The City of Waterloo, IA Waste Management Services Department would like to inform city residents that under the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IADNR) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the city is required to notify the public of a Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) or Bypass event. Listing of SSO & Bypass Public Notification Report Forms is listed at the bottom of this web page.
If you see a “WARNING SEWAGE” sign(s) “KEEP OUT OF WATER” these signs are marking a location(s) where a Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) or Bypassing has happened or is ongoing with sewage or wastewater contaminating the street, ground, lawn, creek, stream, or river. Residents and citizens are asked to stay out of these sanitary sewer overflow areas as long as a sign(s) are posted. All persons, children, and pets should keep out of these sewage overflow areas and waters.
Above is a “Warning Sewage” sign that will be posted by a SSO, manhole overflow, or waterway receiving sewage
If a resident or citizen sees a manhole that is overflowing onto the street or ground, you can contact Waste Management Services twenty four hours a day, seven days a week at 291-4553, if no person answers please leave a message.
Pictured above is an example of a manhole overflow or SSO. Click here for more examples
SANITARY SEWER OVERFLOW (SSO): Wastewater that flows out of a sanitary sewer (or lift station) as a result of flows exceeding the hydraulic capacity of the sewer or stoppages in the sewer. SSOs exceeding hydraulic capacity usually occur during periods of heavy precipitation or high levels of runoff from snow melt or other runoff sources. Is an unintentional release of sewage from a collection/sewer system of untreated or partially treated sewage before it reaches the treatment plant.
BYPASS: The intentional diversion of waste streams from any portion of a treatment (or pretreatment) facility.
BYPASSING: Used to describe the diversion of raw or partially treated wastewater to a receiving body of water.
SANITARY SEWER: A pipe or conduit (sewer) intended to carry wastewater or water-borne wastes from homes, businesses, and industries to the POTW.
INFILTRATION/INFLOW (I/I): A combination of infiltration and inflow wastewater volumes in sewer lines, without distinguishing the source.
INFILTRATION: The water entering a sewer system, including building sewers, from the ground, through such means as defective or cracked pipes, pipe joints, connections, or manhole walls. Infiltration does not include, and is distinguished from, inflow.
INFLOW: The water discharged into a sewer system, including service connections, from such sources as roof leaders; cellar, yard, and area drains; foundation drains; cooling water discharges; drains from springs and swampy areas; manhole covers; cross connections from storm sewers, combined sewers, catch basins; storm waters; surface runoff; street wash waters; or drainage. Inflow does not include, and is distinguished from, infiltration.
GREASE AND OIL: a group of substances including fats, waxes, free fatty acids, calcium and magnesium soaps, mineral oils, and certain other nonfatty materials. Water-insoluble organic compounds of plant and animal origins or industrial wastes that can be removed by natural flotation skimming. Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG).
The following is a list of Frequently Asked Questions for Sanitary Sewer Overflows:
What are Sewer System Overflows?
Sewer System Overflows (SSOs) are discharges of raw sewage from municipal sanitary sewer systems or from privately owned sewer collection systems. SSOs can release untreated sewage out of manholes and onto city streets, playgrounds and into waterways before it can reach a treatment facility. SSOs are often caused by blockages and breaks in the sewer lines, and excess water from I/I.
Why do sewers overflow?
SSOs occasionally occur in almost every sewer system, even though systems are intended to collect and contain all the sewage that flows into them. When SSOs happen frequently, it means something is wrong with the system. Problems that can cause chronic SSOs include:
What health risks do SSOs present?
Because SSOs contain raw sewage they can carry bacteria, viruses, protozoa (parasitic organisms), helminthes (intestinal worms), and boroughs (inhaled molds and fungi). The diseases they may cause range in severity from mild gastroenteritis (causing stomach cramps and diarrhea) to life-threatening ailments such as cholera, dysentery, infections hepatitis, and severe gastroenteritis. People can be exposed through:
What other damage can SSOs do?
SSOs also damage property and the environment. When basements flood, the damaged area must be cleaned and disinfected to reduce the risk of disease. Cleanup can be expensive for homeowners and municipalities. Rugs, curtains, flooring, wallboard panels, and upholstered furniture usually must be replaced. A key concern with SSOs that enter oceans, estuaries, rivers, lakes, streams, or creeks is their effect on water quality. When bodies of water cannot be used for drinking water, fishing, or recreation as swimming and water-skiing, society experiences an economic loss. Fishing and shellfish harvesting may be restricted or halted.
How can SSOs be reduced or eliminated?
Many avoidable SSOs are caused by inadequate or negligent operation or maintenance, washing pans and plates in the sink that contain grease or cooking oil, inadequate sewer system capacity, and improper sewer system design and construction. These SSOs can be reduced or eliminated by: