During periods of heavy rain or snowmelt, older sewer pipes may be too small to handle the water. When this happens, sewage can back up into your basement or overflow into the environment.
There are combined sewer overflows located in both Regional and municipal infrastructure throughout Niagara. Overflows were designed to allow excess water to exit the sewer systems when the pipes could not handle the increased flows due to wet weather and melting snow.
While this system of designed overflows helps to prevent basement flooding, there are health and environmental concerns from releasing under-treated sewage into ditches, rivers and lakes. We're working to reduce and eliminate these overflows.
We no longer install combined sewers, and are working on projects to upgrade existing wastewater treatment facilities to increase treatment capacity, upgrade older sewer pipes and sewage pumping stations.
Municipalities are working at getting downspouts and foundation drains disconnected from the sewer system. These improvements are reducing the volume of combined sewer overflows.
Along with the work being done by Niagara Region and the municipalities, your efforts can also help to ensure combined sewer overflows in Niagara are kept to a minimum.
The proper management of overflows will greatly reduce the potential risk to human health and the environment.
Niagara Region and local municipalities are working together to reduce the amount of inflow and infiltration entering the sanitary system through the Combined Sewer Overflow Control Program.
The cost-share program funds municipal projects to target inflow and infiltration reduction, which helps to reduce basement flooding, overflows to the environment and alleviates system capacity. Some examples of municipal projects funded through the program include: