Wastewater Division - Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we need a Collection System and Wastewater Plant?

Water is obviously one of our most valuable resources, but when it is used and goes down the drain, it is degraded in quality.   Modern collection and treatment processes, like those operated by the City of Lompoc, allow water to be reclaimed and safely reintroduced to the environment for further beneficial uses.  This practice is essential to the preservation of public health and the environment.


  1. Who discharges to the Lompoc Regional Wastewater Reclamation Plant?

In addition to receiving wastewater from the City of Lompoc, the City receives wastewater from Vandenberg Village and Vandenberg Air Force Base.

  1. How is the effluent quality different now than before the Wastewater Plant Upgrade?

Among other things, the total suspended solids are less due to the filtrations, nitrate, turbidity, suspended solids, and biochemical oxygen demand concentrations are significantly less following the upgrade to the Plant.  In addition, the upgraded Wastewater Plant no longer uses chemicals in the treatment process.

The Wastewater Treatment Plant was constructed in the mid-1970’s with significant upgrades completed in 2009. Upgraded processes added include:

  • Headworks facilities downstream of the existing screens including influent pumping, flow metering, a grit removal tank, and peak wet weather flow equalization;
  • Secondary treatment facilities including an oxidation ditch process, secondary clarifiers, and return/waste activated sludge pumping;
  • Facilities consisting of secondary effluent flow equalization utilizing the existing aeration tanks;
  • Tertiary cloth-media filters and waste backwash water handling;
  • Germicidal ultra-violet disinfection facility with effluent pumping and disposal replacing existing chemical treatment facilities;
  • Solids handling facilities including dissolved air flotation for thickening biological solids, and upgraded the sludge lagoons;
  • Electrical power distribution, instrumentation and control facilities; and
  • Miscellaneous support facilities and miscellaneous improvements to existing facilitie
  1. Does the Wastewater Plant offer tours to the public?

Yes!  If you are interested in a Plant tour, please contact the Wastewater Division, (805) 736-5083, or wwtp-info@ci.lompoc.ca.us.  Also look for events open to the public throughout the year.

  1. How does the Wastewater Treatment Plant control odors?

Bio-filters are used to control the odor from various processes at the WWTP.  “Smelly” air is blown through bio-filters, where it is cleansed using a microbial process before being released into the atmosphere.

  1. Where does the water go after it’s been treated?

After processing, the treated water is released into San Miguelito Creek.

  1. How does the treatment process work?

With the new upgrade, wastewater is treated using a combination of sophisticated microbial and physical process.  The treatment process separates wastewater into its liquid and solid portions.  Both the liquid and the solids handling in the treatment process are very important steps in processing wastewater and both portions are regulated by the City’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit.

Liquid Handling
Once wastewater enters the Plant, bar screens are used as preliminary treatment to remove large objects like sticks, rags, plastic, rocks, toys or trash.  This protects downstream process equipment from damage.  Large influent pumps then deliver the raw sewage into the Plant for further treatment.  Wastewater enters a grit removal process where heavier, gritty material is separated before it enters the oxidation ditches.  The grit is washed, dewatered, and disposed of at the City’s landfill.  Following the grit removal system, wastewater flows to oxidation ditches where microorganisms break down organic matter and nutrients thereby removing pollution.  Water leaves the oxidation ditches and splits into three secondary clarifiers where heavier material (sludge) sinks and lighter material (scum) floats and are further treated.  A portion of the settled sludge is returned to the oxidation ditches because it still contains active microorganisms.  Secondary effluent pumps deliver the wastewater to the ultraviolet (UV) disinfection system.  The wastewater passes through filters to clarify the water and allow the ultraviolet light to properly disinfect.  After UV disinfection the reclaimed water is released into San Miguelito Creek.  Some reclaimed water is used, primarily for dust control, by local contractors. 

Solids Handling
The liquid and solids portion of the treatment process is largely separated during the secondary clarifier treatment process.  The heavier material (sludge) in the secondary clarifier sinks and is pumped to the dissolved air floatation treatment (DAFT) where sludge is thickened.  The thickened sludge is pumped to the aerobic digesters where the last stages of digestion or break down occur.  The digested sludge is then pumped to lagoons to age for approximately one year, then pumped to the drying beds.  Once the aged sludge is dried in the sun, a process that my take several months, it is hauled away for composting.

