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On-site Wastewater Treatment Systems

septic soldier

Within the City of Los Angeles there are clusters of unsewered properties that dispose of their wastewater by means of onsite wastewater treatment systems (OWTS, also known as septic systems). Throughout the City there are approximately 13,000 residential, multi-family, and commercial/industrial properties served by OWTS that are the responsibility to properly operate and maintain.

LA Sanitation's OWTS Group serves as the regulatory buffer between property owners and the US EPA, Sate Water Resouces Control Board, and the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, while also providing customer service to OWTS owners and operators to ensure protection of the City's surface and groundwater resources.


The City's OWTS Group serves as the responsible local agency for the 13,000 OWTS within the City and remains in constant contact with federal, state and other local government entities to ensure that OWTS are meeting water quality and construction standards for maintaining the City's environmental and public health needs.


LA Sanitation's OWTS Group provides information on how OWTS should properly function and tips for proper operation and maintenance through a homeowner guide that is readily available online. By doing this, the OWTS Group hopes to help prolong the life of OWTS owned by homeowners and operators, and avoid the common issues of spills and overflows caused by substandard or failing OWTS conditions. 


LA Sanitation's OWTS Group continues to proactively explore several funding sources to assist OWTS Owners who would like to properly abandon their OWTS and connect to sewer. So far a total of $13.5 million in grant funding applications have submitted to the following programs:
  1. Cleanup and Abatement Account ($10,000,000)
  2. Community Development Block Grant ($1,893,421)
  3. Integrated Regional Water Management Program ($1,339,486)
  4. Clean Water Act 319(h)Non-point Source Grant ($218,750)
If secured, these funds would be used to construct public sewers within unsewered areas of the City; especially those designated as high-risk areas and disadvantages communities. Additionally, LA Sanitation's OWTS Group is partnering with the EPA, the Department of City Planning, and the Green Streets Committee to phase out high-risk large capacity cesspools that pose the greatest threat to the City's water resources.


LA Sanitation's OWTS Group is assisting the Bureau of Engineering (BOE) in developing Sewer Assessment Projects that would provide sewers within areas of the City that are unsewered. An Assessment Proceeding is a democratic way by which a majority of OWTS Owners within an area can get together to build sewers for OWTS connection, and pay a fair share over a period of time.


LA Sanitation's OWTS Group collaborates with the Bureau of Engineering, LA Sanitation's Watershed Protection Division, Department of Building and Safety, and the Regional Water Quality Control Board to assist OWTS owners and operators to permit the new construction, alteration, or replacement of OWTS.

Septic System Examples


For your septic systems concerns or questions, please email us at septic.system@lacity.org, Hyginus.Mmeje@lacity.org (323) 342-6241, or Erik.Avila@lacity.org (323) 342-6232.

Si necesita asistencia en Español, favor de comunicarse con Erik Avila al (323) 342-6232 o Diandra Ortiz al (323) 342-1560.

Should you prefer to write us you may contact us at:

City of Los Angeles
Department of Public Works
LA Sanitation
Wastewater Engineering Services Division
Attention: Hyginus Mmeje, Manager, OWTS Program
2714 Media Center Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90065