We are making much needed sewer repairs all across San Francisco. More than 30% of our sewers are 100 years or older; some date back to the Gold Rush.
What is Sewer Repair?
We are always working to proactively upgrade and modernize our sewer system, parts of which are 150+ years old. Sometimes, sections of sewer pipes fail without warning, causing sewage backups inside properties or on the street, or larger issues, such as sinkholes. These situations require us to immediately respond and perform sewer repair work to prevent service interruptions and protect public health and the environment. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), after a competitive bidding process, hires a construction contractor to perform this work.
What parts of the sewer system are involved?
Sewer repair or replacement involve the defective or broken section of the sewer main and lower section of the sewer laterals (sections that stretch from the face of the curb to the main sewer pipeline). The sewer laterals connect buildings to the sewer mains. In San Francisco, the entire sewer lateral is owned by the property owner and is the property owner’s responsibility to maintain. These sewer repairs are crucial in providing uninterrupted sewer service and protecting public health and the environment. The property owner must repair/replace the upper section of the lateral (from the building to the face of the curb). Learn more at sfpuc.org/sewerlaterals.
What has to happen before this work can occur?
Before the work can occur, a sewer problem needs to be reported, and we need to inspect and identify the nature of the problem, determine the scope of work (repair or replacement), and whether or not the City or the property owner (by hiring a plumber/contractor) will perform the work. Then we need to obtain the necessary construction permits, coordinate with other City agencies whose infrastructure may be impacted, such as SFMTA, to minimize disruptions to services, such as bus lines, and finally schedule the work with our contractor.
How do you notify the public of upcoming work?
Construction crews post “No Parking” signs at least 72 hours in advance of the scheduled work (except in case of emergency repairs that require a faster response). These signs indicate a timeframe typically of one to two weeks during which the work will occur. We also post a green sign notifying the public that this is Sewer Repair work, providing a QR code and link to this webpage as well as contact info. If work is scheduled at nighttime, we hand deliver or mail a pre-construction notice prior to starting. To learn about upcoming night-time sewer (or water) work in your neighborhood, visit our night work webpage.
What can neighbors expect during this work?
Street parking will be unavailable on the block where repairs are taking place during the timeframe in which the work is scheduled. “No Parking” signs will be posted 72 hours in advance of the work. The work may occur at any time during the timeframe given on the sign, and we cannot predict exactly when. Our construction crews perform sewer repair work all over the city, with schedules shifting as emergencies of greater urgency may arise.
If construction crews have not arrived by noon, you may park within the signed area, but be sure the "No Parking" sign is for SFPUC Sewer Repair and not another type of work (look for the green sign pictured here). Also be sure to remove your car by the start of work hours the next day, as crews may be coming early in the morning.
We may have to close traffic lanes during work, though we will provide local access for residents and businesses. During the repair work, crews will use heavy equipment such as excavators, front-end loaders, and concrete mixers, causing loud noise and possibly dust. Water, sewer, and power service will not be interrupted unless notified otherwise.
How long does the work take?
Sewer Repair Work typically takes anywhere from two days to two weeks. To reduce impacts on the community, we might repair several sewer lines on one block at a time.
What should I do if I experience sewer issues?
Report this to the City’s 311 Customer Service Center (online here or using the free mobile app or by calling 3-1-1). This will start the process, with technicians going onsite to inspect the issue and determine next steps. Visit sfpuc.org/sewerlaterals to learn more sewer laterals responsibility and proper maintenance.
How can I get in touch for more info?
For general questions about Sewer Repair, please email email@example.com. For a specific question or issue with Sewer Repair at your address or on your block, please contact our Sewer Repair team at 628-333-0059.