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Sewer & Waste Water


 What types of pipe repair and replacement can I use?

You may dig up to repair your building sewer by traditional methods such as by hand or with a backhoe. You may also use trenchless pipe repair. In this method, 4” polyethylene pipe is pulled

through the old pipe leaving a brand new building sewer within the old building sewer. Trenchless pipe repair costs less than traditional methods if your building sewer is deep in the ground. It is helpful

as well when you do not wish to disturb your yard or driveway.

Am I allowed to divert rainwater runoff into my building sewer?

The City of Pacifica does not allow rainwater runoff into the Sanitary Sewer System because of the added cost of treating this water with sewage. The City has a separate drainage system specifically for runoff.

Am I allowed to drain my swimming pool into the sewer system?

Yes, you are required to do so. You cannot drain your pool into the street or storm drains.

Do I need a backflow prevention device?
If the elevation of the shower drain, bathtub drain or toilet, for instance, is lower than the elevation of the next upstream manhole cover of the public sewer, then you need a sewer blackflow prevention device. A backflow prevention device can be installed on your sewer lateral to reduce the likelihood of sewage entering your home or business through low lying plumbing fixtures when there's a blockage in the lateral or public main.

How do I prevent sewer backing up from a main sewer to my hillside home?
All homes located on hills are subject to flooding if the sewer line in the street plugs below the house and above the down stream manhole. Due to the hilly terrain in Pacifica, we have many homes in this condition. Generally the homes at the bottom of the hills are the most vulnerable because the plugs are most likely to occur in the area where the sewer main levels out. We recommend removing your building clean-out cap (not the concrete cover of clean-out box) for emergency overflow purpose.

How do I set up an inspection date and time with a City Inspector?

You may contact an Inspector by calling the City of Pacifica’s Wastewater Division (Mon-Fri) at (650) 738-4669. You

must call at least 24 hours in advance of back-filling the pipe.

If I use the trenchless method of pipe repair to replace my building sewer, do I need a property line clean-out installed?

A property line clean-out does not need to be installed when a trenchless method is used so as to insure the integrity of the new building sewer. The City will then be responsible from the building cleanout to the main sewer.

If my sewer lateral needs to be repaired over the weekend, may I repair it without a permit?

You may repair your building sewer on an emergency basis without a permit. You must purchase a permit the following Monday and leave the new sewer lateral uncovered until a City Inspector inspects the job.

What are my responsibilities as a homeowner regarding building sewer repair and replacement?

The City of Pacifica’s Sewer Maintenance Ordinance Section 6-13.602 states it shall be the responsibility of the property owner to perform all required maintenance, repairs and replacement of the sewer lateral in accordance with the following requirements:

(a) The sewer lateral shall be kept free from roots, grease deposits, and other solids, which may impede or obstruct the flow.

(b) All joints shall be watertight and all pipes shall be sound.

(c) The sewer lateral pipe shall be free of any structural defects such as fractures, cracks, breaks, openings, or missing portions.

(d) All cleanouts shall be securely sealed with a proper cap or approved overflow device at all times.

(e) There shall be no non-sanitary sewer connections to the sewer lateral or to any plumbing that connects to the sewer lateral.

(f) All maintenance, repair or replacement shall conform to current City standards and specifications.

What is a building sewer?

Building sewer shall mean the extension from the building drain to the public sewer or other place of disposal.

(Ordinance section 6-10.104.)

What is a building sewer?

Building sewer shall mean the extension from the building drain to the public sewer or other place of disposal. (Ordinance section 6-10.104.)

What is a property line cleanout?

The property line clean-out is a clean-out within two (2’) feet of the property line and visible at all times. All other cleanouts

are considered a building clean-out and the responsibility of the homeowner.

What might be the reason for my building sewer backing up?
1) Roots from trees may follow the moisture in the ground and find their way into cracked or leaking joints in the pipe.

2) Joints may fail over time and cause the inside of the pipe to lose flow area. Debris such as rocks or paper towels may cause a blockage.

3) Grease from cooking oils or soaps may settle in poorly sloped sewer laterals or behind failed joints.

4) There may be a deterioration of the pipe integrity due to age or poor backfill materials used during construction.

What should I do if my building sewer backs up?
The location of the stoppage should be located and a plumber called if one is needed. If the stoppage is identified as being the City’s responsibility, then you may call the City of Pacifica’s Public Works Dept. during normal hours at (650) 738-3760. During off hours and the weekend, please call the Pacifica Police dispatch non-emergency number at (650) 738-7314. If sewage is still flowing out of your clean-out when you are not using any water, the main sewer may actually be backing up and not your building sewer . In this case, call the City immediately and we will unplug the sewer.

What types of sewer pipe are allowed and what must be the inside diameter of the pipe?

A minimum diameter of 4” is required in your new building sewer. Types of sewer pipe allowed are:


1) PVC SDR 35

2) ABS schedule 40

3) Polyethylene (PE) SDR 17


When using ABS pipe it may only be

used inside the property line and not


Where can I find a plumbing contractor to perform this work?

You may find plumbing contractors in the Yellow Pages of the phone directory or the City of Pacifica Business Directory. City recommends that you obtain quotations from more than one


Where can I find a plumbing contractor to unplug my building sewer?

You may find plumbing contractors in the Yellow Pages of the phone directory or the City of Pacifica Business Directory. The City recommends that you obtain quotations from more than one contractor.

Where do I obtain a permit for this job and what type of permit do I need?

A plumbing permit will be needed to repair or replace your building sewer. If you will be repairing or replacing your building sewer to the main sewer and work will be performed in a public rightof- way, such as a street or sidewalk, an encroachment permit will also be

required. A drawing of the work to be performed is required upon purchasing your permit. However, if you plan to remove and replace the building sewer in the existing location a drawing is not required.

Where does my responsibility as a homeowner end and the City’s begin?

The City of Pacifica’s Sewer Maintenance Ordinance Section 6-9.02 states the City is responsible for maintenance and repair of

the building sewer from the property line clean-out to the main sewer. If no property line clean-out exists, the homeowner is responsible all the way to the main sewer.

Why do I need to televise and/or repair my building sewer if I wishto add a plumbing fixture unit (i.e., new bathroom)?

A homeowner is required to televise and/or repair their building sewer when adding a plumbing fixture unit because this is the time to bring your building sewer up to code. An example of this would be when you wish to repair your windows and for the repair to be up to

code you must install double-pane windows for energy conservation.

Why must I bring my building sewer up to code?

The City of Pacifica has four major issues to deal with involving its’ sewer system.


Inflow, Infiltration, Overflow, and Exfiltration

are problems the City is trying

to combat.


Inflow is water discharged directly into a

sewer system from such sources as, roof

runoff, area drains, and foundation



Infiltration is when groundwater leaks

into broken or cracked sewer pipe during

wet weather and the whole system can be

overloaded due to this condition.


Overflow is sewage overflow from either

manholes or cleanouts


Ex-filtration is sewer leaking out through

broken or cracked pipe that may

contaminate ground water or receiving

water. A significant portion of the inflow

and infiltration in this City originates

from old leaky building sewer. As the

City continues to grow, and the system

grows older, this problem will only