Frequently Asked Questions
The property owner owns the sewer line from your property to the street.
We occasionally receive calls from customers who have had a sewer backup problem. As much as we would like to help, the District is only responsible for problems in the main sewer lines located in the street in Marin City. Property owners are responsible for the lateral, the section of pipe that connects your residence to the main line in the street. The City of Sausalito and Tamalpais Community Services District are responsible for problems in the main sewer lines in their respective jurisdictions.
Most of the time, sewer backups are due to tree roots that grow into and clog sewer lines. The roots expand as they seek the water inside the pipe. Grease that builds up inside pipelines is another leading cause of backups.
There are simple measures you can take to maintain your sewer line in optimum condition; among them:
- Avoid pouring fats, oils or grease down your drains. Dispose of them with your trash. Regularly (perhaps once a year) contract with a sewer cleaning service or plumber to snake or flush your sewer line to keep it clear and detect potential problems before they escalate.
- Call a reputable plumber if you have clogged lines. The plumber should be able to clear the lines, and if he still thinks it's our problem, we will check the main sewer lines in the streets and manholes upon request.
- Remind the kids that large items (teddy bears, diapers, etc.) don't belong down the toilet.
- Identify where the cleanouts (access points) to your sewer line are and keep them readily accessible in case a plumber needs to use them. Typically, they are located in close proximity to the house in a garden area, in the driveway, or possibly even in the garage.
- If you have chronic root problems, it is worth considering the removal of trees or plants that may be the culprits.
- Throw dental floss and vegetable ties into the garbage not the sewer.
You can take them to:
Marin Household Hazardous Waste Facility
565 Jacoby St., San Rafael
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For information, phone 415-485-6806.
Hours: Monday-Tuesday, By appointment only.
For information, phone 415-485-5648.
Garbage removal service in Sausalito and Marin City is provided by Bay Cities Refuse, under contract with the County of Marin. Their telephone number is (415) 332-3646.
Sewer odors are a signal that you have sewer problems. If you are experiencing backups in toilets or drains, contact a plumber immediately to address the issue. The problem instead may be in your sewer lateral or side sewer that connects your property to the District's sewer main lines. A qualified plumber also should address this issue immediately. If you suspect that the problem is with the sewer main or is coming from the District wastewater treatment plant, contact the District office at (415) 332-0244.
Board meetings are held on the first Monday of each month at 6:00 p.m. at the District headquarters at the City of Sausalito Council Chambers, 420 Litho Street in Sausalito. The public is invited to attend the meetings. Time slots are allotted for the general public to speak, but action cannot be taken at that meeting unless the issue is on the agenda.
For issues that require action to be taken by the Board, call the District office with your request to speak before the Board of Directors. The General Manager will add your issue to the agenda of the next board meeting. Once the issue is agendized, the District Secretary will let you know at what time you should appear and send you a copy of the agenda to you.
When speaking before the Board, we suggest that you provide comprehensive supporting documentation so that Directors will have sufficient data on which to base a decision. The Board may direct staff to work directly with you to resolve your issue, or if sufficient documentation is provided, an action could be taken at the meeting.
The primary way the District collects its wastewater sewer service charge is through the County of Marin tax roll. Your tax bill shows an assessment entitled "Sausalito-Marin City Sani," which is your annual sewer service charge from the District.
Sewer service charges are collected to offset the annual cost to operate, maintain and upgrade the District's wastewater conveyance and treatment facilities.
City of Sausalito customers will also have a charge entitled "sewer charge Sausalito." This is the City of Sausalito's assessment for maintenance and repair of collection system pipes in the City Service area.
The District handles the maintenance and repair of the collection system pipes for unincorporated areas, including Marin City.
- How the New Treatment Plant Process Protects Our Community
- Educational Videos
- New Connections and Construction Permits
- Rates and Fees
- Sewer Laterals
- Doing Business with SMCSD
- Capital Improvement Projects
- Frequently Asked Questions
- List of Sewer Service Companies Serving the South Marin Area