a proposed sewer lateral ordinance aimed at preventing sewer overflows that occur during heavy rains.
    The ordinance would provide the Water Agency the ability to inspect, and if necessary, require the repair of sewer laterals that are failing and contributing to pollution and sewer overflows. The proposed ordinance would not include mandatory inspections or repairs at this time, but would allow the Water Agency to require repairs if faulty laterals are detected during their own scheduled inspections. The ordinance is proposed in five Sonoma County sanitation zones and districts managed by the Water Agency.
    “From research, we know that private sewers typically require repair after 20 or 30 years. In several neighborhoods, field inspectors have reported excessive flows in the sewer system – an indication that stormwater has entered the sewer and repairs are needed,” said James Gore, Water Agency Director, who also serves as a director to the Airport-Larkfield-Wikiup and Geyserville Sanitation Zones. “The Water Agency and Sanitation Zones are committed to working with property owners to address this challenge together.”
    The proposed ordinance is intended to reduce “inflow and infiltration,” the process through which storm water enters the sewer collection system during storms. During a heavy rain, storm water from cracked or improperly connected private laterals can overwhelm the sanitary system, resulting in sewer overflows. These overflows pollute creeks, and can damage private property and result in fines to the zone or district.
    “Reducing inflow and infiltration is an essential measure to protect our waterways and reduce risk to private property,” said Water Agency Director Lynda Hopkins, who also serves as a sanitation district director. “The Water Agency is taking proactive steps to maintain the public infrastructure.”
    To gather input on the proposed ordinance, the Water Agency will host four community meetings to share additional information and discuss community concerns.
    Community Meetings
    Geyserville & Airport-Larkfield-Wikiup Sanitation Zones
    6:30 – 8:00 pm
    Tuesday, June 19
    Sonoma County Water Agency
    404 Aviation Blvd
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Russian River County Sanitation District & Occidental County Sanitation District
    6:30 – 8:00 pm
    Tuesday, June 26
    Monte Rio Community Center
    20488 CA-116
    Monte Rio, CA
    Sea Ranch Sanitation Zone
    11:00 am – 12:30 pm
    Saturday, July 28
    Del Mar Rec Center
    20600 Leeward Road
    The Sea Ranch, CA
    The Water Agency anticipates that a proposed ordinance would go the Board of Directors in fall of 2018 and, if approved, would take effect a year later. The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors serves as the Board of Directors for the Water Agency and for the sanitation zones and districts.
    For more information about private sewer laterals, visit
    The Sonoma County Water Agency is working to secure our future by investing in our water resources, community and environment.  The Water Agency provides water supply, flood protection and sanitation services for portions of Sonoma and Marin counties. Visit us on the Web at



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