  1. How much wastewater is processed by the Lompoc Regional Wastewater Reclamation Plant?

The Plant typically processes about 3.2 million gallons of wastewater every day, about 1.2 billion gallons per year!


  1. Who do I contact if I notice a sanitary sewer backup, overflow, or sewer other sewer issue?

Please contact the Wastewater Division at (805) 736-5083, or wwtp-info@ci.lompoc.ca.us, if you observe a sanitary sewer backup, overflow, or other sewer issue.  If an overflow occurs after business hours, please contact the City of Lompoc Dispatch, (805) 875-8115, for immediate assistance.

  1. I live in Vandenberg Village.  Who do I contact if I notice a sanitary sewer backup, overflow, or other sewer issue?

Please contact Vandenberg Village Community Service District located at 3757 Constellation Road, (805) 733-2475, to report a sanitary sewer backup, overflow, or other sewer issue.  If the spill is observed after hours, any time after 5:00 pm Monday through Friday, or weekends, please call the after hours number at (805) 733-3615.  Additional information may be located on their website, www.vvcsd.org

  1. What is a Wastewater Collection System?

The Wastewater Collection System is a series of pipes, usually underground, that transport wastewater, consisting of liquids and solids, from buildings to the City’s Wastewater Treatment Plant where they are treated prior to being released back into the San Miguelito Creek and the Santa Ynez River.

  1. What is a private lateral or a lateral?

A private lateral is an underground pipe that connects a residence or business to the City’s sanitary sewer.  Lateral sewer clogs, clean-out, and maintenance are the responsibility of the property owner.

  1. Who do I contact to find where my lateral is located?

You can contact the Wastewater Division at (805) 736-5083, or wwtp-info@ci.lompoc.ca.us, to identify where your lateral connects to a City main sanitary sewer.

  1. What is a sanitary sewer clean-out?

A sanitary sewer clean-out is a capped pipe which provides access to a sewer line, allowing blockages in the sewer to be cleaned out.  Typically, the sewer clean-out can be found along the lateral sewer line. 

  1. How can I prevent sanitary sewer backups or overflows?

To prevent a sanitary sewer backup or overflow, keep your plumbing in good working order at all times.  A sanitary sewer overflow is a violation of the City’s Municipal Code and is a reportable violation to the State Water Quality Control Board and other regulatory agencies. 

  1. If I plan on digging on my property, whom do I call?

Please contact the Wastewater Division at (805) 736-5083, or wwtp-info@ci.lompoc.ca.us, if you will be digging on your property.  Permission from other City agencies may be required before you dig.

  1. Where can I find standard wastewater construction drawings or specifications?

The City of Lompoc standard wastewater construction drawings or specifications can be located at http://www.cityoflompoc.com/standards.  Additional information may also be located at http://www.cityoflompoc.com/PublicWorks/engineering.htm

  1. How large is the City’s Wastewater Collection System?

The public wastewater collection system within the City of Lompoc is approximately 110 miles in length.

  1. What is the difference between a storm drain system and a sanitary sewer collection system?

The difference between the storm drain system and the sewer system is that water entering the sewer system from sinks, showers and toilets is treated before it is released into the San Miguelito Creek, while storm water that flows off properties and into the street is not.

  1. There’s water spilling onto my property, or a large amount of standing water, whom do I call?

If you observe water spilling onto your property, or a large amount of standing water, please immediately contact the Wastewater Division, (805) 736-5083, or the City of Lompoc Dispatch, (805) 875-8115.  This can be a very serious situation that needs to be resolved immediately. 

  1. I live in Vandenberg Village, and there is water spilling onto my property, whom do I call?

Please contact Vandenberg Village Community Service District, (805) 733-2475, or the after hours number, any time after 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and on weekends, (805) 733-3615.


