Combined Sewer Overflows

Some cities use a combined sewer system in which a single pipe is used to transport all water to wastewater treatment facilities. This means that both sewage and stormwater (rain, melted snow, etc.) are channeled through the same pipe. Unfortunately, as the sewer collects both sewage and stormwater, the amount of water in the combined sewer system may exceed the system’s capacity, particularly during periods of heavy rainfall. This results in an overflow of a harmful combination of sewage and stormwater into our rivers, lakes, and streams. These overflows are a concern for the health of both humans and our waterways, given that they contain bacteria, pathogens, heavy metals, and pesticides in the form of human and industrial waste. Check out the links below to learn more about the dangers of combined sewer overflows, and what steps you can take to protect our waterways: