National Needs for Combined Sewer Overflow Control

by Michael D. Giggey, Project Engr.; Metcalf & Eddy, Inc., Boston, Mass.,
William G. Smith, (A.M.ASCE), Project Mgr.; Metcalf & Eddy, Inc., Palo Alto, Calif.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Environmental Engineering Division, 1978, Vol. 104, Issue 2, Pg. 351-366

Document Type: Journal Paper


The national extent of the combined sewer overflow problem is investigated in terms of (1)Regional populations and acreages served; and (2) a range of potential costs for the control of overflows. Combined sewers in the United States serve approx 37 million people and 2.7 million acres (10.9 x 109 m²) of urban land. Cost estimates are presented for the control of runoff from combined sewer service areas based on a single design storm and eight hypothetical control strategies. Capital costs range from $1.2 billion - $68 billion (June 1973 dollars), and vary with the amount of storage and degree of treatment provided. Annual operation and maintenance expenses for the eight options range from $46 million - $400 million. These costs are compared with similar estimates for new and upgraded municipal wastewater collection and treatment systems required under Public Law 92-500.

Subject Headings: Combined sewers | Overflow | Municipal wastewater | Urban areas | Runoff | Storm sewers | Assets | Maintenance | United States

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