Public Works FAQ's

Construction Projects

1. There is a construction project underway adjacent to my property that is generating noise and dust. What can I do?

Concerns regarding noise and dust associated with construction on public property should be referred to the Public Works Construction Manager at (714) 536-5431. If the construction appears to be taking place on private property, you should call the Building and Safety Department at (714) 536-5241.

Tree Removal & Replacement

2. How can I get the tree in front of my residence removed?

A request from a citizen to remove a City tree will be considered for approval when one, or a combination, of the following occurs:

Removals will also be considered when property owners have demonstrated that a tree in the right-of-way has caused damage to a private sewer line or other public substructures that may not be repaired without removal of the tree.

Questions regarding the City's tree program and policies should be referred to the Park, Tree and Landscape Division at (714) 536-5480.

3. Tree roots are causing damage to my sewer line. Will the City pay for the repair of my lateral?

Each home or commercial building has a separate connection to the public sewer main called a sewer lateral. Under current Municipal Code, Section 14.36.050, it is the property owner's responsibility to maintain and repair his or her own sewer lateral up to the point of connection with the public sewer main. This includes both the portion on private property and the portion located beneath the sidewalk and street.

When a sewer backup or other problem occurs, in most cases it will not be obvious whether the problem area is in the sewer lateral or in the public sewer main. If this occurs, call (714) 960-8861 during business hours or (714) 960-8825 after business hours. A representative of the wastewater program will be dispatched immediately to conduct an inspection free of charge. If a blockage is found within the public sewer main, a work crew will be sent to repair the problem immediately. If the public main is found to be clear, the property owner will be advised that the blockage is in the sewer lateral and the property owner is responsible for the costs of repair.

Sidewalk, Curb & Gutter Repair

4. How can I get damaged sidewalk, curb or gutter in front of my house repaired?

If a sidewalk is broken or raised, a temporary asphalt patch will be applied. That location will then be prioritized into the concrete crew's list for future sidewalk removal and replacement. Due to funding constraints, the City does not currently have a program for the permanent repair of individual curbs and gutters; but, concrete repairs are performed on a programmed basis throughout the city as funding is available.

Questions regarding repair to the City's sidewalks, curbs or gutters should be referred to the City Corporation Yard at (714) 960-8861.

5. The City trees are damaging the curbs, gutters, and sidewalks on my street. What do I have to do to get this fixed?

Public Works has developed a Tree Removal Petition process whereby all trees, sidewalks, curbs and gutters for an entire street could be repaired/replaced at one time. In order to qualify, the petition must have consent from at least 75% of the homeowners. Following submission of the petition, Public Works staff will perform a field inspection. A letter will be sent to the residents informing them of the outcome of that inspection and whether their specific street qualified to be included on the city's Tree Petition List. This list prioritizes repairs based on the date of petition and the degree of damage.

Removal priority is based on the health, safety, and welfare of the community, as well as the availability of city funds, or funds provided by residents, for the purchase of replacement trees. When funds become available, the street will be scheduled for repair.

Various amounts of funding are received each year, so a repair date cannot be predicted. Interested parties may call the Street Division at (714) 960-8861 after the first of each year to learn which streets are scheduled for that year.

Standing Water

6. There is standing water in my gutter. How can I get the gutter fixed so the water will flow?

Due to funding constraints, the City does not currently have a program for the repair of individual curbs and gutters aside from the programmed repairs explained in #4 above.

Street Sweeping

7. I received a parking ticket for a violation of the street sweeping ordinance that I feel I don't deserve. What can I do?

To contest a parking citation, a "Request for Hearing" form, which can be obtained from the Police Department, must be completed. When received, an officer will review the validity of the citation and, when the investigation is complete, a notice will be sent to you through the mail informing you of the findings. If you are dissatisfied with the results of this administrative review, there are additional options available to you.

To get complete information, call the Police Department's Traffic Division at (714) 536-5663.

8. Why can't the City make arrangements for alternate-side street sweeping to allow people to park near their homes and not receive tickets?

Due to the high number of cul-de-sac streets in the city, designing efficient street sweeping routes is quite difficult. The alternate-side street sweeping schedule is employed in high-density areas where parking studies taken prior to the start of the twice-a-month program indicated it would be necessary.

