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Sanitary Sewer Overflow Program

Glossary of Terms – SSO PUBLIC REPORT


Collection System – Generic term for any system of pipes or sewer lines used to convey wastewater to a treatment facility.  
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Drainage Channel – For the purposes of complying with the Statewide Sanitary Sewer Order, (1) a man-made canal used to transport storm water as part of a municipal separate storm sewer system, or (2) an intermittent or perennial stream bed.
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Enrollee – A public entity that owns or operates a sanitary sewer system and has submitted a complete and approved application for coverage under Statewide General Waste Discharge Requirements for Sanitary Sewer Systems (WQO No. 2006-0003-DWQ)  
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Event ID – A unique identifier assigned by the SSO database to each reported SSO or private lateral sewage discharge.
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Lateral – Segment of pipe which connects a home or building to a sewer main, which is usually located beneath a street or easement.  The responsibility for maintaining a lateral can be solely that of the sewerage agency or private property owner; or it can be shared between the two parties.  Local communities dictate lateral responsibility and the basis for a shared arrangement, if it applies.
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Lower Lateral – Portion of a lateral (usually from the property line to the sewer main) that the sewerage agency is responsible for maintaining.  This term only applies if overall lateral maintenance responsibility is shared with the private property owner.
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Miles of Gravity Sewer – Amount of gravity sewer lines/pipes in an Enrollee’s sanitary sewer system, expressed in miles.
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Miles of Laterals – Amount of laterals in an Enrollee’s sanitary sewer system, which the Enrollee is responsible for maintaining, expressed in miles.
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Miles of Pressure Sewer– Amount of pressurized sewer lines/pipes in an Enrollee’s sanitary sewer system, expressed in miles.
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Miles of Private Laterals – Amount of private laterals tributary to an Enrollee’s sanitary sewer system, which private property owners are responsible for maintaining, expressed in miles.
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Percent Reached Surface Water – Volume of sewage discharged from a sanitary sewer system or private lateral or collection system that reached surface water divided by the total volume of sewage discharged.
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Percent Recovered – Volume of sewage discharged that was captured and returned to the sanitary sewer system or private lateral or collection system divided by the total volume of sewage discharged.
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Private Lateral – Privately owned lateral.
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Private Lateral Sewage Discharge (PLSD) – Sewage discharges that are caused by blockages or other problems within privately owned laterals or collection systems which are tributary to the reporting Enrollee’s sanitary sewer system.  Reports of these events are submitted by Enrollees on a voluntary basis but are not their responsibility.  This type of sewage discharge is the responsibility of the private lateral or collection system owner.
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Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) – Any overflow, spill, release, discharge or diversion of untreated or partially treated wastewater from a sanitary sewer system. SSOs include:

  1. Overflows or releases of untreated or partially treated wastewater that reach waters of the United States;
  2. Overflows or releases of untreated or partially treated wastewater that do not reach waters of the United States ; and
  3. Wastewater backups into buildings and on private property that are caused by blockages or flow conditions within the publicly owned portion of a sanitary sewer system. 
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Sanitary Sewer System – Any system of pipes, pump stations, sewer lines, or other conveyances, upstream of a wastewater treatment plant headworks and which is comprised of more than one mile of pipes and sewer lines, used to collect and convey wastewater to a publicly owned treatment facility.
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Spill – Generic term referring to any sewage discharge (i.e., SSO or private lateral sewage discharge) resulting from a failure in a sanitary sewer system or privately owned lateral or collection system.
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SSO Category 1 – All discharges of sewage resulting from a failure in an Enrollee’s sanitary sewer system that:

