Ukiah Valley Sanitation District

151 Laws Avenue,

Ukiah CA, 95482

(707) 462-4429


Delinquent Accounts

Permission to Connect

Lots in urban areas, such as the Ukiah Valley, are usually too small to allow an onsite septic system. In order to build on urban size lots, connection to a community wastewater system such as the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District is required. A community wastewater treatment system is a complex and highly regulated industrial process. Water contaminated with urine, fecal matter, and household chemicals must be completely cleansed of these contaminates before the treated water can be returned to the environment. Wastewater treatment processing is therefore far more difficult and costly to accomplish then delivering potable water to a location but the availability of the wastewater system provides the ability to build on small urban lots. Therefore, permission to build on urban lots by the planning authority (City or County) will be contingent on the landowner receiving permission to connect to the wastewater system. Permission to connect is given if there is sufficient capacity within the system and if the landowner pays the required “connection fees” for the indicated level of use.

Connection Fees

The connections fees help offset the initial and enduring cost of existence of the system. Once paid the landowner has a “share” in the system. One share, known as an Equivalent Sewer Service Unit (ESSU), is equal to the expected usage demand that a two bedroom house will provide on the system. At present, the purchase price of one share is $12,240. 00. A larger house with more bedrooms will pay a multiple of that price, for example the connection fee for a 3 bedroom house will be 1.10 times $12,240, a four bedroom 1.20 times $12,240.00. Commercial and industrial connections may pay many multiples of one ESSU; certain kinds of operations will pay millions of dollars for the right to connect. (See Ordinance 35 for further information about connection fees.) Purchase of the necessary shares provides the property owner the right to connect to the system for the indicated usage and will obligate the purchaser/user to pay a "monthly usage fee" which will include a proportionate share of District bond obligations.

Monthly Usage Fees

Once connected, the property owner is additionally obligated to pay a monthly usage fee which includes a fixed minimum amount (presently $53.47/month) which  includes an allotment of  3.4 units (2,543 gallons) of wastewater flow into the sewer. In Fiscal Year 2012 -2013 an additional charge of $4.45 per unit (748 gallons) will be assessed for usage that exceeds that amount; in Fiscal Year 2013-2014 the unit fee will increase to $5.50 per unit. (See Ordinance 36  for further information about usage fees and the rate schedule) The wastewater flow into the collection system is estimated by examining the property's water bill and determining the average water consumption for the months of January, February and March. The monthly fee will be computed based on this average and applied for each month of the year. The fee pays for the operations and maintenance of the system including payments for loans for building or upgrading the system.

Owner's Obligation to Pay Monthly Fees

Permission to connect stays with the property;  if the property is sold the right for continued use is provided to the new property owner. Thus, the availability of the wastewater connection adds value to the property;  without the connection the property could not be occupied or rented. Therefore, when a person buys the property they also buy the obligation to pay the monthly sewer bill. If the property is rented, the property owner can direct the renter to pay the sewer bill as a condition of renting. However, the property owner has the ultimate responsibility and obligation to see that the proper payment is made. (See Ordinance 33). If the renter fails to pay, the owner will have to pay because this is one of the obligations that was assumed upon purchase of the property. In order to assure that the wastewater bill is paid, many owners include the cost of the sewer in the rent and then pay the District.

Disconnecting the Sewer Line

If a person fails to pay his water bill, the water company will turn off the water. The building connection to a wastewater system does not have a valve for closing the sewer line. In order to “turn-off  use of the system”, the District will need to dig up the line and cut and cap it. If this is done, the house or building cannot be occupied or rented. In order for wastewater service to be returned to the property, the property owner will have to pay the initial money owed plus all costs associated with the disconnect process including the initial excavation of the street and capping of the sewer line and including re-excavating  for purpose of re-connection. (See Administrative Procedures for further information.) However, the District considers this the more extreme alternative to dealing with non-pay users of the system, it therefore reserves this alternative for the worst offenders of non-payment.  

Attachment to the Property Tax Bill

The District has another less extreme means of obtaining money owed by sewer system users. Through due process, it can attach the amount owed plus interest and penalties to the property tax bill. The property owner will therefore pay this amount when the property taxes are to be paid. If the property taxes are unpaid, the taxes become a lien against the property. To sell or refinance property, you must have clear title. A lien on your property makes your title unclear, therefore the property owner cannot sell or refinance the property until title is cleared. To clear the title, you must pay off the lien. Thus, the District knows that putting a lien on property is a inexpensive way ,compared to excavating and capping the property's sewer line, to guarantee what is owed to the District will sooner or later be collected. If the tax obligations continue to be unpaid, the lien will ultimately result in the property being sold to satisfy the tax lien.

The following links will provide additional and more detailed information process and procedures for  delinquent accounts:

Ordinance 13

Ordinance 33

Ordinance 35

Ordinance 36

Administrative Procedures