Undertaking alternate-side sweeping for the entire city would be extremely costly. The current number of four sweepers would have to increase to at least six, possibly eight sweepers, and additional parking control officers would have to be added, raising the cost of the program tremendously.

To comply with signage posting regulations for alternate-side street sweeping, a sign would have to be placed every 150 feet throughout each neighborhood. The cost of such additional signs and maintenance would be over $1 million in additional expenditures.

Traffic Safety

9. I have concerns for traffic safety in my neighborhood. How can we get additional stop signs, speed limit signs, or speed bumps be installed?

We are very concerned with traffic safety, both on major roadways and on local residential streets. Many approaches are used to proactively identify locations where additional traffic controls may be needed. Input from area residents is a vital resource used in the process of identifying areas of concern and in determining if a particular change or upgrade is needed.

Residents often call with what they believe to be the solution to a perceived problem. The Transportation Division will discuss with residents the conditions and related accident history in an area and will evaluate what treatments, if any, may be needed. Some treatments, which may seem obvious to a resident, may not be the best solution because other problems could result that might be worse than the original. It is not uncommon for our traffic experts to identify other approaches to addressing problems that may be more functional or cost effective.

Questions or suggestions concerning traffic should be referred to the Traffic Engineering Division at (714) 536-5431.

10. What is the process for getting a School Crossing Guard assigned to the school in my neighborhood?

Requests for crossing guards must be initiated through a particular school and school district. They will formally request that the City investigate the possibility of a crossing guard. This ensures that the request is consistent with current programs established by the school and the district. An investigation will then be conducted by the Public Works Department with a recommendation forwarded to the Police Department regarding the crossing guard assignment.

Water Plumbing

Questions concerning internal plumbing issues should be referred to Frank Biangone, Chief Inspector, Building and Safety Department at (714) 536-5296.

Water Quality

11. Is our water safe, or should I drink bottled water? Does City staff test the water?

Our water is very safe. It is automatically tested and monitored every four seconds. State-of-the-art lab equipment allows staff to measure quantities reported in parts per million or parts per billion.

12. Why does my water sometimes smell like chlorine?

Chlorine is used at each of our nine water well sites for disinfection. Twenty-five percent of the City's water supply is imported from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which uses a different disinfection method known as "chloramination," a combination of chlorine and ammonia. When water using these two disinfection methods is blended together, it may give off a slight chlorine odor, which is not harmful.

13. I have a water backflow device. Why do I have to test it each year?

Backflow devices must be regularly tested to ensure they are in proper working order. Under the California Administrative Code - Title 17, Public Health Regulations relating to cross-connections, the water supply agency and our Municipal Water Division have the primary responsibility for preventing water from an unapproved source or any other possible contaminants from entering the public's drinkable water system. In accordance with State Department of Health Services mandatory requirements, the Water Division keeps records of the test date and results of the testing.

14. What have you done to protect our water after 9-11?

Many steps have been taken, and additional security measures are being implemented daily. We are working with city, state, and federal agencies to ensure our water system remains safe and reliable. Examples of steps taken include enhanced site access controls and increased testing for certain critical water constituents.

15. What water treatment filters should I buy? What types of filters or treatment does the City use? Do we add fluoride?

A treatment process is not necessary. However, if you like the flavor the water has after it passes through your filtration or home treatment system, it becomes a matter of taste and not one of water quality.

Fluoridation facilities are in operation following a 1972 voter preference to fluoridate the City's water supply. Daily tests are made at each injection location by Water Division personnel to determine the exact fluoride content.

16. Are water softeners allowed in Huntington Beach?

Yes, water softeners are allowed in the city of Huntington Beach.

Water Sources

17. Where does our water come from?

Huntington Beach is fortunate to be located over the Santa Ana River groundwater basin, which allows us to pump 75% of our water supply from the basin below. The other 25% is supplied by imported water. To ensure a lasting supply for the region, the Orange County Water District manages the basin, and the City pays a replenishment assessment to the District for each acre-foot of water taken from the groundwater basin.

Water presently comes from nine operating water wells that vary in depth from 250 feet to 1,020 feet, with production varying from 450 gallons per minute to 4,000 gallons per minute. Total production from all nine wells is rated at 27,500 gallons per minute.

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