  1. Who do I contact to find out if I need a Wastewater Discharge Permit?

Please contact the Wastewater Division at (805) 736-5083, or wwtp-info@ci.lompoc.ca.us, to find out if you need a Wastewater Discharge Permit.

  1. What are the Local Discharge Limits?

The local discharge limits for the City of Lompoc are shown in the following table, and are subject to change.



Type of Limit



Maximum Daily Average



Maximum Daily Average



Maximum Daily Average



Maximum Daily Average



Maximum Daily Average



Maximum Daily Average



Maximum Daily Average

Cyanide (total)


Instantaneous Maximum



Maximum Daily Average



Maximum Daily Average



Maximum Daily Average

Oil and Grease


Instantaneous Maximum

pH (pH units)

acceptable range 6-9

Instantaneous Maximum



Instantaneous Maximum



Maximum Daily Average



Maximum Daily Average



Maximum Daily Average

Total Dissolved Solids


Maximum Daily Average



Maximum Daily Average

*All concentrations are in mg/L, determined in accordance with analytical procedures specified by 40 CFR Part 136.

Do I need a grease trap or interceptor?

Currently, the City of Lompoc requires new food service establishment to install a grease trap or grease interceptor in a manner that meets the most recent California Plumbing Code.  In the near future, all food service establishments will be required to install a grease trap or interceptor.  Please contact the Wastewater Division at (805) 736-5083, or wwtp-info@ci.lompoc.ca.us, if you have questions regarding the requirements.

  1. What are BMPs?

BMPs are Best Management Practices used as a pollution control mechanism.  These control mechanisms may include schedules of activities, prohibitions of practices, maintenance procedures, and other management practices to prevent or reduce the quantity or concentration of pollutants generated or discharged.

  1. Where do I get a Wastewater Discharge Permit Application?

Just click on the following link to download the Wastewater Discharge Permit Application.  Please contact the Wastewater Division, (805) 736-5083, or wwtp-info@ci.lompoc.ca.us, to have one mailed to your address.

  1. I was issued a Notice of Violation.  What happens if I don’t comply?

The City of Lompoc uses progressive enforcement action as required by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to enforce the City of Lompoc Municipal Code.  Additional enforcement action may be taken to ensure compliance.

  1. Can I put a deodorizer in my grease trap/interceptor to control the odor?

Some of the deodorizers emulsify grease and may cause a problem further in sewer line potentially causing blockages.  Some products are prohibited by the City of Lompoc.  Please contact the Wastewater Division, (805) 736-5083, or wwtp-info@ci.lompoc.ca.us, prior to using any deodorizer at your facility. 

  1. I suspect roots are growing in my lateral.  Can I use something to control or dissolve the roots?

Roots growing in the sewer are a big problem and may cause a sanitary sewer overflow.  Physical removal is best.  The City of Lompoc prohibits the use of chemical root control products in the sanitary sewer, as these products may cause interference with the Wastewater Treatment Plant process.  Please contact the Wastewater Division, (805) 736-5083, or wwtp-info@ci.lompoc.ca.us, if you have questions.

  1. Does the City offer educational seminars or training?

The City of Lompoc offers educational seminars.  Training topics include the benefits of implementing Best Management Practices (BMPs) in restaurants, wineries, and automotive industries.  Please contact the Wastewater Division, (805) 736-5083, or wwtp-info@ci.lompoc.ca.us, if you are interested in hosting a seminar or training at your facility. 

  1. How do I find a certified laboratory?

Please click on the link to redirect you to the California Department of Public Health to locate a State certified laboratory (http://www.cdph.ca.gov/certlic/labs/Pages/ELAP.aspx).


  1. Who do I contact if I have a billing question?

Utility Billing

(805) 875-8250

New utility service

(805) 875-8258

To pay your utility bill by credit card

(805) 875-8248 or 875-8259


  1. Does the City currently offer rebates?

Rebate offers are located on the City website, www.cityoflompoc.com/utilities/conservation.  For more information please call, (805) 875-8252.

City of Lompoc - 100 Civic Center Plaza - Lompoc, CA 93436 - (805) 736-1261 - © 2011