Have a Sewer Problem?
For sewer backup, call our 24-hour Sewer Response Service at 408-730-7400.
If your toilets are backed up, or slow draining; if you have dirty water backing into your bath tub; if you have a clean-out in front of your house that is leaking, call the 24-hour call center before you call anyone else, 408-730-7400. We will respond within two-hours, or will coordinate with you if we are on another response.
City staff will check the street main to be sure there is not a stoppage in the City system, and will help to identify what part of your system may be obstructed if it is not in the main.
Turn all water off and do not use laundry, shower, flush toilet, sink, etc. until the source of the problem is located!
The City sanitary sewer collection system serves a population of approximately 140,000 in a 25 square mile service area. The sewer system consists of 283 miles of gravity sewers, five sewer lift (pump) stations, and over two miles of sewer force main. The sewer mains range in size from 6 to 42 inches in diameter. Service is provided to all Sunnyvale residents, and to a portion of the City of Cupertino (Rancho Rinconada area).
Service within the City of Cupertino does not include removal of blockage on private property, or tree root intrusion into the private lateral. Also, maintenance of the lower lateral (from the property line to the mainline) may be difficult to provide if a property line clean-out is not provided for access by response staff.
At their regular meeting on May 12, 2015, Council approved the 2015 update to the City's Sewer System Management Plan (SSMP), which outlines the policies and procedures governing wastewater collections and conveyance for the residents and businesses we serve. The SSMP was originally approved by Council in 2012 to comply with orders adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board. Subsequent changes were made regarding the monitoring and reporting of sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs), which are now reflected in the revised document. Question about the SSMP or about wastewater services can be directed to 408-730-7900.
The City maintains all sewer mains through flushing, video inspection, manhole repair and removal of blockages. In general, sewer laterals (as opposed to the mainline in the street) are the responsibility of the property owner. However, City staff will assist in locating blockages, and in some cases will even remove the blockage on your lateral.
If a Sunnyvale City street tree is contributing to the problem through root intrusion into the private sewer lateral, then City staff will clear the blockage and may make some localized repairs, with the one exception of “Coal-Tar-Impregnated wood fiber pipe” (Orangeburg pipe).
Many homes in Sunnyvale constructed in the 1940s through the 1970s were initially provided with a sewer lateral made of pressed tar paper known as “Orangeburg pipe.” The City does not replace or maintain Orangerburg pipe. If your sewer lateral, or what is left of your sewer lateral, is of Orangeburg pipe, then it is the property owner’s responsibility to fix or replace the sewer lateral. Replacement is recommended, as the material is long past its service life and may totally collapse at any time. Replacement with modern materials, especially plastic pipe, will remove most root intrusion issues and provide good service for decades.
City staff can provide answers to many related questions by calling the 24-hour call center at 408-730-7400.