Rochester Stops the Deluge

by Jim Holzbach, Engr.; Monroe County (N.Y.) Department of Engineering, New York,
Hans Hingst, Freelance Writer; Industrial Public Relations and Photo Journalism, Seattle, WA,


Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1990, Vol. 60, Issue 12, Pg. 42-44


Document Type: Feature article

Abstract: After a slew of stopgap waste-treatment plants failed to solve Rochester's chronic storm water and sewage overflow problem, city officials changed direction in the late 1960s. The result is a $750 million storage and conveyance system, which is now in Phase 2. Phase 1 was completed in 1985. The 33 mi Combined Sewer Overflow Abatement Program (CSOAP) comprises overflow and diversion structures located at key points along Rochester's existing sewer system, which capture sewage and storm waters. Once captured, the polluted water flows to dropshafts, where it falls into one of 13 tunnels for storage. When the storm or overflow is over, the polluted waters are released from the tunnels and flow in a controlled fashion to a treatment plant on Lake Ontario. An unusual aspect to the design is that much of the system will operate under the basic law of gravity when it's completed by the late 1990s. Engineers hope CSOAP will ultimately reduce the number of overflows from 60-70 per year to five or six, and help Rochester and Monroe County, N.Y. comply with the 1972 EPA Clean Waters Act.

Subject Headings: Runoff | Storms | Stormwater management | Sewers | Overflow | Water storage | Wastewater management

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