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SD5 History



The need to collect garbage and process sewage was recognized by the railroad soon after establishment of a train servicing center at the end of the Tiburon peninsula in 1884.  To that end a contract was let to a local farmer who would, with the aid of his wagon, collect garbage and dispose of it on his farm.  The sewage was collected in a series of pipes constructed of redwood and channeled to the bay in the vicinity of the current sewage treatment facility. 

In 1922 the State of California passed legislation enabling the counties to create special districts for the purpose of dealing with garbage and sewage (sanitary districts) and shortly thereafter Marin County created Sanitary District #5 on March 22, 1922.  Sanitary District #5’s main function was garbage collection until the late 1940’s when the effect of dumping untreated sewage into the bay became a topic of interest. 

In 1950 one of the first sewage treatment facilities was built at the corner of Mar West and Paradise Drive and as the peninsula has grown so has the treatment facility.  In the early 1960’s the Sanitary District went out of the garbage regulating business and relinquished that chore to the then newly created Town of Tiburon.

In the early 1980s after the establishment of the Clean Water Act (1972) the District upgraded the Main treatment facility from a primary treatment plant to a secondary treatment plant in order to comply with more stringent federal requirements.

In the late 1980’s a smaller package plant was installed, located on the eastern side of the Tiburon peninsula to serve the unincorporated area of Tiburon this plant is known as the Paradise Cove plant.

In 2005 the City of Belvedere sewage collection system was annexed to the District.

In 2009 the District replaced the Paradise Cove treatment plant with a larger package plant in order to accommodate the growth in the unincorporated part of Tiburon and to assist in the decommissioning of the failing Seafirth Estates RBC (rotating biological contactor) Plant.

Finally, after 30 plus years of useful service the Main Treatment Plant was once again rehabilitated in 2014, this time obsolete equipment was replaced with energy efficient equipment and the entire electrical system was replaced and automation was introduced for enhanced operational capabilities.

As of July 1, 2023 the Base Rate for the District is $1848 per EDU. In Belvedere the sewer service fee charge that appears on the tax bill is $1848 per EDU compared to $1358 per EDU in the Tiburon zone . The differnce in rates per zone is due to the fact that the District recieves Ad-Volorem proerty tax from the Tiburon rate base and none from the Belvedere rate base. 

In 2017 the District completed a 2-year phased project at the Mar West Pump Station in Tiburon worth 1.5 million dollars. The work involved converting an older dry pit pump station to a wet pet submersible style pump station. It also involved the installation of Diesel standby generator and all new electrical control panels and meters. This pump station is the largest pump station in the Tiburon service area.

In 2021 the District completed a 2.2 Million Dollar force main installation project in which it installed a new sewer force main serving the city of Belvedere starting at the Cove Road Pump Station #1 moving towards Beach road then down Juanita Ln to its terminus point on Tiburon Blvd near the round-about. Part of this project included a bypass line serving Tiburon Pump station #6 located on the corner of Tiburon Blvd and Beach Road.

The District currently services the southern end of the Tiburon peninsula from Gilmartin Drive to Raccoon Straits and also processes the sewage from the City of Belvedere.  The District has the Main WWTP at Mar West and Paradise Drive and a small Paradise Cove treatment plant near Playa Verde Court as well as 24 sewage pumping stations and 153,120 linear feet (29 miles) of gravity sewer lines that range in size from 6’’ to 24” and a total of 26,400 linear feet (5 miles) of pressure force main.

The District is governed by a 5-member duly elected Board of Directors, while the day- to-day management is the responsibility of the District Manager, and his or her staff of 12 employees. The District runs a 24/7 operation which requires staff to be at work 365 days per year. Although staffing of the plant is only required 10 hrs per day shift the remaining hours are covered through standby services. For any emergencies or requests after hours the District has an answering service phone number that contacts the on-call personnel. That phone number is 415-779-9048

Creation of Sanitary District
May contain: water, waterfront, harbor, pier, port, outdoors, and marina
1920s Future Location of WWTP
May contain: water, waterfront, architecture, building, outdoors, car, transportation, and vehicle
1950's WWTP built on corner of Paradise Drive and Mar West Street
May contain: water, waterfront, outdoors, nature, and sea
1980's WWTP Gets upgraded and expanded to secondary treatment
May contain: water, waterfront, construction, construction crane, nature, outdoors, scenery, port, boat, transportation, vehicle, and person
2014 WWTP Gets major upgrade completed
May contain: indoors and garage
1990 Paradise Cove WWTP 
p cove
2010 Paradise Cove WWTP gets upgraded and expanded