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CVSan Resident Sewer Service Still a Bargain in 2012

CVSan continues to provide top-quality wastewater service at a lower price than most sanitary districts.

Castro Valley residents who examine their next property tax statement will find their annual charge for sewer service listed as “CV San Sewer Svc”, top-right in the Fixed Charges/Special Assessments section.

This coming tax year of 2012-2013 that charge will be $260, which we are proud to say is still about 60 percent less than the average of about $460 for sewer service across Alameda County, and the $406 average statewide. However, the charge is up from $252 dollars in 2011-2012, an $8 increase.

What does your annual sewer service charge pay for?

(CVSan) is responsible for taking your wastewater from your home or business safely to the local wastewater treatment plant, so that it can be cleaned up for discharge into the San Francisco Bay. To do that, we maintain 160 miles of sewer lines and nine pumps under the streets of Castro Valley.

Our responsibilities to the citizens of Castro Valley

Sewer maintenance – We inspected and cleaned over 100 miles of Castro Valley sewer lines in the last year to keep the wastewater flowing in the pipes all the way to the  in San Lorenzo, and keeping it off the streets and out of storm drains. To keep the system working, we will have to inspect 800 miles of pipe over the next five years to find and fix leaks, and to stay on top of “hot spots” that have a greater potential for problems because of a high rate of wastewater flow. We are happy to report that our vigilance kept spills down to just three in the last year, a great public health benefit.

Sewer replacement – CVSan started the Castro Valley sewer system way back in 1939. Since then we have laid a lot of pipe under the community streets. While we work hard to maintain them and extend their life, some of those old pipes now need replacing. In the last year, we completed the sewer line replacement under Castro Valley Boulevard as part of the Streetscape project, and we are now replacing an old line that runs up Redwood Road from the Boulevard to Heyer Ave. More “trunk sewer” work remains to be done on the line running up Forest Ave. to Heyer and extending up the valley along Sandy Road and Madison Ave. to Seaview Ave.

While we saved over $1 million by combining the Boulevard trunk sewer project with the bigger Streetscape project, putting in new sewer lines still costs money. We project spending $21 million in system upgrades and improvements over the next five years. (See our master plan here.)

Community support – Through our “Call Us First” program, our staff responds to requests of community members to investigate and assist with sewer problems in their neighborhoods. We will:

  • Assist with finding your sewer lateral’s access points (called “clean-outs”) for you, as they may be buried.
  • Check to see if the problem is in the main sewer line instead of your home’s sewer lateral (in which case we clear the obstruction.)
  • Offer Lateral Replacement Grants to help with the expense of replacing your home’s sewer lateral.

Calling CVSan first could save you some money by arming you with better information before paying a plumber to inspect your own sewer lateral.

Public Awareness – We know that the less residents put down the drain, the less maintenance the system needs and the lower we can keep your annual sewer service charge. As an example, we conduct programs to raise awareness about how Fats, Oils and Grease are the main cloggers of sewer lines. If residents put their cooking fats, oils and grease into the green organics cart rather than down the drain, over time we would have a lot fewer reasons to clean out pipes and clean up spills. This is how we keep rates down!

All this for $260 a year?

The residential fee doesn’t cover all of our expenses, of course. Businesses have their own schedule based on the quantity and quality of the sewage they create. But residential fees do represent a significant portion of our budget.

We strive to keep costs down, and are pleased to be able to deliver top-quality results for less than our fellow districts, but with the need to replace a lot of old pipe, and with a Castro Valley community that is still growing, rates need to rise slowly but continually to give us the ability to respond properly to these challenges.

Please give us a call for more information about this at 510-537-0757. You may also explore all of our wastewater services and future plans at www.cvsan.org/content/wastewater.

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