During rainy weather, the Hartford Wastewater Treatment Facility receives an overwhelming amount of combined stormwater and sanitary sewage, originating in part from other member towns and in part from within Hartford’s combined sewer infrastructure and stormwater infiltration. As noted, many older communities in the Northeast employ sewer systems utilizing a single pipe to convey both wastewater and stormwater (a combined sewer) to water pollution control facilities. When these pipes are overwhelmed, spills occur and sewage is released to the environment, creating a public health and water pollution concern. Nearly half of Hartford’s 217 miles of sewer pipes are combined sewers.
Sewer separation involves constructing a new storm drain or new sanitary sewer pipe in a street so that stormwater and sanitary sewer each have a dedicated pipe to convey flow. Sewer separation is designed to decrease sewage backups in homes and sewer overflows to rivers during storm events by reducing the volume of stormwater that currently enters the combined pipes. Once construction of the sewer separation projects are complete, stormwater will be conveyed to the local waterways and sanitary sewage will be conveyed to a water pollution control facility.