  1. Equal or exceed 1000 gallons, or
  2. Result in a discharge to a drainage channel and/or surface water; or
  3. Discharge to a storm drainpipe that was not fully captured and returned to the sanitary sewer system.
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SSO Category 2 – All discharges of sewage resulting from a failure in an Enrollee’s sanitary sewer system not meeting the definition of Category 1.  
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SSO Database – Online reporting system developed, hosted, and maintained by the State Water Resources Control Board for compliance with the Monitoring and Reporting Program contained in Statewide General Waste Discharge Requirements for Sanitary Sewer Systems (WQO No. 2006-0003-DWQ).  
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Storm Drainpipe – For the purposes of complying with the Statewide Sanitary Sewer Order, any pipe that is part of a municipal separate storm sewer system used for collecting or conveying storm water.  
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Total # of PLSDs per 100 miles of Sewer – Broad metric used to compare the relative performance of privately owned laterals tributary to an Enrollee’s sanitary sewer system.  This metric expresses the number of Private Lateral Sewage Discharges, for which the reporting Enrollee is not responsible, for every 100 miles of privately owned laterals tributary to an Enrollee’s sanitary sewer system.  Due to the large variation in community specific characteristics, this metric should only be viewed as a rough comparison of the operation and maintenance performance for privately owned laterals.  The metric is calculated as described below:

Total # of PLSDs per = _Total # of PLSDs (100)___

100 miles of Sewer         Miles of Private Laterals

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Total # of SSOs per 100 miles of Sewer – Broad metric used to compare the relative performance of Enrollees and their sanitary sewer systems.  This metric expresses the number of SSOs, for which the reporting Enrollee is responsible, for every 100 miles of pipe or sewer lines in an Enrollee’s sanitary sewer system.  Due to the large variation in facility specific characteristics, this metric should only be viewed as a rough comparison of the operation and maintenance performance of Enrollees and their sanitary sewer systems.  The metric is calculated as described below:

Total # of SSOs per = ___________________Total # of SSOs (100)___________________

100 miles of Sewer      Miles of Pressure Sewer + Miles of Gravity Sewer + Miles of Public Laterals

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Total Volume of PLSDs Reached Surface Water per 100 miles of Sewer – Broad metric used to compare the relative performance of privately owned laterals tributary to an Enrollee’s sanitary sewer system.  This metric expresses the volume of Private Lateral Sewage Discharges, for which the reporting Enrollee is not responsible, that reached surface water for every 100 miles of privately owned laterals tributary to an Enrollee’s sanitary sewer system.  Because sewage discharges that reach surface water pose a greater threat to public health and the environment, this metric reflects some accounting of the threat posed by PLSDs.  Due to the large variation in community specific characteristics, this metric should only be viewed as a rough comparison of the operation and maintenance performance for privately owned laterals.  The metric is calculated as described below:

Total Volume of PLSDs Reached          = _Total Volume of PLSDs Reached Surface Water (100)_

Surface Water per 100 miles of Sewer                           Miles of Private Laterals

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Total Volume of SSOs Reached Surface Water per 100 miles of Sewer – Broad metric used to compare the relative performance of Enrollees and their sanitary sewer systems.  This metric expresses the volume of SSOs, for which the reporting Enrollee is responsible, that reached surface water for every 100 miles of pipe or sewer lines in an Enrollee’s sanitary sewer system.  Because sewage discharges that reach surface water pose a greater threat to public health and the environment, this metric reflects some accounting of the threat posed by SSOs.  Due to the large variation in facility specific characteristics, this metric should only be viewed as a rough comparison of the operation and maintenance performance of Enrollees and their sanitary sewer systems.  The metric is calculated as described below:

Total Volume (gal) of SSOs Reached           = _______Total Volume of SSOs Reached Surface Water (100)______

Surface Water per 100 miles of Sewer     Miles of Pressure Sewer + Miles of Gravity Sewer + Miles of Laterals

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Total Volume Reached Surface Water – Amount of sewage discharged from a sanitary sewer system or private lateral or collection system that reaches a surface water.  
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Total Volume Recovered – Amount of sewage discharged that was captured and returned to the sanitary sewer system or private lateral or collection system.  
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Upper Lateral – Portion of a lateral (usually from the building foundation to the property line) that the private property owner is responsible for maintaining. This term only applies if overall lateral maintenance responsibility is shared with the sewerage agency.  
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WDID – Waste Discharge Identification number which is a unique identifier assigned by the State Water Board to each Enrollee for regulatory record and data management purposes.
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( Updated 3/10/11 )