Water/Sewer Maintenance
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How do I contact the City Utilities Division for NON-EMERGENCIES?
You may contact the City Utilities Division by telephone at (949) 366-1553 or fax at (949) 361-8234
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How do I contact the Utilities Division when I have an WATER or SEWER EMERGENCY or there is a water or sewer leak in our neighborhood?
24/7 live Utilities Reporting Hotline (949) 366-1553

What is a sewer spill?
Sewage spills occur when the wastewater transported in underground pipes overflows from a manhole, broken pipes and or service lateral clean outs. Sewage spills can potentially cause health hazards, cause damage to homes, businesses and threatens the environment, local waterways and beaches.

How do I identify a sewer spill?
Sewage spills can be very noticeable, usually gushing water from a manhole, or a slow water leak that may take time to be noticed. Don’t dismiss wet areas that cannot be accounted for. Be aware of:

  • Drains backing up inside the building

  • Wet ground and water leaking around manhole lids on your street

  • Seeping sewage (water) from service lateral clean outs and outside drains

  • Unusual odorous wet areas such as sidewalks, external walls, ground and or landscape around buildings

What about sewer spills on private property?
Each property is connected to the public sewer system by means of a service lateral. The property owner is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the service lateral to the point of connection to the public sewer line. Should a backup or overflow of sewage occur in the service lateral, the property owner or tenant must take immediate steps to clear the obstruction and to stop the discharge of sewer from their property. Allowing sewage to discharge into a gutter, storm drain or onto public property is a violation of State Health, Safety and Water Codes. In the event of a blocked service lateral please contact the City of San Clemente Utilities Division at (949) 366-1553. A member of the sewer collection system crew will be dispatched to inspect the pubic sewer to ensure debris removed from service laterals do not plug the main public sewer line. THERE ARE NO CHARGES FOR THIS SERVICE.

What are the most common causes of sewage spills?
  • Grease is the most common cause of pipe blockages. Grease builds up and eventually block sewer pipes. Grease enters the sewer system from household drains and from poorly maintained commercial grease traps and interceptors.

  • Structure problems caused by roots in the sewer lines. Roots enter the sewer line through cracked or broken pipes seeking moisture. Once established, roots continue to grow and expand in the sewer line eventually causing a blockage.

  • Infiltration of groundwater and rainwater into the sanitary sewer system. Infiltration is a result of pipe defects or illegal connections of yard and or roof drains connected to the sewer system Infiltration surcharges the sewer line exceeding its capacity causing overflows.

  • Maintenance on service laterals. When preventative and or corrective maintenance is performed on your service lateral, debris such as cut root balls or grease are pushed from the service lateral into the public sewer. Once in the public sewer this material tends to obstruct the flow of sewage eventually causing a blockage that can result in an overflow.

  • Roots can have a major impact on sewer lines. If your sewer lateral is close to a tree you need to consider scheduled maintenance to keep the lateral clear free of roots.

  • How can Sewage spills be prevented?
    Sewer spills can potentially cause long term damage to the environment. You can help prevent them by:

    • Never discharging oil or grease down garbage disposals, drains or toilets

    • Perform periodic maintenance on your service lateral

    • Repair structural problems on your service lateral

    • Disconnect illegal connections to your service lateral including yard and roof drains

    • Be selective with landscape planting materials that do not have aggressive root systems

    Most importantly, if you are planning to have preventative and or corrective maintenance work done on your service lateral, please contact the Utilities Division at 949.366.1553.  A member of the Sewer Collection System crew will be dispatched to inspect the pubic sewer to ensure debris removed from service laterals do not block flow in the main public sewer line. The crews have the equipment to remove this debris from the public sewer before it causes a main line blockage. THERE ARE NO CHARGES FOR THIS SERVICE.

    What are some easy tips to prevent grease blockage?
    Grease and oils discharged into the sewer system attach to the walls of pipes and solidifies.  With each discharge another layer forms until eventually the flow of water in the pipe is restricted and begins to back up causing an overflow.

    By following the tips listed below you are well on your way toward maintaining a healthy service lateral and preventing costly maintenance and clean up activities resulting from sewer backups caused by grease:

    • Pour spent household cooking oils and grease into containers and dispose with solid waste

    • Wipe excess oil and grease from cooking pans with paper towel and dispose with solid waste

    Restaurants and Commercial establishments have grease and oil traps or interceptors to keep grease and oils out of sewer pipes.  To work correctly this equipment must be:

    • Sized correctly to handle expected amount of grease

    • Installed properly per codes

    • Maintained properly by having them cleaned and serviced regularly

    For additional information you may contact the Utilities Division in person at 380 Avenida Pico Bldg. N or by phone at 949.366.1553 and ask to talk to the pretreatment technician for assistance. Our office hours are Monday through Thursday 7:00 am to 4:30 pm and 7:00 am to 3:30 pm on Fridays.

