Sewer & Wastewater

TP is the ONLY flushable image
A clock showing 24 hours, 7/365 Service

Did you know…

Collection System Maintenance workers and Wastewater Treatment operators are on duty 24/7/365 days per year to respond to any sewer and plant emergencies?

Wastewater Management Division – Our Mission
We provide high quality wastewater collection, treatment and reclamation services professionally and competitively to preserve the environment and ensure the health, safety and economic vitality of our community.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION
The following issues constitute a sewer emergency.  If you experience or observe any of the following, contact the City of Fresno IMMEDIATELY:

  • Unusual smell
  • Wastewater coming out of a manhole
  • Wastewater in the street
  • Missing or damaged manhole covers

To report a Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) or other sewer-related emergency:

  • Call the City of Fresno’s 311 Center by dialing 3-1-1 within City limits or calling (559) 621-CITY (2489); or
  • Report the issue in FresGO

Additional information about SSOs and sewer system maintenance responsibilities can be found on the Property Owners & Contractors page.

Maintain Your Drain Icon

Maintain Your Drain

Property Owners and Contractors Icon

Property Owners and Contractors

Programs and Permits Icon

Programs and Permits

Recycled Water Icon

Recycled Water

Salinity Icon

Salinity

Sewer System Master Plan Icon

Sewer System Master Plan

Drain Do's & Don'ts

Flushing or throwing damaging materials down the drain can cause blockages and backups.

Don’ts

  • Don’t flush kitty litter
  • Don’t put egg shells or coffee grounds in the garbage disposal, sink drain, or toilet.
  • Don’t put motor oil, lard, or cooking oil down the drain. These items should be disposed of in the garbage.

Garbage DisposalDid you Know…

  • Garbage disposals use large volumes of water and electricity-reducing or eliminating their use will lower your sewer, water, and power bills.
  • Chemicals or additives that claim to dissolve grease-these may not be effective. Grease can build up in sewers, restricting the flow of wastewater that comes from our homes. This blockage forces wastewater up onto our streets-where it then enters the storm drain system and clogged sewer pipes on your property may incur a costly plumbing repair bill.
  • The following products are considered household hazardous chemicals and should never be flushed down the sewer: pesticides, nail polish, oven cleaners, spot remover, vehicle fuel, oil or grease, fertilizer, rodent poison, weed killer, paint, varnish, stripper or thinners or battery fluids. These require disposal at a hazardous waste collection station.

StrainerDo’s

  • Use baskets or strainers in sink drains to catch food scraps and other solids.
  • Scrape grease and food scraps from plates, pots and pans, utensils, and grills into the garbage.
  • Keep fats, oil and grease out of our sewers-help keep our environment clean. Capture animal fats in a can and put all food waste and discards in a trash container
  • Dispose of household hazardous waste properly.  More information about Household Hazardous Waste disposal can be found on the County of Fresno website or you can contact the County of Fresno via phone at (559) 600-4259 or via email at recycling@co.fresno.ca.us.
Salt is Serious

Salt Forming Photo

“Salt”, a generic term used to describe certain pollutants that cannot be removed from wastewater in an economically feasible manner, can pose a big problem to the Valley water supply and to the environment. Whether it comes from detergents, soaps, shampoos, water softeners, fertilizers, or some other commonly used household product, salts can collect and concentrate in our underground water supply, making the water unsuitable for human consumption and agricultural use. It is imperative that we use less salts and choose the salts we do use wisely, in order to protect the environment and Valley water for years to come.

The Unflushables

IF IT’S NOT TOILET PAPER, DON’T FLUSH IT!

Unflushable

We’ve got some news about the products you use daily: just because they’re labeled disposable doesn’t mean they’re flushable.

From cotton swabs to feminine products to wet wipes, many products labeled “flushable” belong in the trash. Otherwise, they can block our sewer system and cause backups that lead to costly cleanups and repairs.

The only thing that should be flushed down the toilet, besides human waste, is toilet paper!

“UNFLUSHABLE”
The following products are commonly flushed down the toilet and wind up in our sewer system. But flushing these so-called “flushable” products can clog pipes, break pumps and cause sanitary sewer overflows — which lead to thousands of dollars in repairs:

  • Cotton swabs
  • Dental floss
  • Gloves
  • Rags
  • Cat litter
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Condoms
  • Paper towels
  • Diapers
  • Wipes

“FLUSHABLE”
Here’s the full list of products you can flush:

  • Toilet paper

It’s that easy!

Flushables

Get to know the Unflushables

Property Owner Responsibility

PROPERTY OWNER RESPONSIBILITY

Each home or commercial building has a separate connection to the public sanitary sewer main called a sewer lateral. It is the property owner’s responsibility to maintain and repair their own sewer lateral from the house up to the point of connection with the public sanitary sewer main. This includes both the portion on private property and the portion located beneath the sidewalk and street up to the point where the lateral connects to the public main. The drawing below illustrates the difference between a sewer lateral and a public sanitary sewer main.

