Sewer User Fee
The public sewer system that serves more than 40,000 residents and nearly 2,000 businesses is in need of repair and increased maintenance. In addition, State laws are not being met and the City is currently facing fines and mandated repairs by the Attorney General’s office.
After more than five years’ study, the City Council adopted San Gabriel’s first sewer user fee on June 3, 2014 after lengthy testimony. San Gabriel had been one of the region’s few cities that did not charge such a fee for maintenance and repair of the sewer system.
Council members listened to more than three hours of testimony, leading the Council to reduce the single family residential charge in response to concerns raised by residents during public hearing. The fee was subject to a protest vote procedure under Prop. 218, which concluded with the counting of protest votes at the conclusion of last Tuesday’s public hearing. Based on the law, 4,623 property owner protests were required to defeat the fee, but the Council received only 737 protests opposing it.
This fee – equivalent to $9.75 for a single-family home – will generate approximately $1,750,000 each year beginning in fiscal year 2014-15. The charge for use of the sewer collection system will be collected through the Los Angeles County Tax Collector on annual property tax bills. The revenue will be used to increase sewer maintenance and repair work to ensure reliable operation of the sewer system and to comply with the Federal Clean Water Act and State Waste Discharge Requirements.
Based on a Sewer Master Plan completed in 2010, there is an estimated $30 million in pipe repairs and upgrades needed. In addition, routine maintenance such as pipe cleaning and inspections, must be increased three-fold from current levels. As a result of sewer spills and an audit of the sewer system operations, the City is currently subject to enforcement action by the State Attorney General and the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. City staff and attorneys continue to negotiate a settlement with the Attorney General that will require significant investment in the sewer collection system in order to avoid more costly lawsuits and financial penalties.
The new fee allows the City to begin addressing these critical needs without taking funding away from other projects and programs. In the first two years, the entire 72-mile network of pipes and manholes will be inspected by remote video cameras. Based on the information gathered from the video inspections, the City will refine the cost estimates and prioritize the repairs that are expected to take more than 30 years to complete.
For more information, visit the Sewer System webpage or contact Public Works Director Greg de Vinck.
User Fee Background: City Council Study Session, August 20, 2013 Presentation
City Council Staff Report, April 15, 2014
Sewer Rate Study: City of San Gabriel Waste Water
Changes to Assessor's Property Data Records
Your sewer collection system charges are based on the land use as recorded with the Los Angeles County Assessor. Changes or updates to property type, number of units or square footage must be completed through the County Assessor's office at 213-974-9205 or assessor.lacounty.gov. For convenience, the Property Data Change Request form may be found here: link