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Sewage has a natural tendency to produce odors; all sewers have odors. The plumbing system in your home is designed to prevent these odors from entering the house by using a vapor trap. If you are experiencing odors indoors, it is likely that there is a problem with the vapor trap. If you experience a problem with your vapor trap, a plumber can help you.
Atmospheric conditions can also affect odors from sewer systems entering the house. When barometric pressure is falling or is very low, the air outside can be heavier than air from the sewer system, causing pressure to build up in the sewer system. This temporary condition may cause indoor odors, but will resolve as barometric pressure increases.
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If these problems occur and you are not using any water outlets, there may be a problem in the City main. Call 805-237-3865 or after business hours call 805-237-6464 to request service.
If you are using your household water outlets, turn them off. If the overflowing wastewater stops after turning off your outlets, you likely a problem in your sewer lateral and you will need to call a plumber. There is a cap on the sewer lateral clean out located outside your home; if you remove the cap it may reduce backup in your inside drains for a short time.
A sewer lateral (building sewer) is the privately owned and maintained sewer pipe connecting a building/dwelling to the public sewer main.
If you notice any sewage flowing onto the ground call 805-237-3865 or 805-237-6464 to report it. Please give your name and a call back number and note exact location and where the sewage is coming from. City crews will respond to investigate.
Check to see if your neighbors are having a similar slow drainage problem. Call the City Wastewater Division and we will check the mains. City crews will notify you if the problem is in the City main or not. If the city does not have a problem you will need to call a plumber to clean your lateral.
Report it by filling out an Action Request Form or by calling 805-237-3865.
Every water fixture in your house has a vapor trap. This “U” shaped pipe is clearly visible under sinks, and is present in some form on all lines draining to the sewage system. The “U” shape holds water, preventing gases from backing up from the sewer into the house through the sink drain.
All houses have plumbing vents (also called a vent stack) that extend through the roof. These vents allow air to flow both in and out of the house plumbing system, helping water to flow through the pipes. Working in combination with the vapor traps, gases from the sewer system are safely vented.
When sewer gasses are present inside the home, usually one or more vapor traps has dried out. The water in a vapor trap will evaporate if the fixture is not used often; seldom-used bathrooms or utility sinks are commonly odor sources. The simple solution is to periodically run water (one or two cups) into the drain to refill the trap.
If there is a sewer odor outside your home, report it to the City Wastewater Division at 805-237-3865. Note, however, the City is renown for natural sulfur springs, and these sulfur water sources have a strong odor, often smelling like sewage.
Contact the Office of the City Clerk to request a Claim Form at 805-237-3960 or at:1000 Spring Street2nd FloorPaso Robles, CA 93446
The original and one identical copy of the claim form, together with one copy of all attachments, are to be filed with the Office of the City Clerk. For more information, visit the City Clerk page.
The City maintains all sewer mains, which are located in the street or public utilities easements. Residents and business owner’s own the lateral connections to the mains, laterals typically run on the owners’ property and on streets or public areas to reach the main.
Property owners maintain their sewer lateral line, including the connection to the public sewer main. Locating the lateral is also a property owner’s responsibility, although the City will attempt to assist by providing recorded, available information.
To find out where your sewer lateral is located, you can check with the Engineering Division of the Community Development Department by calling 805-237-3860.
To report a problem in the sewer main during the hours of 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., call the Wastewater Treatment Plant at 805-237-3865. Between the hours of 3:30 p.m. and 7 a.m., contact the Police Department at 805-237-6464.