Sanitary Sewer Overflows

        Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs) are discharges of untreated wastewater from municipal sanitary sewer systems.  SSOs are unsightly and a public health issue.  Problems that can cause SSOs include:

  • Infiltration/Inflow (I&I): too much rainfall infiltrating through the ground into sanitary sewers not designed to hold stormwater; leaking manholes; and excess water inflowing through illegal connections such as roof drains.
  • Pipe Failures:  blocked, broken or cracked pipes which can be caused by tree roots growing into the sewer lines; fats, oils and grease being poured down drains; and settlement/shifting of ground or pipe.
  • Deteriorating Sewer System:  older infrastructure systems can be expensive to repair over time; or system capacity may need to be increased.

The City has an aggressive I/I program to significantly reduce and/or eliminate SSOs.  Replacing and rehabilitating these lines and manholes reduces I/I into the sanitary sewer system, thereby protecting the public health, improving treatment plant efficiency and reducing system maintenance.

Customers who observe a sanitary sewer overflow should report these as emergencies to the Wastewater Collection Division between the hours of 7:30 am-4:00 pm, Mon-Fri at 252-296-3413 or after hours at 252-399-2444.  Because SSOs can carry bacteria and viruses, do not approach an overflow!