Released by: Water Agency
For Immediate Release

Sewer Lateral Ordinance Proposed for Sanitation Zones & Districts

Santa Rosa, CA  –  May 18, 2018  –  The Sonoma County Water Agency (Water Agency) will hold a series of community meetings to discuss a proposed sewer lateral ordinance aimed at preventing sewer overflows that occur during heavy rains.

The ordinance would provide the Water Agency the ability to inspect, and if necessary, require the repair of sewer laterals that are failing and contributing to pollution and sewer overflows. The proposed ordinance would not include mandatory inspections or repairs at this time, but would allow the Water Agency to require repairs if faulty laterals are detected during their own scheduled inspections. The ordinance is proposed in five Sonoma County sanitation zones and districts managed by the Water Agency.

“From research, we know that private sewers typically require repair after 20 or 30 years. In several neighborhoods, field inspectors have reported excessive flows in the sewer system – an indication that stormwater has entered the sewer and repairs are needed,” said James Gore, Water Agency Director, who also serves as a director to the Airport-Larkfield-Wikiup and Geyserville Sanitation Zones. “The Water Agency and Sanitation Zones are committed to working with property owners to address this challenge together.”

The proposed ordinance is intended to reduce “inflow and infiltration,” the process through which storm water enters the sewer collection system during storms. During a heavy rain, storm water from cracked or improperly connected private laterals can overwhelm the sanitary system, resulting in sewer overflows. These overflows pollute creeks, and can damage private property and result in fines to the zone or district.

“Reducing inflow and infiltration is an essential measure to protect our waterways and reduce risk to private property,” said Water Agency Director Lynda Hopkins, who also serves as a sanitation district director. “The Water Agency is taking proactive steps to maintain the public infrastructure."

To gather input on the proposed ordinance, the Water Agency will host four community meetings to share additional information and discuss community concerns.

Community Meetings
Geyserville & Airport-Larkfield-Wikiup Sanitation Zones
6:30 – 8:00 pm
Tuesday, June 19
Sonoma County Water Agency
404 Aviation Blvd, Santa Rosa, CA


Russian River County Sanitation District & Occidental County Sanitation District
6:30 – 8:00 pm
Tuesday, June 26
Monte Rio Community Center
20488 CA-116, Monte Rio, CA

Sea Ranch Sanitation Zone
11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Saturday, July 28
Del Mar Rec Center
20600 Leeward Road, The Sea Ranch, CA

The Water Agency anticipates that a proposed ordinance would go the Board of Directors in fall of 2018 and, if approved, would take effect a year later. The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors serves as the Board of Directors for the Water Agency and for the sanitation zones and districts.

For more information about private sewer laterals, visit


Contact Information

Water Agency
404 Aviation Boulevard
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.51193, -122.7835