The West County Wastewater team is dedicated to providing reliable, professional, high-quality service to residential and business customers within our district boundaries. Safe and effective wastewater services are vital to protecting our community’s public health and the environment.
WCW continuously monitors and inspects the wastewater collection system, including pipes, pumps and public mains, to keep operations running smoothly and sewage flowing away from homes and businesses. Our team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to respond to sewer emergencies, such as overflows. We rigorously test our treated water, ensuring viruses, bacteria and other contaminants do not survive.
Proper wastewater collection, treatment and disposal prevent the spread of disease and keeps raw sewage from entering our environment, including the San Francisco Bay, keeping our residents, beaches and ecosystem healthy and safe. Most of our treated water is used as recycled water for industrial purposes.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?
WCW maintains its sewer mains located within public streets or easements, as well as the pipes, pumps and other components that make up the sewage collection, treatment and disposal system. Customers are responsible for the internal plumbing and sewer lateral up to the point of connection with the public sewer main, including the portion under the sidewalk and street. A WCW sewer permit is required for all sewer work that takes place outside of a building.
WHAT IS A SEWER LATERAL?
A sewer lateral pipe connects your property to the public sewer. Property owners are responsible for the care and maintenance of laterals. When buying or selling a house, you need a certificate of sewer lateral compliance from WCW.
HOW CAN I PREVENT BACKUPS?
Most overflows and backups are caused by FOG (fats, oils and grease) that clog drains and pumps or by inappropriate items, like wipes, floss or hygiene products that get flushed down the toilet. You can prevent backups by throwing these items in the trash and keeping them out of your drains and pipes. Property owners are also required to install a backwater overflow prevention device.
HOW CAN I REPORT AN ODOR ISSUE?
To report an odor issue, call WCW at (510) 222-6700.
All sewer work that takes place outside a building or home requires a WCW sewer permit before work can begin. This includes installations, repairs and replacements. Whether you are a homeowner, business owner, developer or contractor, WCW is committed to making the sewer permit process efficient and reliable.
The process and fees to obtain a permit varies depending on the type of customer (residential, commercial, new construction, etc.). In most cases, WCW issues sewer permits, reviews sewer lateral videos, performs inspections, issues Certificates of Compliance and reviews developer plan sets remotely. All sewer work performed must meet WCW sewer code requirements.
Click the links below to apply for a permit, view the fees or see the ordinances and codes.
NOT SURE WHAT IS CAUSING THE PROBLEM?
When a sewer backup or other problem occurs, it can be hard to tell whether the issue is in the sewer lateral or the public main. Customers can call WCW at (510) 222-6700 to report an emergency or schedule an inspection of the public main free of charge. If a problem is found in the public main, WCW will resolve the issue as soon as possible. If the issue is not in the public main, the property owner is responsible for correcting the problem.
SEWER REPAIRS: PERMIT PROCESS
- Submit a sewer video to WCW for inspection and to receive a sewer lateral inspection report which will explain what repairs or replacement need to be conducted
- Apply for a permit and pay the permit fee online.
- Receive permit from WCW. (Work performed must be complaint with WCW ordinance sewer code requirements.)
- Call to schedule an inspection of the repair at least 24 hours in advance of needing the inspection.
- WCW will inspect the completed work to ensure it meets requirements and issue a Certificate of Compliance or request adjustments.
DIGGING TO MAKE A REPAIR?
Make sure you know where other utilities are located before you dig to avoid damage. Call Underground Service Alert (USA North 811) at 811 or 1-800-642-2444 at least 48 hours in advance. Utility companies will be notified that you are planning to dig and will come mark the location of their utility lines free of charge. Visit www.usanorth811.org for more information.
NEED TO REPAIR A LATERAL IN THE STREET?
If a sewer later repair requires digging in the street or other public rights of way, an encroachment permit is required. Encroachment permits are available from the agency that maintains the street, usually the city in which you live. Call your city or county Public Works Department for more information. Commonly requested phone numbers are provided below.
|Contra Costa County||(925) 313-2320 or (925) 313-2000|
|City of Richmond||(510) 620-6868|
|City of San Pablo||(510) 215-3055|
|City of Pinole||(510) 724-9010|
Sewer Lateral Repair Checklist
- Obtain a WCW sewer permit. APPLY ONLINE
- Call Underground Service Alert (USA North 811) 48 hours before you dig at 811 or 1-800-642-2444. Visit usanorth811.org for more information.
- If needed, obtain an encroachment permit for repairs outside of your property line. Call your city or county Public Works Department.
SEWER ADDITIONS & CONSTRUCTION: PLAN REVIEW PROCESS
If you are making additions to an existing building footprint or constructing a new building, you are required to submit your plans to WCW prior to work beginning. Follow the steps below:
- Electronically submit your plans to WCW for review, even if no plumbing changes are involved in construction.
- WCW will review building plans for the following:
- Possible encroachments into existing WCW easements or conflicts with existing WCW facilities.
- Potential for added burden to the public sewer system.
- WCW will approve your plans before you send them to the county or city Building Department for review.
Sewer lateral lines that are not functioning properly can create local contamination issues, damage the environment and allow excess rain or groundwater to enter and potentially overwhelm the treatment system. WCW inspects installations, repairs and replacements to ensure the sewer lateral meets all requirements and codes.
An inspection by WCW at least 24 hours in advance of sewer work beginning outside the building is required. A follow up inspection will also take place after the work is complete to ensure compliance. Most inspections take place remotely, using videos and pictures, measurements and document submissions provided by a contractor or person completing the work. If the work meets all regulations, WCW will issue a Certificate of Compliance.
QUESTIONS? Contact the WCW Planning & Support Services Division at (510) 222-6700, option 3 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
COVID-19 SAFETY GUIDELINES
If WCW determines a physical sewer lateral inspection is necessary, the following procedures are mandatory:
- During inspection, the contractor(s) must stand a minimum of six feet away from the inspector while the inspection is taking place.
- If the inspector finds a discrepancy during the inspection, he will ONLY notify the foreman at a safe distance a minimum of six feet. No other workers should be in the vicinity of the foreman and the inspector.
- Once the inspection is complete, the inspector will notify the foreman of the results of the inspection. The foreman will contact Planning & Support Services Division at email@example.com or (510) 222-6700, option 3 for the Certificate of Compliance (COC) of the inspection, which will be created and sent to the requester electronically. The inspector will not sign any documents at the inspection.
SEWER CONNECTION AND LATERAL PLAN VIDEO REVIEW
WCW reviews all sewer lateral inspection videos remotely. Click on the link below to see the review process.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
SEWER INSTALLATION REQUIREMENTS
Property owners, builders or contractors who plan to install a sewer or sewer lateral must follow specific requirements, as well as obtain a permit and arrange inspections from WCW. Inspections must occur both before the work begins and after it is completed.
HAVE A QUESTION? Email email@example.com or call the Planning & Support Services Division at (510) 222-6700, option 3.
KNOW BEFORE YOU START!
Here are some important details to keep in mind. Be sure to read all the regulations in the Residential Installation Requirements document below.
- Before a sewer can be installed, a WCW sewer permit is required.
- Any work to be completed in a public right way must be performed by a licensed underground contractor.
- Only certain materials and pipe sizes are approved for use within the WCW district boundaries.
- A sewer cleanout backwater overflow device and a check valve are required for all construction, including repairs, new connections and additions.
- An inspection will take place once the work is complete.
- Make sure you know where other utilities are located before you dig to avoid damage. Call Underground Service Alert (USA North 811) at 811 or 1-800-642-2444 at least 48 hours in advance. Visit usanorth811.org for more information.