Sanitary Sewer Overflows  
What are they and why are they important?

To better understand what a sanitary sewer overflow is, it helps to know what a sanitary sewer system is...

Sanitary Sewer System
A sanitary sewer system consists of pipes that carry only sewage from your home or place of business to the wastewater treatment plant. This differentiates it from a combined sewer system, which carries both sewage and storm water in the same pipe. Our map of the sanitary sewer system shows that the majority of Frankfort and all of our system in Franklin County is served by a sanitary sewer system.

Sanitary Sewer Overflows

Wet Weather Overflows
The sanitary sewer system is designed to carry sewage only. If storm water gets into the sanitary sewer system, the pipes can become full and spill over. These spills, called sanitary sewer overflows, usually occur at a manhole and overflow into a street or yard. Since these sanitary sewer overflows typically occur during heavy rains, they are considered "wet weather overflows."

Our map shows the 20 locations in the Frankfort sewer system where recurring wet weather sanitary sewer overflows occur. The map also shows that there are eight recurring sanitary sewer overflows that have been eliminated. An overflow is considered 'recurring" if it overflows during rain events more than twice in a 12-month period. 


Water escapes through a manhole during an overflow event in the Two Creeks Subdivision.

Dry Weather Overflows
Sanitary Sewer Overflows also can occur when a pipe gets clogged with debris, grease or roots. These sanitary sewer overflows are considered "dry weather overflows," as opposed to the "wet weather overflows" caused by excess storm water (described above). When a dry weather overflow occurs, the sewer department will determine the cause of the overflow and clean or repair the pipe accordingly.

The Clean Waterways Program and Sanitary Sewer Overflows

Wet Weather Overflows
Any discharge of sewage from the sanitary sewer system is a violation of the Clean Water Act. Like many other communities nationwide, Frankfort is under a state and federal mandate to eliminate all recurring sanitary sewer overflows. The Frankfort Sewer Department must eliminate any such overflows by September 2015.

There are two ways storm water can get into the sanitary sewer system - infiltration and inflow. Infiltration occurs when water inadvertently enters the sewer system through failing infrastructure, such as leaks in sewer lines, seepage, or leaks in manholes. The Frankfort Sewer Department will spend millions of dollars through its Clean Waterways Program on sewer projects over the next six years to fix those portions of the system that allow infiltration of storm water into the sanitary sewer system.

Inflow is storm water that is discharged into the sanitary sewer system through fixtures such as gutters, downspouts, drains and sump pumps. In accordance with the City and County Sewer Use Ordinances, adding such inflow to the sanitary sewer system is illegal. For instance, connecting a sump pump to the sanitary sewer system is considered an illegal connection. Sanitary fixtures in your home or business that CAN be legally connected to the sanitary sewer system include toilets, sinks, bathtubs, showers and lavatories. Through the Clean Waterways Program, the Frankfort Sewer Department will perform property inspections of all sewer customers over the next six years to ensure that illegal connections to the sanitary sewer system are disconnected.
Dry Weather Overflows
 As required by state and federal mandates, the Frankfort Sewer Department has created and implemented a Capacity, Management, Operations and Maintenance Plan. One goal of the plan is to minimize the number of dry weather overflows through optimizing system capacity, coordinating internal management, and creating a written operation and maintenance plan to help better direct and organize field staff. The Plan should assist the Frankfort Sewer Department staff in identifying, assessing and fixing system problems before they become an overflow. 

clean waterways

Conditions are such that an overflow may occur.





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