A combined sewage system collects rainwater runoff, sewage, and industrial waste water all within the same pipe system. This collective waste water is then directed to a water treatment plant. In times of excessive rainfall or snow melt, however, excess water can be deposited in nearby rivers, streams, or lakes. According to the EPA, at least 772 U.S. cities have combined sewage systems. The problem with these systems is that rainwater that can be utilitized for crops and gardens is wasted. This combined system also makes overflow into natural waters more likely.
Combined Sewage Systems were developed prior to 1900 and combine sanitary sewage and storm water in one pipe system. When there is an excess of stormwater, often times, cities who use combined systems will allow the excess flow of sewage and storm water to drain into local rivers and lakes to prevent flooding of homes and businesses. The link I attached has a great diagram of this.
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