Mysteries of the Deep: San José’s Sewer System

As you go about your daily life, you probably don’t think much about what lies deep under the ground you walk on, but there are vital underground networks that keep our city clean and safe. Did you know this infrastructure the City maintains can be as deep as 50 feet underground? What is this mysterious infrastructure under the ground on which we walk? It’s San José’s two sewer systems!

Installation of the dual Large Trash Capture System near the Los Lagos Golf Course

The city maintains two separate sewer systems – one carries wastewater from homes and businesses to the San José-Santa Clara Wastewater Treatment Facility. Today, we’re going to talk about the other system, the storm water sewer system, which collects rainwater from our streets and guides it through a network of pipes. These pipes then direct water into creeks and rivers, and eventually into the San Francisco Bay. Unfortunately, the water carries with it tons of trash and debris that get carried into storm inlets. So, we must prevent that trash from entering the Bay.

Taking out the Trash

Crews from the Department of Transportation are trained to enter structures installed into the storm sewer system. These trash capture systems trap litter and debris as small as 5 millimeters and prevent it from flowing through the system into our creeks and the Bay. The depth of these large trash capture systems ranges between 20 and 50 feet underground, and they are regularly maintained by crews. Watch as crews install the underground large trash capture system at 33rd Street and Melody Lane. These crews use harnesses and high-pressure equipment to enter them on a regular basis to clean them and ensure they continue to deliver their vital function. The city does a lot to clean up trash, however, preventing trash from littering our streets and reaching creeks, waterways, and the Bay is everyone’s job.

What can I do to help?

Help keep trash off our streets by tossing it in public litter cans. Make sure the curb area near your residence or business is clear of trash and debrisCleaning leafy debris and other trash from gutters and drain inlets close to your home or property will help prevent flooding. If you see water in the street or flooding, contact us immediately for assistance at 408-794-1900. Let’s work together to keep our creeks and the Bay clean!