SOS For Small-Town SSOs

by Mark Wade, (M.ASCE), President; Wade & Associates, Inc., Lawrence, KS,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1995, Vol. 65, Issue 10, Pg. 60-62

Document Type: Feature article

Abstract: No matter why a small town confronts its sanitary-sewer-overflow problems, solutions are bound by the town's own resources. For two Midwestern towns, hindsight shows that regular maintenance and system monitoring could have eased the strain on their small budgets. Small communities across America are facing unprecedented challenges to restoring their infrastructure systems. Maintenance of roads, bridges and utilities demands ever-increasing operation budgets and capital investment. Most municipalities are not aware of their obligations regarding sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs), which are violations of either Section 301 of the Clean Water Act or their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit requirements. Nationwide, small-town sanitary sewer systems suffer from chronic overflows and bypasses that are often the results of three conditions: inflow/infiltration (I/I), structural deterioration and chronic maintenance demands. Once it has been determined that these conditions exist, the question then becomes one of setting priorities. Sometimes the decision is a political one. Often, it is made by someone not directly affected by the problems and their solutions, such as EPA. A successful sewer-system assessment program, however, must be formulated from specific goals and objectives established by cities themselves.

Subject Headings: Regulations | Sanitary sewers | Overflow | Environmental issues | Rural areas | Local governments |

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