Combined Sewers Under Pressure (Part 1)

  • An overflow point in a combined sewer line. The overflow is designed to relieve pressure on an overburdened sewer system. Photo courtesy of the USEPA.

Over the last century, cities across the nation have built an intricate web of underground sewers. These sewers originally channeled waste directly into nearby streams, but with the advent of the environmental movement, and along with it, the Clean Water Act, treatment plants were built to clean the sewage before it reached the streams. Today, a growing population and a continuing boom in development has placed increasing pressure on our underground network of pipes. In the first of a two-part series, the Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Mark Brush reports the aging systems are in need of help:

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