COMBINED SEWER OVERFLOW REPORTING

In the past, we’ve talked about combined sewer overflows (CSOs) in Hartford and related impacts on our local and regional waters like the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound. Although we know the what and why, it’s time to share the when, where, and how much. Thanks to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, a number of the regional wastewater and water utilities are required to report “real-time” CSOs or bypass events. The Metropolitan District, which services Hartford and surrounding towns, also submits reports to comply with this requirement. This Bypass and CSO Public Viewer is available online, making the data more accessible than ever before.

Though this information is still relatively recent (the data does not go back further than a few years), it can help track progress going forward and plan for future interventions. Since July 2018, there have been 147 CSO events in Hartford. In terms of volume, although some of these events are smaller (in the hundreds or thousands of gallons), there have notably been a number of events that exceeded a million gallons. In terms of location, many events fall along the Connecticut River, which also receives CSO volumes both upstream and downstream of Hartford before entering the Long Island Sound. Smaller water bodies including local brooks, the Park River, and both North and South branches of the Park River have also received CSO volumes as well.

Screenshot of Hartford area CSOs reported on the CT DEEP Bypass and CSO Public Viewer. One event reported over 18 million gallons in CSO volume.
Screenshot of Hartford area CSOs reported on the CT DEEP Bypass and CSO Public Viewer. One event was reported to be over 18 million gallons of CSO volume.

As these events can often be triggered by wet weather (like rain), a combination of green and grey infrastructure can help manage the excess stormwater. As an individual, when you have a tree, rain barrel, downspout disconnection, or rain garden at home, you’re helping reduce sewer overflows for a cleaner Hartford, Connecticut River, and Long Island Sound. For larger property owners and entities, both green and grey infrastructure can help manage stormwater (required by zoning). Every gallon counts, and we can do it together.

Source: CT DEEP

*The Retain the Rain program is supported by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The Hartford Mayor’s Office of Sustainability is funded in part by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Long Island Sound Futures Fund. The views contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the opinions or policies of the U.S. Government or the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and its funding sources. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute their endorsement by the U.S. Government, or the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation or its funding sources.