FAQ - Waste Water
- Who do I call to have my utilities activated or disconnected?
I need the contact numbers and general information for Public Works.
Who schedules garbage pick-up for Ashland residents?
Do I need to obtain a Public Works permit to replace my sidewalk or driveway approach?
Who do I call about a problem with city street lights?
Who maintains East Main, North Main, and Ashland Street?
Who do I call with questions regarding the Airport?
What are the different types of Public Works permits?
Can I place a temporary container in the public right-of-way?
Who do I call to get my street swept when dirty, or plowed when snow & ice are a hazard?
How long is a Public Works permit valid?
What happens when work is performed within the public right-of-way without a permit?
How do I obtain a Public Works permit?
How much does a Public Works permit cost?
Why is a Public Works permit needed?
I recently had a sewage backup in my house. What caused it and how do I handle the situation?
What is a backflow assembly?
Who can I call to have my backflow tested?
Why do backflow assemblies have to be tested annually?
Can I dump my used antifeeze in the sewer?
Does the plant use chlorine to disinfect the water?
I need to repair or replace my sewer line. What should I do?
What are the hours of operation for the Waste Water Plant?
Does the Wastewater Treatment Plant staff do the laboratory testing of the water?
I heard a loud noise and found that my toilet blew water everywhere. What should I do?
Where is the Wastewater Treatment Plant located?
Does the water leaving the Waste Water Plant go to Bear Creek or Ashland Creek?
My line seems to be plugged up a lot. What should I do?
Are there any special rules or guidelines for treatment quality that the Waste Water Plant has to meet?
Does water from the storm drain system go through the Waste Water Plant also?
What does FOG stand for?
Can I visit the Wastewater Treatment Plant?
My sewer service line does not drain. What should I do?
I want to arrange a race or parade. What do I need to do?
How do I find places where sewer gas is coming into and entering my home?
I do get sewer smells, what do I do now?
Q: Who do I call to have my utilities activated or disconnected?
A: Contact Utility Billing at 541-488-5304 to have utility service activated or disconnected, or if you have billing questions about your service. Utility Billing is located at 20 E. Main Street.
Q: I need the contact numbers and general information for Public Works.
· The City of
· A call must be placed to
· No construction debris or stockpiling of materials shall be placed in the street or within the public right-of-way.
· No above or below ground installations shall be done without City approval.
Important Phone Numbers
Public Works Administration Office: 541-488-5587
Building Department: 541-488-5309
Transportation & Engineering: 541-488-5347
Code Enforcement: 541-488-5305
Tree Permits: 541-488-5305
If you have any questions, requests or suggestions concerning the Public Works permit process, please contact the Public Works Administration Office at 541-488-5587.
Q: Who schedules garbage pick-up for Ashland residents?
Recology Ashland Sanitary Service is an independant contractor. They are located at 170 Oak Street. The Recology Valley View Transfer Station is located at 3000 Valley View Drive. To contact Recology, please call 541-482-1471.
Q: Do I need to obtain a Public Works permit to replace my sidewalk or driveway approach?
Yes. A Miscellaneous Concrete Construction Permit is required from the Public Works Administration Office, located at 51 Winburn Way, if work will take place in the public right-of-way. To contact Public Works, please call 541-488-5587.
Q: Who do I call about a problem with city street lights?
A: Call the Electric Department at 541-488-5357 for any maintenance issues.
Q: Who maintains East Main, North Main, and Ashland Street?
A: Those streets are part of the State Highway system, and are maintained by the Oregon Department of Transportation; not the City of Ashland.
Q: Who do I call with questions regarding the Airport?
A: Airport operations are handled by the Fixed Base Operator (FBO) at 541-482-7675. The Airport Commission can be reached at 541-488-2211.
Q: What are the different types of Public Works permits?
A public works permit provides the authorization for an individual or agency to perform work within the public right-of-way. There are eight types of public works permits
Right-of-Way Closure Permit covers the temporary closure of sidewalks, streets, alleys, parking spaces and paths within the City of
Encroachment Permit is issued for the private long-term use of public rights-of-way and easements including, but not limited to landscaping, parking, accesses, etc.
Miscellaneous Construction Permit covers the construction of sidewalks, driveway approaches, curbs and gutters within the public right-of-way.
Excavation Permit covers the cutting and excavations of streets and alleys within the City of
Driveway Painting Permit is granted for the purpose of painting a yellow “No Parking Zone” at the entrance to a home or business driveway to assist with visibility and access.
Dust Suppressant Permit is issued for the application of a dust suppressant on an unpaved City street or alley.
Special Event or Block Party Permit are issued to allow a temporary closure of a residential street or alley for the purpose of entertainment to benefit the immediate neighborhood including downtown.Sidewalk Café Permit utilizing the public sidewalk for sidewalk dining in the downtown business district (C-1-D), commercial district (C-1) or employment district (E-1).
Q: Can I place a temporary container in the public right-of-way?
