The first question to answer is why sewers overflow. Most sewage systems that overflow these days are “combined sewer systems” that are designed to carry extra water (rain or snow fall), human waste and industrial waste in the same set of pipes and drains to a treatment plant. When there is an over-abundance of one of these three variables, usually high precipitation this leads to an overflow and materials making it through the sewage treatment center untreated and into a body of water. Combined sewer systems are being phased out but there are still many in existence. 772 cities still have combined sewer systems according to the EPA.
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