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Canyon Cleaning and Maintenance

The urban canyons of San Diego pose a unique challenge: if a sewer spill occurs in a canyon, it could go undetected. With approximately 250 miles of sewer lines located in the City's canyons and other non-right of way areas, the Public Utilities Department has taken aggressive measures to reduce the possibility of a canyon sewer spill and to increase the chances that such a spill be detected and reported quickly.

The cleaning of the canyon sewer lines where a sewer spill could easily wind up in a river, bay or the ocean is critical work for the department. An inspection process televises and assesses canyon sewer lines and manholes to determine whether a canyon pipeline should be rehabilitated, replaced, or placed on an accelerated cleaning schedule.

Permanent access to each of these canyon sewer lines is crucial for the normal maintenance, cleaning and repairs of such lines. However, many of the canyons are located in environmentally sensitive areas. To address that concern, Public Utilities works closely with several other City departments, a variety of state and federal agencies, and community groups to ensure that canyon access has a minimal impact on canyon environments.

A Canyon Management Committee, a multi-discipline committee of City departments, works to address issues in the City's canyons and open space areas. The Committee also works on overlapping canyon issues such as canyon access, maintenance, community outreach, vandalism and environmental issues. Departments include Public Utilities, Transportation and Storm Water, Engineering and Capital Projects, Park and Recreation, Police, Fire-Rescue, Development Services, Environmental Services, and Real Estate Assets. The Committee also includes a Citizens Advisory Group.