    How do I start or discontinue Utility Service ?
    The City of San Clemente provides water, sewer and storm drain services to the residents and businesses of San Clemente. If you need to establish new service, terminate existing service, or change any information on your account, you will need to contact the Utility Billing Division to make the change. To start a new service, you must contact the Utility Billing Division. You will be required to pay a security deposit of $120 for water and sewer service. This deposit may be waived if you can provide a letter of credit from a previous utility company with 12 months of good pay history or if you have 12 months of good pay history with the City for a previous account. If you would like to discontinue your service, you can simply call the Utility Billing Division and indicate the day you would like to terminate service. There is no fee to disconnect, and the balance of your security deposit will be mailed to the forwarding address you provide. We recommend that customers notify us of any service need at least 2 days in advance to insure completion. City personnel must have access to your utility meters at all times to change service or take readings. For more information, or to start or stop utility service, contact the Utility Billing Division located at 100 Avenida Presidio, between 7:30AM and 5:30PM Monday through Thursday and 8:00AM to 5:00PM on alternating Fridays, or call them at (949) 361-8315.
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    Installing New Utility Meters

    If you are in need of water service , you must contact the Utilities Division to request installation of a new water meter, also you can schedule department personnel to come to your building to install a new meter, repair a damaged one and or test your meter for accuracy. The costs for the aforementioned services are as follows:


      Meter Calibration Service Fee  
         1"  $290
         1 1/2" $290
         2" $290
      New Meter Purchase Fee  
         1"  $415
         1 1/2" $1,525
         2" $1,850
      New Service Fee  
         1" $4,300
         1 1/2"  $5,650
         2" $6,400
      Upgrade/Additional Service Fee  
         1"  $3,800
         1 1/2" $5,100
         2" $5,800
      Water Service Relocation Fee  
         1"  $7,000
         1 1/2" $8,300
         2" $9,000

    Please call our Water Maintenance division for a current price on water meters over two inches at (949) 366-1553.

    Costs to repair a damaged meter vary. All costs will be charged to the property owner for which the meter is being installed. For more information or to request a new meter, contact the Utilities Division, located at 380 Avenida Pico, Bldg. N, between 7:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Fridays, or call them at (949) 366-1553.

    Testing of Water Meters
    San Clemente Municipal Code SCMC 13.04.400 Testing of meters.

    1. Any customer may demand that the meter through which water is being furnished be examined and tested by the Water Division for the purpose of ascertaining whether or not it is registering accurately. Such demand shall be made, in writing, to the Water Division and shall be accompanied by the Water Meter Test fee. Upon receipt of such demand, it shall be the duty of the Utilities Manager to cause the meter to be examined and tested. If on such an examination and test the meter is found to register more or less than three (3) percent correctly another meter will be substituted therefor, and the Water Meter Test fee shall be refunded to the person making the application and the water bill for the current period adjusted in such a manner as the Finance Director may deem fair and just. If the meter is found to register not over or under three (3) percent, the Water Meter Test fee shall then be forfeited to the City and the water bill paid as rendered. The City Council shall, by resolution, establish the Water Meter Test fee. Such fee may be amended from time to time, by resolution.

    2. A customer or his or her authorized representative may be present to witness the test.

    Water Meter Test Fee = $175.00

    Meter Replacement Program
    The Utilities Division routinely changes out old meters to ensure the accuracy of meter readings. Your old meter may have been under registering your water usage and therefore was replaced by the Utilities Division technician. Consequently you may notice an increase in your utility bill with your new meter accurately measuring your consumption. If you have any questions please contact the Utilities Division at, (949) 366-1553.

    Reporting Damaged Utilities
    The Utilities Division appreciates calls at anytime to let them know that there is a problem with a public utility. Odds are good that department personnel are already aware of the problem and are working to solve it, but sometimes your call is what's needed to learn about a damaged utility. Whether you see a water main break or simply a damaged home service meter, please let us know. The problem could also be a sewer overflowing or a storm drain flooding. These are all situations that require trained personnel to assess the problem and associated dangers. Never try to repair the damaged utility yourself. When you call, be sure to identify the type of problem and its location, as well as your name, address, and phone number so that officials can get in touch with you if they need more information. To report a damaged utility, or for more information, contact the Utilities Division main offices, located at 380 AVENIDA PICO, between 7:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Fridays, or call them at (949) 366-1553.

    City of San Clemente
    City Hall | 100 Avenida Presidio, San Clemente, CA 92672 | Phone (949) 361-8200  |  FAX (949) 361-8285
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