Understanding Sanitary Sewer Overflows & Corrections Needed
The Heidelberg Heights sewer system is owned and operated by Lehigh County Authority (LCA). The wastewater collection system and treatment plant process 60,000 gallons of wastewater per day, but much more during storms and heavy rains due to “Inflow” and “Infiltration” into the pipes, which has become a significant problem. And it seems like rain events are more frequent these days.
Inflow is when rain and other water sources seep into the sewer pipes. Infiltration occurs when water seeps into the pipe because of groundwater levels rising during wet weather. We refer to these issues collectively as I & I. Combined with all of the water customers are regularly sending into the wastewater collection system, all of the unauthorized connections to the sewer system can overwhelm the pipes to the point of sanitary sewer overflows, which are not good for the system or the environment.
LCA is taking the necessary steps to identify where problems may exist on the system side, such as leaking pipes or connections. We are using closed-circuit camera inspections from inside the pipes, as well as smoke testing, which shows us where the leaks are when it seeps out and rises to the surface. (Learn more about smoke testing below.)
We need your help! Customer support is needed to find and fix connections from your property that send additional rainwater into the sewer system. If you are not the original owner of your home, there could be connections to the sewer that you’re not even aware of.
LCA is confident that together we will solve the inflow and infiltration issues and reduce the overflow issues. We are working on these changes that are not only required but good for customers, the system’s future, as well as the environment.
We thank you in advance for your support of this effort!
Read the Customer Notifications:
- October 28, 2021- Notice 1
- Future customer documents will be shared here!
Residential (Private) Sewer System Inspection Program:
LCA consultant, Keystone Consulting Engineers (KCE), will be conducting residential (private) sewer system inspections in 2 phases throughout the course of late spring until fall, 2022.
KCE logo for reference:
Phase I – Smoke Testing:
KCE will set up work sites at various sewer manholes on your street beginning in mid-to late-summer. Non-toxic smoke will be pumped into the sewer lines and then visual inspections of the smoke coming up to the surface will identify problem areas. Smoke may appear anywhere there is a leak in the system as it rises through the soil and is visible above the surface.
Watch a Smoke Testing Video from Charleston Water System:
Phase II – Customer Residential Sewer Inspections:
KCE will begin scheduling and conducting individual inspections of residential sewer systems shortly following the Phase 1 smoke testing inspections.