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Sewer Safety

For your safety, please NEVER open a sewer manhole!

Our trained employees have the safety equipment necessary to check the manholes to make sure that there are no dangerous gases present. In addition, our manhole covers are very heavy; lifting them could hurt your back. The Collection Services Team at Union Sanitary District will respond, within one hour, to your request for service, 24-hours a day. Please call us first if you experience any of these inconveniences at (510) 477-7500.


1. sewer stoppage
2. overflowing manhole
3. manhole cover off/broken
4. noisy manhole
5. riser cover off/broken
6. sewer odor
7. broken sewer line
8. open manholes


The Collection Services Team routinely maintains our sewer mains to keep them flowing freely. We televise-inspect and clean the lines on a scheduled basis. But did you know that there are some things that you too can do to maintain laterals?

1. Ask a plumber about preventative maintenance on problem sewer lines.
2. Call USD if you have any questions about your sewer line.
3. Obtain a permit from USD if you need to make a lateral repair. If a plumber will be making the repair, he or she should obtain the permit.
4. Use only a licensed contractor to make necessary repairs.
5. Consider installing a backflow preventer to prevent flooding in your building.
6. Recycle oil, paint, and other toxic materials at a recycling center.
8. Remember that storm lines, streets, sidewalks, and trees in public rights-of-way are
maintained by cities.

1. Put grease or egg shells down drains or in garbage disposals.
2. Plant a tree directly over a sewer line. Roots can be problematic.
3. Cut down a curbside tree without checking with the city in which you live.
4. Dig without calling Underground Service Alert at 811 or 1-800-227-2600
5. Proceed automatically with an expensive repair. Always get a second opinion.
6. Use an unlicensed, unknown contractor to make repairs.
7. Forget to locate cleanout in front of building, prior to having a stoppage.
8. Pour anything toxic down the sewer or storm drain.
9. Open a manhole for any reason. USD will do this for you.