Chapter 6.20

*    For statutory provisions authorizing mandatory sewer connection and declaring other means of sewage disposal to be a nuisance, see Gov. Code § 54352.


6.20.010    Privies.

6.20.020    Septic tanks and cesspools.

6.20.030    Temporary facilities.

6.20.040    Removal of contents.

6.20.010 PRIVIES.

No person shall construct or maintain any privy, dry earth closet or other place for the deposit of human excrement except such flush closets as are connected in compliance with the plumbing regulations of the city, and except as hereinafter provided in this chapter.

(Prior code § 5400).


Except as otherwise provided in this code, the further maintenance or use of septic tanks or cesspools is found and declared to be a public nuisance, and every separate dwelling, store, restaurant, hotel, rooming house, apartment house, manufacturing establishment, or other building inhabited or used by human beings shall have a separate connection to the public sewer system. No person shall hereafter construct or maintain any cesspool, nor any septic tank, except as provided as follows in this section:

(1)    An existing septic tank properly maintained and in use on May 1, 1972, may be continued in use, if maintained to the standards of the county health department, until such time as a public sewer becomes available for connection at a point not more than two hundred feet from any buildings located on the premises inhabited or used by human beings and in which any sewage is produced. Upon a public sewer becoming so available, all buildings on said premises shall be connected with the sewer system not more than ninety days thereafter, or such longer period of time as the city council may, for good cause shown, allow.

(2)    Upon the recommendation of the director of public works, and if the nearest place of connection to a public sewer is located more than two hundred feet from any buildings inhabited or used by human beings in which any sewage is produced, the city council may issue a permit for the construction and installation of a septic tank of a design that meets county health department standards and located to meet the approval of the county health department, if the council finds that the denial of such a permit would impose an undue and unreasonable hardship.

(3)    Any existing septic tank properly maintained according to county health department standards, and in use at the time of annexation of territory to the city, may be continued in use, for a period of two years after said annexation. Thereafter, said septic tank may be continued in use only in accordance with and subject to the remaining provisions of this section.

(4)    Any annexed parcels in the Meder Street vicinity or any existing or new parcels created within existing city limits on the western side of the eastern branch of Moore Creek north of Highway 1, where zoning allows for residential development, may only be serviced by septic systems that meet county health department standards and are approved by that agency. No new parcel in the geographical area referenced in this subsection serviced by a septic system may be under one acre in size. All application requirements of the county must be followed.

(5)    The county health department, in providing any services or conducting any inspection, to confirm that permitted septic systems comply with county health department standards, is authorized to assess fees to the property owner for said services and inspections in accordance with the fee schedule updated by the Santa Cruz County board of supervisors for the provision of similar services and inspections in the unincorporated area of the county.

(Ord. 93-32 § 1, 1993: Ord. 78-15 § 1, 1978: Ord. 76-11 § 1, 1976: Ord. 72-17 § 1, 1972: prior code § 5401).


Temporary contractor’s privies may be built with the following conditions and requirements:

(1)    Privy may be constructed with tight walls, a tight-fitting door and all ventilation openings screened with flyproof screen in such manner that no flies may enter, and the door provided with a spring or other self-closing device.

(2)    Door must be kept closed except while person is entering or leaving.

(3)    Receptacle for excreta or urine must be a hole in the earth of such depth that no excreta will at any time come within two feet of the surface of the ground, and all matter deposited in the vault shall be completely covered at least once a day with fresh, unslaked lime.

As soon as the contractor’s work is finished, the privy shall be removed and the contents of the vault covered to a depth of not less than one inch with fresh unslaked lime and the vault filled with clean earth. In no case shall a privy be maintained or used for a longer period than three months.

(Prior code § 5402).


No person shall carry the contents of any cesspool, privy or vault within the city between the hours of 4:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. or carry the contents of any cesspool, privy or vault along any street between the hours herein mentioned. Said contents shall be placed in a tight, sound metal or nonabsorbent container, and shall be tightly covered with a lid of same material while being carried or transported through the streets. The containers shall be washed in disinfectant solution and thoroughly cleaned immediately after use.

(Prior code § 5403).