Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Inadequate Sanitation Is Not Only a Developing World Problem

Those of us working in the international sector occasionally need reminders that developed countries, like the United States, also suffer from inadequate sanitation.  One reminder is the failure of US wastewater systems during large storm events.  Hurricane Sandy, which hit the east coast early last week, caused substantial quantities of sewage to leak into United States waterways.  In many cases, this was the result of combined sewer overflows.  Other causes included power failures and, in at least one case, a sewage main break.  Below are a sampling of links (not exhaustive) to news reports documenting extensive sewage overflows caused by Sandy.

Power outages knocked out a wastewater treatment plant in Newark, causing 500 million gallons of raw sewage to poor into the Newark Bay:
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-11-02/raw-sewage-enters-newark-bay-after-sandy-cripples-plant

20-25 million gallons poured into Little Patuxent River in Howard County, Maryland due to power outages:
http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2012-10-30/news/bs-gr-howard-sewer-leak-20121030_1_sewage-spill-overflows-water-reclamation-plant

That was one of only 19 wastewater treatment plants in Maryland, with (for example) Frederick county reporting thousands of gallons of partially-treated wastewater flowing into creeks and streams:
http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/news/display.htm?storyID=142738#.UJlQ1MXR63Y

15-20 million gallons of partially-treated sewage flowed into Long Island Sound from overflows in Bridgeport, Connecticut while 60,000 gallons of raw sewage flowed into Seth Williams Brook outside Ledyard, Connecticut:
http://www.boston.com/news/weather/2012/10/30/conn-plants-discharging-raw-sewage/IXotXdRcv033q2cYYaVYeO/story.html

9.3 million gallons of raw sewage due to a main break in Virginia:
http://www.wavy.com/dpp/news/local_news/suffolk/93-million-gallons-of-sewage-in-creek13519134871001351913521952



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