Perhaps. A Right-of-Way Closure permit to place a temporary oversized storage container or dumpster will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Factors include the location, available space, amount of public use, length of time, etc. For more information, call Public Works at 541-488-5347.
Q: Who do I call to get my street swept when dirty, or plowed when snow & ice are a hazard?
A: Call the Street Division at 541-488-5313.
Q: How long is a Public Works permit valid?
Depending on the type of permit issued, some are valid for up to a period of 60 days, while others are valid for six months or more. Specific information can be obtained by contacting Public Works Administration at 541- 488-5587.
Q: What happens when work is performed within the public right-of-way without a permit?
A: All work will be stopped and the individual will be assessed penalty fees or face a potential fine.
Q: How do I obtain a Public Works permit?
A: Public works permits can be obtained at the City of
Q: How much does a Public Works permit cost?
The cost varies from $16.00 to over $400 depending upon the complexity of the permit, and the number of inspections needed. For more information, call Public Works at 541-488-5587.
Q: Why is a Public Works permit needed?
Each day the City of
Permits allow the City to control what is placed in the public right-of-way and gives the City the ability to ensure that only qualified parties, who are properly licensed and insured, work in our public streets.
Permits also provide the permittee with a clear understanding of requirements for working on public property.
Q: I recently had a sewage backup in my house. What caused it and how do I handle the situation?
A: First, you should call us at 541-488-5348. We will perform an inspection of the area and assist you in determining how and why it happened. If it was caused as aresult of a blockage in the City's sanitary sewer system, we will immediately take action to clear the blockage. We will contact the City's Risk Management Department. They will send out an inspector to check for damages. For any loss, you may file a claim through our Risk Management Department.
Q: What is a backflow assembly?
Backflow is when the normal direction of flow is reversed resulting in materials or contaminants entering the City water system. This can occur whenever the water pressure drops enough to cause a vacuum or "backsiphonage".
Q: Who can I call to have my backflow tested?
The following testers are certified by the State of Oregon and have provided paperwork to the City of Ashland. Backflow testers are private contractors and testing costs vary so it's recommended to obtain a price quote before scheduling the test.
- Rogue Valley Backflow: Mark Jamieson, 541-482-9464
- Southern Oregon Backflow: Garrett Sander, 541-779-8927
- Backflow Assembly Testing, Inc: Scott Bradley, 541-410-2259
- AQ Construction: Jeff Quinowski, 541-883-7567
- J. Steven Bradley, 541-944-3028
Q: Why do backflow assemblies have to be tested annually?
Backflow assemblies have springs, moving parts and internal seals that are subjected to wear and fatigue. Backflow assemblies have to be tested by a certified tester listed on City of Ashland's list of approved testers.
Q: Can I dump my used antifeeze in the sewer?
A: No. Anitfreeze cannot be disposed of in the sanitary or storm sewer systems. You should make arrangements to have it recycled.
Q: Does the plant use chlorine to disinfect the water?
A: No. With the latest upgrade, we no longer use chlorine as a disinfectant. We now use ultraviolet light(UV).
Q: I need to repair or replace my sewer line. What should I do?
There are two areas that you may need to be concerned about. First, the part of your line that runs from the house to the curb; and second, the part that runs from the curb to our sanitary sewer main in the street, easement, or right of way.
To replace the first part, you will need a plumbing permit from our Building Department. You may then replace the line yourself or hire a contractor to do it. Once you have completed the repair/replacement, you will need to call the Building Department back to schedule an inspection prior to backfilling the trench. For the second part in the street, you will need to obtain a Street Cut Permit from our Engineering Department. This will allow you to excavate your portion of the line out to the street. Usually, you will want a contractor to do this since there is much more involved. Again, once the line has been replaced/repaired and before you backfill, call the Engineering Department back for an inspection.
DON'T FORGET TO CALL FOR LOCATES 48 HOURS BEFORE YOU DIG - CALL 811.
Q: What are the hours of operation for the Waste Water Plant?
A: We have an operator on duty from 6:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.
Q: Does the Wastewater Treatment Plant staff do the laboratory testing of the water?
A: With the exception of some nutrient testing and other specialized testing, our laboratory staff does almost all of the testing.
Q: I heard a loud noise and found that my toilet blew water everywhere. What should I do?
A: You should give us a call at 541-488-5348. It probably means that we are in the area cleaning sewer lines. This does not happen very often. We use high water pressure to clean the sewer lines and sometimes this pressure travels up the customer's sewer service and "blows" their toilet, shower or sink. If this happens and you call us we can put you on a call list and notify you prior to the next time we clean in your area.
Q: Where is the Wastewater Treatment Plant located?
A: The plant is located at 1195 Oak Street in Ashland. Take the last paved driveway to the left at the bottom of Oak Street near the Bear Creek Bridge.
Q: Does the water leaving the Waste Water Plant go to Bear Creek or Ashland Creek?
About 2.1 million gallons of treated water leaves the plant each day and enters Ashland Creek. This blended water then travels about 1/4 of a mile to Bear Creek.
Q: My line seems to be plugged up a lot. What should I do?
