Arcata City

Staff Report

Adopt Resolution No. 223-52, A Resolution of the City Council of the City of Arcata Adopting the Sewer System Management Plan 2023 Update per the Statewide General Waste Discharge Requirement for Sanitary Sewer Collection Facilities, and Authorize City Staff to Certify the Document in the California Integrated Water Quality System (CIWQS).


Department:Environmental ServicesSponsors:


The City of Arcata (City) maintains a sanitary sewer system comprised of approximately 65 miles of pipe, ranging from 6 inches to 24 inches in diameter, and 12 sewage lift stations.  The population served by the City’s sewer system is approximately 19,114 (US Census Website, 2022).

Discussion/Fiscal Impact


On May 2, 2006, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) adopted Statewide General Waste Discharge Requirements for Sanitary Sewer Systems., herein referred to as the “General Order”. The purpose of the General Order is to ensure that municipalities properly operate and maintain wastewater collection systems. The General Order applies to all public collection systems in California that own or operate collection systems comprised of more than one mile of sewer pipelines and convey untreated water to a publicly owned treatment facility. The principal elements of the General Order require each agency to prepare a Sewer System Management Plan (SSMP) and report any Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) to the State Regional Water Quality Control Board’s online SSO database. The goal of the General Order is to minimize sanitary sewer overflows and discharge to waterways.

The City prepared the original SSMP in April 2012. The General Order was last updated on August 6, 2013, with new requirements for monitoring and reporting programs. The General Order requires each municipality to update the SSMP every five years and include any significant program changes. The updated SSMP must be approved by the governing board with the submittal to the SWRCB. The 2012 SSMP was approved by the Council in July 2012. On June 5, 2023 the new Statewide General Order For Sanitary Sewer Systems WQ 2022-0103-DWQ will go into effect. While this update does not have to encompass any of the new regulatory requirements until 2025, some changes were made to match the new General Order, mostly applying to titles and terms that will be in the new General Order.


The requisite five-year update has been completed and requires acceptance by the Council. The purpose of the SSMP is to provide the City with a document that describes the activities necessary to manage its wastewater collection system effectively, including:

·         Maintaining or improving the condition of the collection system infrastructure to provide reliable service.

·         Minimizing infiltration and inflow (I/I) through cost effective measures.

·         Providing adequate sewer capacity to accommodate design storm flows.

·         Minimizing the number and impact of SSO’s that occur.

·         Providing funding for Capital Improvement Projects (CIP).

The SSMP is organized into the 11 required sections identified in the General Order. Each Section of the SSMP includes information demonstrating the City’s efforts to comply with each of the mandatory and applicable elements required by the General Order. The organization of the City’s SSMP is consistent with SWRCB guidelines and includes the following eleven mandatory waste discharge requirements:

1.      Sewer System Management Plan Goal and Introduction

2.      Organization

3.      Legal Authority

4.      Operations and Maintenance Program

5.      Design and Performance Provisions

6.      Spill Emergency Response Plan

7.      Sewer Pipe Blockage Control Program

8.      System Evaluations & Capacity Assurance Plan

9.      Monitoring, Measurements & Program Modifications

10.  Internal Audits

11.  Communications Program

Through the Water Boards’ imposed audit process, the City can track and evaluate the effectiveness of the SSMP; identify deficiencies in the management, operation, and maintenance; and implement changes to the SSMP to address these deficiencies.

The City’s SSMP did not require significant changes, however, updates were made to the following:

·         Updated the order of and changes to the required elements.

·         Updated the City’s Organizational Chart

·         Updated the City staff contact information and responsibility matrix.

·         Updated the wastewater collections hot spot cleaning schedule.

·         Updated the proposed CIP schedule.

·         Updated the sewer repair list.

·         Updates to the 2018 Overflow Emergency Response Plan

Internal audits are conducted every two years to measure the effectiveness of the SSMP. The SSMP document can be found on the City’s Website at:

It is recommended that the City Council approve the 2023 City of Arcata Sewer System Management Plan to allow completion of the SSMP certification process in the SWRCB’s electronic database. The approval and certification of the City’s SSMP will satisfy compliance with the General Order for the City.


The approval of the updated SSMP is consistent with current practices and budgets adopted for compliance with the SSMP; therefore, there are no additional fiscal impacts on the City’s wastewater utility budget.