Help me keep my sewer!

21st century Silicon Valley city won't allow residents even an 18th century sewer

Who would have thought that right in the middle of Silicon Valley there would still be a city denying some residents the right to have a sewer.

For the last three years I have lived in a floating community on a picturesque little creek in Redwood City. Our community, Docktown, includes a nurse, therapists and counselors, IT managers, web developers, software engineers, pilots, artists, musicians, entrepreneurs and small business owners as well as office employees, blue collar workers and retirees on fixed incomes, most of whom work for a living, pay their taxes, and contribute to society. Several families have children. A lot of people have pets. I have two teenagers and two German Shepherds. In three years of living here I have come to know my neighbors better then I knew my neighbors in the last place I lived in where I lived for thirteen years. Our tight knit community welcomes and embraces improvements that make Docktown more attractive and we are willing to pay our fair share.

Amazingly even though we are right in the middle of Silicon Valley the City of Redwood City doesn’t want our floating homes to have sewers. Located less than ten miles north of Google and even closer to Facebook; Redwood City, which bills itself as having the best climate around is a center for innovation in our modern hyper-connected technology world. Nonetheless, sewers, a technological revolution that over two hundred years ago solved the problem of human waste just sitting around becoming fertile ground for cholera and typhoid especially in locales with great climates, are not available to us even when the residents are willing to pay for them.
So the reality is that right here in Silicon Valley there are homes with iPhones and iPads that must rely on a manual human transport system to pump the sewage from a holding tank within our floating homes to the actual sewage system located in some cases barely fifty feet away. The reality is that we are a baby Sausalito.  We are having all the same challenges that they had many, many years ago.

Throughout the years many of us have tried to bring this issue up and solve it. We have presented at City Council meetings and have spoken to various groups informally. We are told that our leases are not long enough to warrant this investment. The reality is that there are no permits, no processes, no standards as to how to do this on the water not on a county basis not on a state basis. So in the true Silicon Valley entrepreneurial way, I just went ahead and worked with a plumber to get one installed.   Hopefully like in Sausalito before us, the city and county officials will understand that our community is an asset to be supported.

The reality is that I researched, got installed and paid for an installation that was modeled after best practices currently in place in floating communities such as Sausalito’s various floating communities which means that my system includes a back flow valve, a check valve and a macerator pump. This all connects into a private system created by a few home owners over twenty years ago when they still could. As I clearly explained to the City, the sewage going into the system was the same sewage currently being delivered by what I earlier called a manual human transport system that we in our community call a pump out boat. Now it was simply going directly via pipe.

The City began to harass me for installing the system. A first notice of violation, a second notice of violation, a letter and on and on until just recently a certified letter stating simply that I needed to remove the pipe. I was and am still willing to make whatever changes are required to make sure that the installation is the best that it can be. THE CITY IS NOW THREATENING TO TAKE OUT MY SEWER.


Please help me by emailing just say: Reconnect Tania's Sewer NOW.

UPDATE 06/14/2013 - We now have an Inner Harbor Precise Plan task force that is supposed to come up with a plan for the greater inner harbor area that includes Docktown.  Why is it then that the City Council isn't allowing what is already at Docktown to continue to exist as it is until such a time as this special task force concludes its work? 

UPDATE 09/20/2013 - The city of Redwood City has unilaterally disconnected my sewer.  Please help me spread the word.   Just as I mentioned in the last City Council meeting ( see minutes 13-16) it only takes a couple of minutes to disconnect or connect a sewer for a floating home.  They have taken two minutes to disconnect my sewer, now they should take two minutes to connect my sewer.  Watch the video at


Letter to
City Council City of Redwood City
Reconnect Tania's Sewer NOW.