A: Call us at 541-488-5348. We may have some suggestions on things that you may want to consider. Excavation and repairs may not always be the only answers. you may also want to look at what you put in your sewer lines, such as Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG). We have some ideas on Best Management Practices (BMPs) that will help.
Q: Are there any special rules or guidelines for treatment quality that the Waste Water Plant has to meet?
A: Yes, The City operates under a National Pollutant Dishcarge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit issued by the Oregon State Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The permit is issued for a period of five years. Currently, our permit expires on December 31,2008 (DEQ presently working on a renewal).
Q: Does water from the storm drain system go through the Waste Water Plant also?
A: No. The only water that enters the system is sanitary sewer.
Q: What does FOG stand for?
A: FOG is short for Fats, Oils, and Grease. You will be hearing more about this in the near future. FOG contributes to blockages in both the homeowners and public sewer lines.
Q: Can I visit the Wastewater Treatment Plant?
A: Yes. Just give us a call at 541-488-5348 to set up a tour.
Q: My sewer service line does not drain. What should I do?
A: Prior to calling a plumber, you may want to call us. We will check out the sanitary sewer line in your area. This may save you a plumbers bill. We will contact you and let you know whether or not the problem is in your line or not.
Q: I want to arrange a race or parade. What do I need to do?
There are many issues to consider when using the sidewalks or streets for a parade, race or other special event. The best way to start is by calling the Public Works Administration office at 541-488-5587 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: How do I find places where sewer gas is coming into and entering my home?
A: How Do I Find Places Where Sewer Gas Is Coming Into And Entering My Home?
1. Check all the traps in your house to make sure your water seal of the sewer is correct.
2. Go on the roof or have a plumber or handyman go on the roof and check all of your vent stacks to see if it is clogged or if a dead rodent has lodged in one of the vent pipes.
3. Re-install the bowl-wax rings on the toilets in your house, sometimes they get old and let sewer smells seep in.
4. If you are on slab foundation, check to see if you have any sewer-leaks in your pipes going into your foundation or under your slab foundation. (You may need a smoke test for this - contact WWTP at 541-488-5348 to discuss)
5. Get a smoke test done on your drains. A plumber/drain cleaner will cap off all drain vents on your house and blow smoke in your drain, waste, vent system; wherever you see smoke in your house is where the sewer smell is coming from.
Q: I do get sewer smells, what do I do now?
There are a variety of reasons that sewer smells may be entering a home or business.
· A common reason is the lack of required traps or vents. Every fixture should have a trap and a vent pipe to keep smells from entering the home. If traps and vent pipes are missing, you may need the help of a plumber to install them immediately.
· A common reason is broken seals around the toilet that allows water to siphon or dry out the traps and thus allowing smells to enter the home. There could be an air leak at the wax ring of the toilet or in the vent pipe. Rotted or damp wood can also cause the smell. Check to see if the toilet is tightly sealed to the floor. Grab the bowl of the toilet and try to slide it from side to side. It should resist a few pounds of pressure. If the toilet rocks from side to side, the wax ring has failed. You may need the help of a plumber to fix these problems.
· A frequent cause for inside odors is a dry trap. Pouring a quart of water into all sinks, showers/tubs and floor drains may correct this problem. All drains to a sewer system have a "P" shaped trap that is usually filled with water. The trap provides a seal to keep out sewer gas. If your basement floor drain is rarely used, water evaporates from the trap over time. Eventually the seal is eliminated, allowing sewer gas (and smell) into your house. The solution is easy: pour water into the drain.
· Specifically, the trap under the basin may not be holding enough water and is allowing sewer fumes into the room. You may want to inspect your trap and be sure it holds enough water.
· If you have an old "house trap" in your basement the trap may be cracked or broken allowing smells to seep through the cracks and into your home.
· If the smell is noticeable mainly around a sink, try flushing a strong cleaner and bleach down the sink's overflow-the small hole(s) inside the bowl near the rim. When the sink fills to near overflowing, water is routed through an inner chamber to the drain. Debris can collect inside the inner chamber, causing odor.
· There may be a small leak in one of the vent lines of the plumbing system, or a small leak around the base of a toilet or other fixture. You may need the help of a plumber. Check for loose fittings, corrosion, or holes in vent piping. Also, check the top side of horizontal drain pipes. If the top is rusted, it may never leak liquid, but it will leak sewer gas. Drain lines made of copper, steel or cast iron may all exhibit this problem.
· If you have older cast iron piping you may be getting smells through cracks in your pipes. This type of piping has a habit of forming a crack along the topside of the pipe over time, and this could be where your smell is coming from. You may need to inspect every inch of piping for cracks or openings where the smell is coming from, and then make the repair from there. If an entire length of pipe is cracked (quite common), you should replace it using PVC drain pipe of the same size, with no-hub couplers to fit the pipe into place.
· A frequent cause for inside odors is a clogged vent. You may need the help of a plumber or a handyman to disconnect the vent pipes inside your home and clean your vents all the way through the roof.