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The City of San Luis Obispo's wastewater collection system is drastically impacted by rain dependant Inflow and Infiltration (I/I). Flows at the City's Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) may increase up to 32 MGD or 8 times the WRF's dry weather average flow of 4.5 MGD. An intensive investigation of one of the collection system's drainage basins with substantial I'I determined that a significant portion of the I'I was coming from privately owned sewer laterals. Sewer laterals in the City of San Luis Obispo are privately owned from the residence to the City's mainline. A large portion of these service laterals are Orangeburg or clay pipe that was installed prior to 1965.

In 1997 the City of San Luis Obispo's City Council approved a program that would help address the problem of managing I/I from private service laterals and encourage single family homeowners to repair or replace their service laterals that are in poor condition. Typically service laterals in the poorest condition will allow significant amounts of infiltration into the City's system.

The Voluntary Service Lateral Rehabilitation Program (VSLRP) reimburses homeowners 50% up to 1,000.00 of the cost for work performed to correct problems with their private service lateral. Video inspection of the homeowner's lateral and technical assistance and guidance from City staff are included in the program. Reimbursement guidelines and procedures are simple, straightforward and streamlined.

The City's VSLRP program has replaced or repaired over 300 laterals since its inception and has had 900 applications. The program is extremely popular with City residents and continues to attract considerable participation. Funding for the program was 100,000 per year for the City's 1997-99 budget and has subsequently been reduced to 50,000 per year for the 1999-2001 budget. This reduction was due to adequate funds being carried over from the first two years of the program. Appropriate annual funding for the VSLRP program at this time will probably be 75,000, because of homeowner participation and staff workloads.

Currently no appreciable decrease in rain dependant I/I has been detected in the City's collection system or at the WRF. The program is a long-term, customer oriented, approach, that coupled with the City's mainline repair and replacement program is anticipated to reduce and control rain dependant infiltration problems. The VSLRP provides homeowners a program that offers assistance in repairing private service laterals while helping the City of San Luis Obispo address managing private sewer issues. Future program goals may include increased reimbursements for increased participation.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2001-01-01

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