Educating Consumers About the Prevention of Overburdening Sanitary Sewer Systems

Water agencies across the nation have been working diligently to educate consumers about the hazards of flushing “non-flushables” like wipes, rags, paper towels and other materials down the drain. When these materials are flushed, they pose serious, costly problems for property owners and agencies; but there is another taxing issue associated with the overburdening of sanitary sewer systems in communities – Infiltration/Inflow. Inflow and infiltration, or I & I, are terms used to describe the ways that groundwater and stormwater enter into dedicated wastewater or sanitary sewer systems. During wet weather, the infiltration of private laterals can result in an increased volume of flow in which the sanitary sewer system was not designed to handle; potentially resulting in a sanitary sewer system overflow(SSO).

Depending on the age of the pipe, the pipe material, landscape adjacent to the pipe and the depth of the lateral – there are a number of potential issues that can cause fractures in the pipe allowing ground water to infiltrate wastewater lines. Property owners may not know that they are contributing to SSOs, unless they have experienced an issue with their service lateral. This is why routine inspection and maintenance is as imperative as educating a resident on where they are responsible for maintaining the service lateral on their property. Many property owners are unfamiliar about where their agency's right-of-way ends and where their responsibility begins when it comes to the maintenance of the water and wastewater systems.

Improper/illegal connections from roof drains, downspouts, sump pumps, etc. to the sanitary sewer system can also contribute to a significant amount of water entering into the sanitary sewer system through inflow. These sources are typically improperly or illegally connected to sanitary sewer systems, via direct connections, or discharged into sinks or tubs that are directly connected to the sanitary sewer system. Property owners may be aware that what they are doing is wrong, however they may not be aware of the overall cost to the community and the environmental impact that their improper/illegal connection to the sanitary sewer system may have.

By conducting public outreach and providing consumers with the information that they need to adjust their habits; you can potentially reduce sanitary sewer system overflows (SSO), environmental impacts and costs for the treatment of wastewater in your community! 

Using a cost-effective mix of new technologies, social media, graphic design and time-tested, traditional communication tools, we ensure that proactive, educational messages are clearly disseminated to improve community engagement and establish your brand. At Capital Strategic Solutions, we are skilled at creating outreach campaigns to educate consumers about water and wastewater infrastructure and the necessity for consumers to do their part. We understand that most agencies are operating with extremely lean financial resources; which is why we offer affordable services that fit into almost any budget. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you and the community in which you serve, or call 508-690-0046.

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