Otto T. James, 64, a civil engineer who was a retired chief of the bureau of sewer services in the D.C. Public Works Department's water and sewer utility administration, died of cancer Jan. 9 at his home in Palm Coast, Fla.

Mr. James, who served as bureau chief from 1980 until retiring in 1995, began his government career in the District in 1968. He left D.C. government in 1974, when he joined the engineering directorate of the Military District of Washington.

He returned to the District in 1975 when he was named chief of the primary treatment branch of the Wastewater Treatment Plant at Blue Plains. In 1979 and 1980, he served as chief of the sewer inspections branch of the sewer services bureau. He moved to Florida upon his retirement.

Mr. James had been a member of the Water Pollution Control Federation, the American Public Works Association and the National Forum of Black Administrators.

He was born in Trinidad and was a 1968 civil engineering graduate of Howard University. He did graduate work in bio-environmental engineering at Howard.

His marriage to Jean James ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife, Gwen Allen-James of Palm Coast; three children from his first marriage, Gizzelle James of Atlanta, and Charlan and Vaughan James, both of Temple Heights; two stepchildren, Gail Cook of Lanham, and Sean Allen of Temple Hills; four brothers, Fitzroy, of Toronto, Kelvin, of Baltimore, Lancelot, of New York, and Karl, of Trinidad; three sisters, Mervyne Borde and Jenny James-Gonzales, both of Alexandria, and Hazel James of Trinidad; and four grandchildren.