Franklin Septic-to-Sewer Conversion
Septic-to-Sewer Frequently Asked Questions
Why is this project being considered?
Aging, and in some cases failing, septic systems make this community a strong candidate for converting to sewer service via a State grant program that pays for community septic-to-sewer conversion projects. The goal is to bring reliable sewer service to the community, as well as prevent future environmental risks from septic systems.
Who is doing this project?
Two sewer agencies are involved in this project. The lead agency managing construction is the Sacramento Area Sewer District (SacSewer), a local sewage collection utility providing services to 1.2 million people throughout Sacramento region. SacSewer owns and operates thousands of miles of lower lateral and main line pipes (the sewer pipes under the streets) and is responsible for the day-to-day operations and maintenance of those pipes and related infrastructure such as pump stations.
Regional San is the local sewage treatment utility providing services to 1.6 million people throughout the Sacramento Region. Once wastewater is collected in SacSewer’s system, it is conveyed to the Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant near Elk Grove, where it is safely treated and then discharged to the Sacramento River.
Anyone connecting to sewer service as a result of this project will become customers of both SacSewer and Regional San.
What are the benefits to connecting to sewer?
- Municipal sewer services are more reliable and require less maintenance than septic systems.
- Converting to sewer now with grant funding will save property owners money as compared to connecting later without grant funding.
- Current regulatory requirements for septic systems have become much more restrictive. Replacement or repair of aged septic systems may be more costly or possibly prohibited.
- Once connected to sewer, property owners will not need to worry about the expensive replacement or repair of old septic systems.
- Property values may benefit from sewer conversion, especially if a property has the liability of a non-compliant or aging septic system.
- Disabling septic systems and connecting to sewer will reduce impacts to potable water wells and groundwater quality related to problems with septic systems and cesspools. This will alleviate concerns of groundwater contamination and possible enforcement actions.
What has been done to date?
SacSewer has worked over the past few years to evaluate the possibility of converting residential properties with septic systems to sanitary sewer service. We looked closely at the feasibility of such a project and then applied for a State grant to help pay for design and construction. For Linda Manor, State funding was approved, and design is now underway in preparation for construction. For Old Florin Town, Hood, and Franklin, design is now underway for residential connections while we wait for approval of construction funds.
What does the State grant cover?
At this time, the State grant is applicable only to residential connections and is anticipated to cover most, if not all, of the residential connection costs. This community project is a “turnkey” project, which means SacSewer will use the grant funding to provide all the necessary services to build the project, including preparing the design, acquiring the permits, and hiring and managing the construction contractor.
What will it cost for those who want to connect?
Residential property owners who choose to connect will likely only have to pay the monthly rates for SacSewer and Regional San, which are currently $56.85 combined. It is hoped that all construction and connection costs for eligible residential parcels will be fully covered by the State grant (and possibly other funding sources, as necessary). If a cost-share for residential property owners is necessary, we will provide estimates of the range of costs for each owner. For non-residential parcels within the project area, there may be an opportunity to connect, but it is likely that owners will need to pay some or all of the connection costs.
If I say I am interested in participating, will that obligate me to connect?
No, your participation is non-binding until you sign a sewer agreement later, before construction. Stating your interest now and signing a permit-to-enter for the design consultant to look at your property will simply ensure your property is included in the project.
How many participating properties are needed to secure funding?
While there is not a specific target percentage we are required to meet, the more eligible property owners we get to participate, the better chance we have of getting enough State funding to build the project. The bottom line is we need a high percentage of property owners to participate to maximize the available funding. Please note that Linda Manor has already secured funding.
What if I don’t want to participate?
There’s no obligation to connect, but if you desire (or are required) to do so later, you will have to pay for the conversion cost yourself. This can cost $12,000 or more.
I just upgraded my septic system, so why would I need to connect?
There is no obligation to connect to sewer. However, if the project is built and property owners want (or are required) to connect later, they will have to take on all the responsibilities and costs for the septic conversion (typically $12,000 or more).
Could we be forced to connect later?
As older septic systems fail, replacement may not be permitted under current regulations (see next question). Regulatory enforcement could require owners to hook up to sewer service if parcels are close enough to an existing sewer line.
What if the community overall prefers not to participate in this effort?
Residents should be aware that in 2012 the State adopted new policies with stricter requirements on septic systems, and the County Environmental Management Department (EMD) also adopted new requirements in 2015 that regulate septic systems. Many aging septic systems will not be able to meet these new requirements. These include parcel boundary and wellhead setback requirements and mandates that new or upgraded septic systems have both a primary and reserve disposal field. Owners can apply for a variance, but these are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Non-participating owners would most likely need to install an advanced onsite treatment system, which would be very costly.
Will businesses be able to connect?
The State grant provides funding only for residential connections, but businesses in the project area should be able to connect at a cost to the property owner. Other funding may help reduce costs for commercial connections. Regardless, businesses will ultimately benefit because the state is paying for installing the sewer in the street.
If I want to connect, what can I expect during design and construction?
Property owners will need to sign a permit-to-enter to allow design consultants to start planning the connection on each parcel. Prior to construction, any impacts to properties will be explained, and contractors will work with owners to minimize impacts and preserve important landscaping features, whenever possible. Construction contractors will restore conditions to as good as or better than before. Existing septic tanks will be emptied and disabled and filled with material to avoid reuse in the future. Tanks will NOT be removed—they will be abandoned in place. Any maintenance of the new sewer connection and related equipment on private property will be the responsibility of property owners.
What are the next steps?
Except for Linda Manor, which has already been funded, final state funding for construction is still to be determined. If funding is secured, these are the anticipated timelines:
Linda Manor and Old Florin Town
Funding agreement with State – fall 2023 for Old Florin Town (Linda Manor is already funded)
Complete design plans – early 2024
Start construction – summer 2024
Complete construction – late 2025
Hood and Franklin
Funding agreement with State – fall 2023 for Franklin, winter 2023 for Hood
Complete design plans – early 2024
Start construction – fall 2024
Complete construction – late 2025
Septic-to-Sewer Comment Form
The Sacramento Area Sewer District (SacSewer) is currently working on several community septic-to-sewer conversion projects. You can use this form to submit comments or questions regarding your community’s project.
Note: An asterisk (*) indicates required information.