Study launched to measure sewage leaking from privately owned sewer lines

Posted April 28, 2023

SCCWRP and its partners have initiated a study seeking to estimate how much sewage, if any, is leaking from privately owned sewer lines across the San Diego River watershed and contributing to contamination of waterways during wet weather.

The study, launched in March, represents the latest in a series of investigations probing various potential sources of fecal contamination in the San Diego River watershed; researchers also are investigating potential contributions from public sewers, septic tanks and unhoused people living near waterways.

During the private sewer study, a field team will visit about 100 residential properties to inspect the private lateral lines that connect to the public sewer system; if a lateral line is found to be leaking, the leakage rate will be measured. Then, the data will be extrapolated to estimate sewage leakage levels across all private sewer lines within the San Diego River watershed.

Fecal contamination is widespread in Southern California waterways, but it remains unclear which specific sources are major potential contributors to the contamination.

More news related to: Microbial Source Tracking, Microbial Water Quality