Sewer FAQ

Highly trained, experienced, State-certified treatment plant operators employed by the City of Riverside are on duty 24 hours a day to oversee treatment plant processes, and react promptly to any unusual condition. Many controls of treatment processes are automated requiring a great deal of technical expertise. Other processes require manual controls which rely on the operator’s frequent physical presence to observe conditions and make adjustments. Weekends, holidays, and at the wee hours of the morning...operators are carefully monitoring every aspect of the facility.

Reliability at the Riverside Water Quality Control Plant is very high. The plant is staffed 24 hours a day with operators who are able to respond to any situations that arise. Critical treatment processes are designed with redundant equipment, which means that if a mechanical or electrical component fails, a spare is waiting to take its place. Mechanical and electrical staff members are on-call 24 hours a day in case of a failure that requires their immediate assistance. Maintenance staff diligently cares for the equipment to predict and prevent breakdowns, further adding to the reliability of the facility.

Our on-site instrumentation provides information and records data on wastewater quality around the clock. Information is collected and stored automatically in a database for evaluation by our operational process specialists. Samples are collected and analyzed by certified laboratory technicians in our on-site, State-certified laboratory. This information is also added automatically to our operational database. Independent laboratories periodically verify quality as well.

Treatment plants remove impurities contained in wastewater so treated wastewater can be safely returned to the environment. This same stabilization process occurs in nature to break down wastewater into its most basic components of carbon dioxide and water. Common methods of treatment include physical, biological and chemical treatment steps to stabilize the wastewater. The City of Riverside's wastewater treatment plants are designed to accelerate and control nature's process to insure proper treatment is provided.

A portion of treated wastewater is re-used for irrigation by various entities within the City. The remaining portion of treated wastewater is discharged to the Santa Ana River.

A sewer system is a series of pipes that collect wastewater and transport it to a remote location where the wastewater is processed by a municipal treatment system. A septic system collects, treats and disposes of wastewater from a single source in the same location that it is generated. Municipal and septic treatment systems utilize many of the same treatment processes, but a municipal sewer system collects and treats wastewater from many different locations.

Population density, the topography of the area, soil conditions and numerous other factors are involved in the construction and operation of a sewage collection system. Increasing migration to suburban and rural areas make municipal sewers more difficult and costly to build and maintain. Septic systems are often the most practical and cost-effective solution for wastewater treatment and disposal.

Your local health department should have information regarding the location of your septic tank. Also, a local septic tank pumping service can employ several different types of technology to verify the tank location.

The main causes of blocked sewer lines are grease that builds up in the line and tree roots that seek the water in the line. Never pour kitchen grease down the drain. Put it in a container and dispose of it in the trash. Trees and shrubs planted too close to sewer pipes can also cause problems. The roots get into the pipes creating blockages and broken sewer lines that can be expensive to repair.

Care and maintenance of the private sewer lateral line up to the property line is the responsibility of each resident. Care and maintenance of the City’s sewer main line and lateral line within the public right-of-way is the responsibility of the City. For more information, see the Private Lateral Policy.

Check with your neighbors to see if they are experiencing similar problems. If neighbors are having the same slow drainage, there is a chance that there is a problem in the public sewer main and the city’s responsibility. Call 951-826-5311 to report the problem. If neighbors are not having sewer problems, your sewer lateral may be blocked or broken and the homeowner is responsible for repairs.

Wastewater contains naturally occurring gases that can build-up and create odors. Sometimes during heavy rains or warm temperatures the odor can increase and cold weather and low temperatures can decrease odors. Call 951-826-5311 to report unpleasant odors coming from manholes so we can investigate and correct the problem.

The city is responsible for repair and maintenance of the sewer main line and lateral lines located in the streets and within the public right-of-way. For more information, please see the Private Lateral Policy.

No, dumping into city manholes is not permitted. Please call us at 951-351-6140 and report anyone illegally dumping into our City manholes.

The Riverside Water Quality Control Plant R.V. Dump Station is temporarily closed from September 30, 2012 until 2016. Click Here for a list of the closest RV Dump Stations.

Yes, please call 951-351-6145 to notify us. Our Environmental Compliance Section will need your address and 24 hours notice to approve draining your pool. Swimming Pool Discharge Requirements are as follows per the Riverside Municipal Code:

14.12.340 Swimming Pool Discharge Requirements.

Discharges from swimming pools, wading pools, spas, whirlpools, therapeutic pools and landscape ponds shall be discharged to the following locations in compliance with Section 14.12.315 of this Chapter and under the following conditions:

  • Surface discharge and/or storm drain, requiring that the chlorine residual is less than 0.1 mg/L; or
  • Sanitary sewer if such discharge to surface or storm drain would create a public nuisance or hazard or violate any regulation, order, or requirement of the Regional Board, including NPDES Non-Point Source (Storm Water) Permit requirements. User shall first obtain permission from the City prior to discharging any of these waters to the City's sanitary sewer. Permission may be granted by the Director if the discharge will not cause a hydraulic overload condition in the area's sewer lines; or
  • Pumped out and hauled off to a legal treatment and/or disposal site if the water is found to have hazardous levels of chemicals, elements, or materials.

Antifreeze, Car & Home Batteries, Oil & Oil Filters, & Latex Paint. When leftover paint, used oil, pool chemicals or any other product containing potentially dangerous materials are thrown away, they become "household hazardous wastes." They should never be washed down the drain into our sewer or storm drain systems.