Private Sanitary Sewer Lateral

TROUBLESHOOTING

  • Please be aware of where your sewer lateral is located
  • Check to see if clean out is overflowing
  • Check to see if tree roots are possibly causing blockage

Note: Human contact with sewage is a serious public health risk. Many waterborne diseases exist in household sewage. AVOID CONTACT.

LATERAL SERVICE/TYPICAL HOUSE PROBLEMS

Signs of a sewer blockage

  • Slow draining fixtures.
  • Back up of multiple fixtures at home at the same time.
  • Using some fixtures impact others (i.e. flushing a toilet backs up sewer from the shower or while the washing machine drains, a nearby toilet overflows.)
  • Water is visible, flowing or overflowing on the exterior sewer vent.
  • A sewer vent or clean-out is often found on the exterior of a home, with a visible cap.

Common causes of blockages

  • Years of built-up, grease and grime.
  • Foreign objects flushed down the toilets.
  • Tree roots invading broken pipes.
  • Broken or dislocated pipes.
  • Age of pipe.
  • Flushing products labeled “flushables” that are not dispersible. (disposable wipes and diapers, sanitary napkins, paper towels, contraceptive products, kitty litter, etc.)
Standard Specifications Sewer Design & Construction

The Standard Specifications for Design and Construction shall govern sewer design and construction work for private individuals, public agencies and businesses within the boundaries of the City of Fresno.

About the Wastewater Management Division

The Wastewater Management Division (WMD) is responsible for the collection, conveyance, treatment, and reclamation of wastewater generated by the residential, commercial, and industrial sewer customers in the Fresno-Clovis metropolitan area. Wastewater from homes and businesses in the Metropolitan area travels through approximately 1,600 miles of sanitary sewer lines maintained by the Wastewater Management Division to the Fresno-Clovis Regional Wastewater Reclamation Facility (RWRF) located southwest of Fresno.

The WMD is comprised of 179 full-time employees with a large variety of functions – from laboratory personnel to treatment operators, collection system maintenance workers to electricians, and mechanics to administrative staff.

There are two primary functions of the WMD: Collection System Maintenance (CSM) and Wastewater Treatment.

Collection System Maintenance
The City of Fresno owns and maintains the sanitary sewer collection system that serves the City and other participating agencies. The City’s collection system (sewer) and all related infrastructure are maintained by the Collection System Maintenance (CSM) workgroup of WMD.

The collection system is comprised of approximately 1,600 miles of pipes ranging from 6” to 84” in diameter that convey over 60 million gallons of sanitary sewer per day to the Fresno-Clovis Regional Wastewater Reclamation Facility (RWRF). Related infrastructure maintained by the CSM workgroup includes over 24,000 access structures (manholes) and 15 sewer lift stations.

CSM operators perform preventive maintenance and repair of the collection system on a daily basis, main line condition assessment and repairs, and the inspection of new connections to the sanitary sewer system main lines. CSM staff responds to sewer emergencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year.

Wastewater Treatment
Almost all wastewater generated from homes and businesses in Fresno metropolitan area travels to the Fresno-Clovis Regional Wastewater Reclamation Facility (RWRF) located at Jensen and Cornelia, southwest of the City of Fresno.

Highly trained, experienced, State-certified treatment plant operators are on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to oversee treatment plant processes and to react promptly to any situations that arise. Many controls of treatment processes are highly automated, requiring a great deal of technical expertise. Other processes require manual controls, which rely on the operators’ frequent physical presence to observe conditions and make adjustments.

Reliability at the Fresno/Clovis Regional Wastewater Reclamation Facility is very high. Critical treatment processes are designed with redundant equipment, which means that if a mechanical or electrical component fails, a spare or backup is waiting to take its place. Mechanical and electrical staff is on-call 24 hours a day in case of a failure that requires their immediate assistance. Maintenance staff aggressively cares for the equipment to predict and prevent breakdowns, further adding to the reliability of the facility.

Fast Facts

  • 179 full-time employees
  • $45,931,500 annual operating budget
  • Maintains the sewer collection system infrastructure:
    • 1,600 miles of sanitary sewer lines ranging from 6” to 84” in diameter
    • 24,000 utility covers (manholes)
    • 15 lift stations
  • Operates the Fresno-Clovis Regional Wastewater Reclamation Facility (RWRF):
    • Located southwest of the City of Fresno on Jensen Avenue
    • Permitted treatment capacity of 91.5 million gallons per day (mgd) to secondary standards
    • Permitted treatment capacity of 5 mgd to tertiary standards
    • 7th largest wastewater reclamation facility in California
  • Operates the North Fresno Wastewater Reclamation Facility (NFWRF):
    • Located on in North Fresno on Copper Avenue
    • Design capacity of 0.71 mgd of wastewater treatment to tertiary standards

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find information about my sewer bill?
Visit the Utilities Billing & Collections page for information about your bill.

Can I tour the Fresno-Clovis Regional Wastewater Reclamation Facility?
Tours of the Regional Wastewater Reclamation Facility can be requested by calling (559) 621-5100.