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Frequently Asked Questions

I called my plumber out to fix a sewer stoppage. He said the blockage is on the City’s side. Will the City clear the blockage and who will pay my plumber bill?
Can anything be done to prevent potholes?
Who can I call to report a pothole?
Who is responsible for maintaining or replacing the sidewalk in front of my home/business?
What are the minimum requirements for residential driveways/parkway areas?
A streetlight has been out on my street for two months. Why hasn’t the City repaired it yet?
May I push leaves and dirt into the street for the sweeper to remove?
How can we get sidewalks clear of low hanging trees?
When will the Street Sweeper clean my street?
When will my street be resurfaced?
I have brown water coming out of my faucets and in my toilets. Can the City come out and fix the problem?
What can I do to conserve water?
My gutter is flooded at the drain inlet on the street. How do I get this unplugged?
What do I do if I need to report a sewer mainline blockage or other sewer maintenance?
Why are wastewater rates increasing so quickly?
Once I report a pothole, how long does it take to get it fixed?
Is there anything we can do to ease the burden of higher rates?
What is the purpose of this rate increase?
Why now?
How much will the upgrade cost?
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Q: I called my plumber out to fix a sewer stoppage. He said the blockage is on the City’s side. Will the City clear the blockage and who will pay my plumber bill?
A:
Many plumbers and property owners are not aware that in the City of Galt, the property owner is responsible for the entire sewer lateral. This includes the portion of the lateral in the public right of way to where it connects with the sewer main. However, if a plumber believes the problem is in the City’s main, contact the Public Works Department at (209) 366-7260. Public Works staff will investigate. If the problem is in the City’s main, Public Works staff will clear any blockage. If the problem was the responsibility of the City, you may file a claim for reimbursement of plumbing costs.  There are two exceptions. When the lateral service from the sidewalk to the sewer main is actually broken, the City will replace the broken line. If a tree maintained by the City damages a sewer lateral, the City will repair the lateral. If your plumber discovers a damaged line in the sidewalk or street area, he should contact the Public Works Department at (209) 366-7260. 


Q: Can anything be done to prevent potholes?
A:
Roads today are being built to reduce their moisture capacity, and researchers are working to develop a better, more durable pavement. Researchers also have improved the cold-patch asphalt so those patches last longer. This "high performance" material comes in 50 lb. bags, and stays pliable and workable in the coldest of temperatures. Several types of pavement surface treatments are available to help prevent pavement deterioration, depending on the condition of the road section, and the amount of City dollars available to spend on them.

Q: Who can I call to report a pothole?
A:
If the pothole is on a city street, call the Public Works Department at (209) 366-7260 between the hours of 7:30 am and 5:30 pm. After hours or on weekends, call the Police Department at (209) 366-7000.

Q: Who is responsible for maintaining or replacing the sidewalk in front of my home/business?
A:
Per city ordinance, the adjacent property owner is responsible for maintenance and/or replacement unless a city street tree has damaged the side walk. The Public Works Department can make an inspection to determine cause of damage.

Q: What are the minimum requirements for residential driveways/parkway areas?
A:
Residential driveways/parking areas shall be a minimum width of 10 feet and lead to an approved carport or garage. The drive approach on public right-of-way shall also be the same width as the driveway, on your property. The plot plans will assist the City in determining if the proposed improvement will meet the city code and to ensure the proposed driveway does not impact adjacent improvements such as fire hydrant, meter box, etc.

Q: A streetlight has been out on my street for two months. Why hasn’t the City repaired it yet?
A:
The City repairs City-owned streetlights and SMUD-owned but City-maintained streetlights. Public Works relies on citizens to report streetlight problems for repair. We do not have staff that specifically locates streetlight problems. Please contact Public Works at (209) 366-7260.

Q: May I push leaves and dirt into the street for the sweeper to remove?
A:
No. The sweeper cannot pick up all debris and leaves are particularly hard to pick up. Additionally, placing leaves or dirt in the street is a serious violation of stormwater pollution prevention ordinances and can lead to serious fines. Place all dirt and leaves in your yard/garden waste disposal bin for pickup on your scheduled trash pick-up day. Remove all trash and leaves from the street gutter immediately in front of your property and dispose of in trash and yard/garden waste bins. The street sweeper will assist in keeping large road areas clean.

