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HE ADS UP… New Sewer Cap Period Starting in November

It’s that time again—the next period for establishing your sewer cap for 2013–14 is coming up. The new sewer cap


becomes effective each July 1, and is re-established

It happens more than you would think. The City gets a

annually by averaging your household’s last three winter billing cycles. So, as the temperature cools and the winter rains begin, turn your irrigation down or off during the sewer cap period to save money all year long on your sewer charges. Because billing cycles vary depending on the meterreading route, winter water use periods may vary by a couple of weeks. To find out when your period begins and ends, visit our website,, and click on “winter water use schedule” or call (805) 781-7133 for more information.

call; massive amounts of water are flowing down the street from a broken pipe. We respond to the call, but no one is home and we don’t have a valid telephone number to notify the customer of the problem. Meanwhile, hundreds of gallons of water are wasted and the customer is stuck with a huge water bill.

Make sure the City’s Utility Billing office has your up-todate contact information in case an emergency like this arises. To verify your account information, please update your profile through our online Utility Billing system or call us at (805) 781-7133. The moral of the story;




FROGS in Your Sewer Line Protect Our Creeks Your Dollars at Work New Sewer Cap Improved Utility Billing | Rainy Season is Coming


Fall 2012 Volume 16, Issue 4

Water Journey… Where D oes it Come From and Wher e D oes it G o?

WATER RATE STRUCTURE STUDY NEARLY COMPLETE The City Council has now had four study sessions

This is the eighth and final article in a series intended to inform

regarding how the City charges for water to ensure that the community’s goals, objectives and

you, the water and sewer customer, about the journey water

expectations are being met. The first session on

takes to reach homes and businesses, and what happens to it

July 10 started with an explanation of the basic

when it goes down the drain or toilet. Along the way, we have

fundamentals of water rate structure design. During

highlighted the various activities in the Utilities Department.

the second session on August 7, the City Council

So far, you’ve learned about where your water comes from, the

discussed its goals and objectives, and prioritized

water treatment process, how water is transported to your home

the top five goals for use in developing conceptual

or business, the customer assistance programs the Utilities

rate structure designs. At the third and fourth study

Conservation section offers, the importance of the Environmental Programs Section in protecting the wastewater system, the wastewater collection operations and the wastewater treatment process. The final piece of the story is where the treated wastewater goes once it leaves the Water Reclamation Facility; which brings us to the Recycled Water Program. Water recycling has been part of the City’s overall water supply

sessions, the Council focused on how to create revenue and rate stability while charging each customer class in a fair and equitable manner. It is important to note that this study is analyzing the way in which the City structures water rates, and NOT the cost of water. The final meeting will be scheduled for November 13. At this meeting, the council will make its final decision

strategy since the 1980’s. In 1994, the City completed a major

and recommendations on changes it would like to

improvement project at the Water Reclamation Facility that

see in how the City charges for water service. Note:

included the addition of treatment processes to meet the

no actual water rates will be discussed; only rate

stringent water quality requirements in place to protect San

structures will be discussed.

Luis Obispo Creek, where a majority of the water is discharged. Although a water-recycling program was envisioned at the time of this upgrade, strict regulatory approvals are required to use recycled water for landscape irrigation and other approved

For more information, visit or receive updates from the Utilities Department’s Facebook page at

uses, and the City did not obtain approval to begin using recycled water until 2002. Four years later, the City completed construction of the Water Reuse Project and recycled water deliveries began. Today

the water recycling program provides more than 150 acre-feet or 50,000 million gallons annually to parks, businesses, road medians and homeowner associations mainly on the southern and easterly portions of the City. This ends our water journey but the story will continue. The water and wastewater systems are complex systems of pumps, pipes, processes and people. In future editions of the Resource we will be providing more interesting information about how these systems operate and the investments needed to keep them running smoothly and efficiently.


The Damon Garcia Sports Fields in San Luis Obispo, one of many locations that utilizes recycled water for landscape irrigation.

Simple Things You Can Do to Protect Our Creeks As the rainy season approaches, it’s time to think about the things we can do to reduce the amount of pollutants that flow into our creeks with the first rains. It is important to remember that anything dumped or dropped on the ground or in a gutter contributes to water pollution.

Here are a few things you can do to help:

•  Clean up your pet waste! •  Turn down or off your irrigation system; this will help lower your water and sewer bill as well •  Keep trash and recycling container lids secure to prevent debris from blowing out of containers and into the street •  Keep sidewalks and gutters free of debris and other pollutants like motor oil

ARE THERE FROGS IN YOUR SEWER LINE? Fats, Roots, Oils and Grease Property owners know there are a million and one things they should do to protect their investment. But there is one very important activity that is often overlooked – maintenance of the private sewer lines that connect your home to the City’s sanitary

•  Never flush non-soluble objects down your toilet. This includes food, sanitary napkins, cleaning rags, diaper wipes, including those items labeled 'flushable.'

sewer system.

•  Be sure to use a licensed plumber when having your sewer lateral televised or repaired.

Every home has a sewer line, also known as a “ sewer lateral”. In

•  Repair or replace deteriorated or damaged private sewer lines as soon as possible.

the City of San Luis Obispo, the property owner is responsible for the sewer lateral from their home to the City’s sewer main. This line carries sewage from indoor plumbing fixtures‚ like toilets‚ tubs‚ sinks‚ showers‚ dishwashers and laundry machines, to the public sewer system. The term “FROG” is an easy way to remember four things that can block your private sewer lines: Fats‚ Roots‚ Oils‚ and Grease.

•  Do not plant trees or large shrubs on your property above or within approximately 10 feet of your private sewer line. Also‚ opt for trees or shrubs without aggressive root systems in that area. •  Never pour fats‚ oils or grease down the kitchen sink. Collect them in an empty jar or can and discard it in the trash. Or‚ soak up grease with an absorbent material‚ like kitty litter‚ and throw that in the trash. With adequate inspection‚ assessment‚ cleaning and repair

Here’s what you can do to keep your

of private sewer lines – and by preventing fats‚ roots‚ oils and

private sewer line FROG-free:

grease from entering pipelines in the first place – property owners can avoid messy and costly sewage backups and spills.



UTI LITI E S D E PARTM E NT 879 Morro Street San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

YO U R D O LL A R S AT W O R K Main City Water Supply Pipeline Gets a Facelift The above ground portion of the pipeline that brings water to the City from Salinas Reservoir recently got a long overdue re-coating. The pipeline is about 50 years old and had never been repainted. The topography of the area surrounding approximately 3,300 feet of pipe located in Stenner Canyon just north of the City, is a steep rocky slope approaching 45 degrees in some areas. Because of the steep angle, rocks and soil had eroded from the hillside above causing exterior damage to the pipe’s paint. The new coating system is expected to provide an additional 50 years or more of life to the waterline. The total cost of the project was close to $250,000.

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Printed on recycled paper

Salinas Reservoir Booster Pump Station Refurbishment Constructed as part of the original Salinas Reservoir project by the Army Corps of Engineers back in the 1942, the booster pump station located just north of the top of Cuesta Grade is getting its first major upgrade since the original construction. The work includes installing new energy efficient pumps, electrical panels and communication technology that will automate processes currently performed manually. The pump station is a critical part of the Salinas Reservoir water delivery system, which accounts for about 40% of the City’s water supply. The booster pumps push water up and over the grade allowing it to flow to the City’s water treatment facility. The cost of the project is roughly $1.5 million.

Fall Resource Newsletter  

The City of San Luis Obispo Utilities Department's seasonal newsletter with water saving tips and other useful information and updates for r...