When we flush toilets or drain sinks and appliances, the wastewater seems to simply disappear. Of course, it doesn't. It drains into the wastewater collection system, a 132+ mile system of underground pipelines that collects wastewater from throughout the Goleta Valley and transports it almost entirely by gravity to the wastewater treatment plant.
Types of Sewer Systems
Goleta uses what is called a separate sewer system. This means that the pipes used to transport the wastewater from the community to the treatment plant carry only wastewater. Santa Barbara County Flood Control maintains a separate system of storm drains that takes care of the large volumes of water from rain. This water is discharged directly to creeks without treatment.
The Big Picture
Each home and business in Goleta has a side sewer pipe (called a "Lateral") which connects to the Goleta Sanitary District main sewer line. Lateral sewers connect with larger sewers called trunk or main sewers. The home or business owner is responsible for maintenance of these laterals! Pipes within the collection system range in size from four inches to 36 inches in diameter and can be buried to depths of approximately 25 feet.
Sewer System Management Plan
The District’s NPDES permit requires the District to develop and maintain a Sewer System Management Plan (SSMP). The SSMP consists of goals, elements and implementation timelines to prevent sewer overflows. Elements of the plan include operational plans and policies, preventative maintenance, inspections, training, resource allocation and long term asset evaluation. The District has incorporated the SSMP into its existing operational policies and guidelines to comply with the NPDES permit requirements.