Sewer System Management Plan

The City of Healdsburg Public Works Department is preparing a Sewer System Management Plan (SSMP). The plan is being prepared in response to a new state regulation, which requires public agencies that own or operate sanitary sewer systems to develop and implement a sewer system management plan. The regulation is primarily aimed at preventing and reducing sanitary sewer overflows (SSO’s).


An SSO is a spill, overflow, release, discharge or diversion of untreated or partially treated wastewater from a sanitary sewer system. SSO’s often contain high levels of suspended solids, pathogenic organisms, pollutants, nutrients, oil, and grease. SSO’s pollute surface and ground waters, threaten public health, adversely affect aquatic life, and impair the recreational use and aesthetic enjoyment of surface waters. Typical consequences of SSO’s include the closure of beaches and other recreational areas, inundated properties, and polluted rivers and streams.

Beginning in 2007, the regulations also required agencies to report all SSO’s to the State Water Resources Control Board, using a newly established online SSO database.

Public Comments

The Public Works Department is inviting public comments on the development, implementation, and performance of its SSMP. As development of the SSMP progresses, you will be able to review draft sections of the SSMP, using the links below, and submit your comments by email. The schedule for development and adoption of the SSMP was as follows:
  • June 15, 2009 Complete draft SSMP with all required program elements
  • July 20, 2009 Presentation of draft SSMP to the City Council for adoption

Existing Program

While the new SSMP regulations will a require a significant increase in effort by many sanitary sewer agencies, the City of Healdsburg has fortunately been proactive in managing its sewer collection system, and most of the state-required plan elements have been in place for several years. For example, the city maintains a fleet of the specialized equipment necessary for the sewer maintenance, and its skilled crews regularly clean the more critical portions of its sewer system to prevent the accumulation of materials that can cause blockages and overflows.

The goals of the existing program are to:
  • Educate the public to avoid misuse of the wastewater system.
  • Identify areas that need increased maintenance, repair, or replacement.
  • Identify non-compliant dischargers to the city sewer system and take appropriate corrective action.
  • Minimize groundwater and surface water intrusion into the sewer system.
  • Protect the environment and public health by minimizing blockages and overflows.
  • Reduce operating and maintenance costs.
The proposed SSMP therefore builds off the city's existing sewer system management program.

Final SSMP

The state regulation requires that the SSMP be complete and certified by August 2, 2009. The final SSMP was adopted by the City Council on July 20, 2009, you can click the links below to review the plan.

 If you have any questions about the SSMP development or the city's existing sewer system management program, you can contact Public Works at 707-431-3346. You can also find more information on the state’s SSMP regulations online.