Department of Public Utilities

Sewer & Wastewater

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Sewer & Wastewater

Wastewater collection and treatment—ensuring clean water for tomorrow

Fresno is home to the seventh largest wastewater reclamation facility in California, the Fresno-Clovis Regional Wastewater Reclamation Facility (RWRF). We also host the North Fresno Wastewater Reclamation Facility (NFWRF) along with over 1,500 miles of sewer pipes and other sanitary collection system infrastructure like manholes and lift stations.
Clean water is critical for sustaining life and health of any community. Once wastewater disappears down sinks, toilets, floor drains, or other outlets, it doesn’t just disappear. It flows through a network of underground sewer pipes making its way to wastewater treatment facilities where it is cleaned and safely reused and/or released back to the environment.

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
  • Participate in the City/County hazardous waste collection annual event. The City and County sponsor two household hazardous waste collection events each year, one in the fall and one in the spring. Look for days and times in your local newspaper or call the City’s Recycling Hotline, (559) 621-1111 or the Fresno County Department of Resources, (559) 262-4259.
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.