Q: How can we get sidewalks clear of low hanging trees?
A:
Trees on private property are the responsibility of the property owner to trim. Trees should be trimmed at least 8 feet above the sidewalk and one foot back of sidewalk. Trees and bushes also cannot block viewing of traffic and parking signs. Trees located on private property whose branches interfere with electrical transmission lines may be altered by SMUD. If City-owned trees are encroaching on sidewalks or signage, contact Public Works at (209) 366-7260 to have trimmed.

Q: When will the Street Sweeper clean my street?
A:
Sweepers operate on a schedule. Generally, the sweeper runs on every street at least once a month. Commercial streets and collector streets are swept twice as often as residential streets. The sweeper assists in cleaning streets, but cannot remove all trash and debris. Property owners are responsible for keeping the street and sidewalk free of debris.

Q: When will my street be resurfaced?
A:
The City streets were recently rated on their present pavement condition. Typically, main streets and secondary collectors receive a higher priority for pavement resurfacing than residential streets.

Q: I have brown water coming out of my faucets and in my toilets. Can the City come out and fix the problem?
A:
First check to see if ONLY the hot water is brown in color. If the brown water occurs when using hot water, this discoloration is caused by sedimentation in the hot water heater and generally indicates that the hot water heater should be flushed. Consult your owner’s manual for the proper procedure to flush the hot water heater. Most manufacturers recommend that hot water heaters should be flushed once per year.

If your cold water is brown, it is generally caused by iron and manganese. These minerals are not hazardous but often coat the interior of pipes. Any change in the flow of water can cause these minerals to run free. If this occurs, customers should flush water from their main hose bib, usually located in the front of the house for approximately 3 minutes. If this does not clear the problem, contact the Public Works Department at (209) 366-7260. The City works to minimize this problem by periodically flushing water mains throughout the system.
Q: What can I do to conserve water?
A:
Water conservation is easy. Just following a few simple tips can make a really big difference:

Water when evaporation is low, between midnight and 10:00 am. Try to avoid using water during the peak-use hours of 5:00 am – 8:00 am.

Follow an odd/even water schedule.

Use a drip irrigation system to prevent runoff by applying water directly to the plant’s root zone.

Select water efficient landscape plants.

Sweep or rake up debris instead of hosing it away.

Use a pistol grip nozzle on your hose to prevent water from running continuously.

Adjust your sprinkler heads to make sure water is going where it’s needed and not on sidewalks and driveways.

Do not cycle/run sprinkler system too long into the street gutter. Water should not drain.

Q: My gutter is flooded at the drain inlet on the street. How do I get this unplugged?
A:
The property owner is responsible for keeping the gutter free of leaves and other debris. If the drain inlet gets plugged during a storm, the property owner may pull out debris with a rake or shovel. NEVER REMOVE THE INLET GRATE! If your efforts to clear the inlet blockage are unsuccessful, contact Public Works at (209) 366-7260; or after hours, Galt PD at (209) 366-7000 for assistance.

Q: What do I do if I need to report a sewer mainline blockage or other sewer maintenance?
A:
If you need to report a sewer mainline blockage, or any other need for sewer maintenance, staff can be contacted by phone at any time. During normal working hours, 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM, Monday through Thursday, please call (209) 366-7260. To report an incident during off hours (including Fridays), contact the Galt Police Department at (209) 366-7000 and they will contact on-call maintenance personnel.

Q: Why are wastewater rates increasing so quickly?
A:
The major cause is our new National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit. Your elected officials along with City staff have been trying everything possible to mitigate the cost impacts of this permit. They have given public testimony before the Regional Water Board, met with Federal and State representatives, filed an appeal with the State Water Board and approached the League of California Cities for assistance. The requirements of the new permit are onerous and expensive.
Q: Once I report a pothole, how long does it take to get it fixed?
A:
Normally it will be temporarily patched within 48 hours.  Maintenance crews are constantly on the lookout for potholes, but the city welcomes citizen calls about potholes as well.

Q: Is there anything we can do to ease the burden of higher rates?
A:
EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) is now available and has the added advantage of allowing average monthly billing for residential customers. Sign up at the Finance Department at 380 Civic Drive. In addition, the City will be updating accounting software, which may allow some “level-loading” of annual water and wastewater usage for customers on meters.

Q: What is the purpose of this rate increase?
A:
The purpose of this rate increase is to begin to collect funds required to pay for the upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant mandated by the State of California.

Q: Why now?
A:
The City has an anticipated deadline in 2010. This fund augments existing funds to pay for many (but not all) of the projects necessary for the next two years.

Q: How much will the upgrade cost?
A:
The current estimate is between $48M and $63M to serve the customers within the existing City limits.
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