Managing Our Sewer System

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The City of Columbus has been approaching the problem of sewer overflows and basement backups from different angles for a number of years. Until recently, the guiding document was the Wet Weather Management Plan submitted to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) in 2005. This plan was developed in accordance with consent decrees the City entered into with the OEPA to reduce the number of overflows from the combined sewer system and eliminate basement backups and overflows from the separate sanitary system. 

The 2005 Wet Weather Management Plan included 40-years worth of capital improvements in our sewer system and waste water treatment plants, some on a massive scale, to better handle wet weather events and prevent sewer overflows.

Other improvements were on a smaller scale, such as the inflow and infiltration sewer studies done in many Columbus neighborhoods, which often led to rehabilitation of the sewers through trenchless technology. Proactive maintenance and initiatives such as the Fats, Oils and Grease Program (FOG) also act to reduce sewer overflows into local waterways.  

In 2015, the Ohio EPA approved Blueprint Columbus, the City's updated plan for eliminating the source of sanitary sewer overflows and sewage backups into basements. This plan will significantly improve water quality compared to the gray infrastructure planned in the Wet Weather Management Plan.

There are many other benefits to our community included in this plan, such as improved property values and helping to stabilize some of our most challenging neighborhoods. These improvements will require perpetual maintenance, which will in turn lead to permanent jobs.