Friday, December 7, 2012

Challenges for Portland's Storm Drains

According to National Clean Water Laws, 

Portland must stop raw sewage from dumping into Casco   Bay


Here's the bottom line: The City of Portland's wastewater system is old and needs reinvestment. It's a big system and needs a lot of repairs:

  • 133 miles of combined sewer pipe
  • 62 miles of sanitary sewer pipe
  • 133 miles of storm sewer pipe
  • Thousands of catch basins, manholes, detention ponds, underground waste  underground waste water storage facilities, and sewer pump stationswater storage facilities, and sewer pump stations manholes, detention ponds, underground waste water storage facilities, and sewer pump stations

Nearly half of the storm drain system is in fair to poor shape.

This causes pollution in Casco Bay and floods in local streets and basements. Portland's wastewater system was built in several stages during the two last centuries. The oldest parts of the system are on the peninsula and other areas of the city. The wastewater system blends sewage from buildings and factories with runoff and melting snow into a single set of pipes that take the water to the East End Wastewater Treatment Plant.
When too much runoff or melting snow enter the system, it overwhelms the pipes and treatment plants and overflows. Sometimes excess water backs up into families' basements, sometimes onto the streets, and sometimes into local brooks and Casco Bay.