Sanitary Sewers

Oakland Public Work’s Bureau of Design and Construction and Bureau of Maintenance and Internal Services owns and operates over 932 miles of sewer mains, ranging from six inches to over 66 inches in diameter, 28,554 sewer structures, and 11 pump stations. Most of the system is more than 50 years old, and some parts are as old as 100 years. Wastewater from homes and businesses is collected through the City's sewer collection system and flows into East Bay Municipal Utility District's (EBMUD) interceptor system, where it is conveyed to their treatment plant.


Blockages are caused by debris; fats, oils and grease; and tree roots that gather in sewer pipes.

Placing debris down the drain contributes to sewer overflows that can backup into your neighborhood, your home or nearby waterways. Debris, such as used bandages, floss and wipes should never be put down drain or flushed ever.

Responsibility for maintaining the sewers is split between The City, EBMUD, and Property Owners.

  • Property owners are responsible for the sewer lateral, which is the pipe connecting the house or building to the public sanitary sewer main.
  • The City of Oakland is responsible for the main pipes that carry waste to the treatment plant.
  • East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) is responsible for sewage treatment and disposal.
  • EBMUD issues the Regional Private Sewer Lateral Compliance Certificates.
  • Residential Pollution Prevention - 10 things you should not flush!