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Wastewater Collection System Condition Assessment

The City of Santa Barbara is responsible for 257 miles of Sanitary Sewer.  Currently the city has mains that date back from the late 1800’s to the present and ranging in size from 6 inch to 42 inch in diameter.  Although the mains from the 1800’s still function correctly, they are made of materials that may be considered substandard from today’s criteria.  The primary tool used to inspect the aging infrastructure is a  CCTV (Closed-Circuit Television) van.  Our Inspection staff is responsible for operating, maintaining and using the CCTV equipment to perform routine inspections using a national industry coding system called Pipeline Assessment Certification Program (PACP) from the National Association Sewer Service Companies (NASSCO). 

The City’s CCTV program and equipment is a vital tool for operating and maintaining the sanitary sewer system.  Currently, the City is seeking options for a new CCTV van, software and equipment to replace the outdated equipment from the 1990’s.

CCTV Sewer Main Inspections:

Field crews inspect the sewer mains using a robotic camera and one of the industry’s PACP software to document defects observed while travelling through the pipe.  The most common defects observed during inspections are breaks, fractures, cracks, grease, roots, sags, offset joints and private sewer lateral connections.  The defects observed are coded using the PACP standard codes and stored into the POSM CCTV database software which gives the sewer main a rating score for maintenance, structural and overall condition. 

The data collected from inspections is reviewed by the Wastewater Maintenance Planner/Scheduler for quality and is used to help decide future maintenance and repairs for the sewer main. Staff use this data to help ensure pipes are on the right cleaning schedule and CCTV inspection frequency. This inspection data also helps identify any defective sewer lateral connections, triggering a Sewer Lateral Inspection Program case. If there are any urgent structural issues, staff will prioritize the repairs or add to a future wastewater Capital Improvement Program list.

Where does data go and how does the City use the data? 

After the data is collected from field crews, it is then populated in both the City’s POSM server and  CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System).  The PACP structural score that is inputted into the CMMS database, is the driver on what projects how frequent we inspect the main in the future, using our built in automated preventative maintenance tool.

Response to and investigate blockages or spills:

In the event of a blockage or SSO (Sanitary Sewer Overflow), the City follows up with a visual inspection using CCTV equipment.  This allows us to confirm the cause of the issue, but also determine what our next step will be so we can prevent a future blockage or SSO at that same location.  Follow up steps would include either maintenance, repair, rehabilitate or replacement of the affected main.


While a local plumber can locate your connection to the city sewer main from your lateral, The City’s CCTV program also offers a service for locating your sewer lateral connection, or wye, for both residential and commercial buildings.  To request city staff to locate your property’s sewer lateral connection, please contact the Wastewater CCTV Planner/Scheduler to set a time.  Current fiscal year fees for locating service lines can be found on the City’s Fee Resolution and staff typically estimate an hour to dye test and confirm the lateral connection location.


Contact Us

Condition Assessment Contact:

Matt Lombardi



Last Updated: Sep 30, 2019
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