About Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) Notifications
A Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) is an unintentional discharge of wastewater to the environment prior to reaching a treatment facility. SSOs can occur on infrequent occasions when the capacity of the sewer system is exceeded, usually due to extreme conditions such as heavy rainfall, or an obstruction or break in sewer lines.
During such events, flow may be discharged to the environment and potentially local receiving waters without treatment. These events may also occur in a manner to reduce the risk of sewage backing up into homes and businesses. Public health officials recommend avoiding contact with receiving waters for up to two days after SSO discharges have ended.
The web page will include notifications to the public which provide data from any ongoing SSOs as well as any SSOs that have occurred during the past sixty (60) days. In addition, the District also reports all SSOs to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the Environmental Protection Agency as required.
When a discharge or overflow occurs, the District will send out a public advisory notification. On business days, this website will be updated within approximately 1 hour of the notification. During weekends or holidays, this website will be updated on the next business day.
You can also see a list of discharge and overflow events on the MassDEP website (https://eeaonline.eea.state.ma.us/portal/dep/cso-data-portal/). This list is updated within 24 hours of when the public advisory notification is sent. Enter the community name in the Permittee field and click Search.
The fastest way to get information is to sign up to receive public advisory notifications directly from the District.
For more information, please visit the Commonwealth of Massachusetts website to read a guide about Sanitary Systems and Combined Sewer Overflows. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website also has additional information on SSOs for our specific EPA Region of the country.
What Can I Do to Prevent SSO and Back-ups? To protect your property and the environment, follow these simple Do’s and Don’ts:
- DON’T Put non-flushable WIPES in the toilet
- DON’T Put diapers or sanitary napkins in the toilet
- DON’T Dispose of grease down the drain
- DON’T Plant trees near sewer lines
- DON’T Connect any roof drains or sump pumps to the sewer system
You can sign up here to receive email notifications from the District when SSO events are discovered.
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