What are we doing to battle sewer system overflows?

In late 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued an order for all the municipalities using the regional sewer system in central Lehigh County to eliminate sewer system overflows that have plagued our system for quite some time. Municipalities throughout the region have sewer systems providing service to residents and businesses. These sewer systems are connected to LCA’s regional pipeline that transports waste to the City of Allentown for final treatment. Click here for a system overview map.

How do the overflows happen? The primary issue we are all faced with is rainwater infiltrating the sewer system during wet-weather events. This occurs when sewer lines are cracked and need to be repaired, when customers have gutter systems and sump pumps connected to the sewer system, when manholes are not sealed properly, etc. Removing the rainwater from the system will be a long and expensive process requiring a partnership of all municipalities and customers.

Municipalities in Western Lehigh County have formed a partnership to work on solutions to this problem under a program called Sewer Capacity Assurance and Rehabilitation Program (SCARP). Municipalities adopted the SCARP plan into the Act 537 plans in January 2010, and we are all working together on the next steps, which is an evaluation of flow monitoring data to determine the priority areas that need to be looked at closely, and determining the most meaningful ways to reduce rainwater infiltration.

SCARP fact sheet

Full SCARP document

Appendix A

Appendix B