Bay Area district launches strategic sewer system improvement project

The Oro Loma Sanitary District Board of Directors recently approved low-cost financing to replace old sewer collection system infrastructure serving its customers and communities while protecting the environment.  

With this financing, the Board maintains its 10-Year Strategic Plan and implements priorities to maintain its infrastructure in a pro-active manner to avoid any impacts to customer service. Oro Loma Sanitary District is targeting the replacement and rehabilitation of approximately 40 miles of defective sewer collection system pipelines that collect and direct wastewater flows to the treatment plant. The sewer collection system upgrade is one example of how the District continues to respond to the needs of the community and the San Francisco Bay while keeping its sewer service charges amongst the lowest in the State.

“Oro Loma Sanitary District continues to make thoughtful and strategic decisions to better serve the community and contribute to the health of the San Francisco Bay,” said Board President Rita Duncan. “We have made great progress over the last decade to update our 10-Year Strategic Plan to improve upon the District’s high standards of quality, system health, and reliability. The District is well positioned to meet the infrastructure challenges of today and in the future.”

The District was established in 1911 to serve a population that was growing as farms and orchards were being subdivided into individual home sites. It encompassed approximately 800 acres in San Lorenzo. Over the years, Oro Loma has grown to serve residents and businesses in a 13 square mile area. In addition to sewer collection and wastewater treatment, the District provides refuse collection and recycling services to its customers.

Using Innovation to Tackle Infrastructure Challenges

Oro Loma has perfected the deployment of pipe bursting to cost-effectively replace and rehabilitate its sewer collection system, which is aging and requires investment over time to maintain a high level of customer service at the lowest possible cost. This approach builds off the foundation of the District’s award-winning organization with a track record of innovation and efficient operations. The benefits of the pipe bursting method include:

  • Lowest Cost Construction Method – the pipe bursting method, based on EPA studies, is the lowest cost approach for wastewater agencies responsible for maintaining sewer collection system infrastructure. The District has already been employing this method for more than a decade on previously completed sewer collection system replacement and rehabilitation projects.
  • Least Environmental Impact – using the pipe bursting method for project construction results in the least impacts to the environment by minimizing project excavations and avoiding third party impacts such as increases in service interruption or traffic delays resulting in negative economic impacts to the community.
  • The need for larger scale sewer collection system replacement and rehabilitation based on system age and condition is clearly articulated in the District’s 10-Year Strategic Plan and now is a good time to invest in infrastructure improvements on the pipelines with the highest risk to customers and District operations.
  • The District plans to replace up to 40 miles of sewer collection system pipelines and associated sewer laterals and manholes over the next five years, with the goal of reducing future system operational costs and improving the reliability of the collection system.
  • The District has funded the project using the lowest cost approach through financing with the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Water Infrastructure Financing and Innovation Act programs.

Throughout the development of the project, the Board and staff have worked collaboratively to focus the project on the highest risk assets to be upgraded at the lowest possible cost to customers. This adheres to the Oro Loma pledge to provide the highest value in wastewater, solid waste, and recycling services to its customers and protect the San Francisco Bay and its communities.

Oro Loma Sanitary District serves communities of Unincorporated Alameda County, including San Lorenzo, Ashland, Cherryland, Fairview, portions of Castro Valley, and designated areas of the Cities of Hayward and San Leandro. Oro Loma’s service area is located about 13 miles south of Oakland and 30 miles north of San Jose on the eastern shore of the San Francisco Bay. Learn more.

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