Sewer Smart


Sewer lines can become blocked due to roots, grease buildup, or debris in the pipes. When this occurs, wastewater is stopped by the blockage and backs up to the first available outlet. This may be a manhole in the street, a sewer cleanout on a sidewalk, or, less commonly, in a toilet fixture or sink.

When a sewage backup occurs, the District responds immediately. Our crew will locate the blockage and determine if it is in the public sewer. If it is, the crew will remove the blockage and clean up the affected home or business.

Property owners are responsible for internal plumbing and lateral pipes. Our crew will let you know if the blockage is occurring on your property, in which case you will be advised to call a licensed plumbing contractor to make repairs. A District permit is required for sewer work outside a building. Note: The City of Vallejo may also have permit requirements if the work affects public right of ways, such as a sidewalk.

You can prevent sewer and stormwater backups by:

  • Never flushing diapers, feminine hygiene products, or cleaning wipes down your toilet. The only things that should be flushed are body wastes and toilet paper.
  • Never pouring fats, oil, or grease into your kitchen sink. Grease adheres to the inside of sewer pipes. It can build up and block the pipe, causing an overflow. Fats, lard, oil, butter, food scraps, sauce, and dairy products should be disposed of in the trash.
  • Properly disposing of trash, yard waste, and recyclables. These can find their way into a storm drain and cause street flooding.
  • Having your private lateral line inspected by a licensed plumbing contractor.

Want to learn more about how to prevent overflows? Visit Sewer Smart, a website created by the Association of Bay Area Governments to help local residents protect their property and prevent costly plumber bills.

If you have a sewer backup in your house, you must clean properly to prevent you and your family from becoming sick or injured. Do not bring children into the flooded area during cleanup.

The following are suggestions on how to clean up after a flood or sewer problem.

Cleaning and Sanitizing

  1. Drain all flood waters and/or sewage by natural draining or pumping.
  2. Remove dirt, soil and debris from surfaces that came in contact with flood waters.
  3. Wash down all walls, floors and surfaces that the flood water or sewage touched with clean, warm or hot water and a low suds detergent.
  4. Rinse again with warm or hot water.
  5. Sanitize by rinsing walls, floors and surfaces using one of the following mixtures: 2½ tablespoons of Lysol or PineSol per gallon of water, or 8 tablespoons of laundry bleach per gallon of water.
  6. Air out the room by opening windows or using fans.
  7. Prevent tracking flood debris and sewage into clean areas.

The following guidelines should be followed when entering a flooded area with gas and/or electricity present:
  1. Have the utility companies shut off the gas and electricity.
  2. Do not touch the fuse box or any plugged in cords or appliances until the electricity is shut off. Touching these could result in electrocution.
  3. If an electrical appliance motor or its controls are submerged under water, do not start it until consulting with the dealer or service company.
  4. Do not relight appliances until checked by the gas company. Make sure all pilot lights are on before relighting burners.
  5. Do not light matches until the gas is turned off. If there is a gas leak, it could cause an explosion.
Clothing and Bedding
  1. Clothing, carpets, furniture, toys and/or bedding should be discarded unless they are cleaned and disinfected. Movable objects can be put outdoors to be cleaned and dried in the sunlight.
  2. Discarded clothing should be placed in a tightly closed container until pick-up or disposal.
  3. After clean up, make sure that all clothing and parts of the body that came in contact with the flood waters and sewage are thoroughly washed.
  4. Be sure to wash hands immediately afterwards. Persons engaged in cleaning operations should be particularly mindful of their personal hygiene. Contaminated fingers should be kept away from eyes, nose and mouth. Persons are advised against smoking at this time because soiled fingers carry disease germs to the cigarette and then to the mouth. After clean-up, hands should be thoroughly cleaned using a nail brush and lots of soap.