Smart CSO Control Plans
Many of New Jersey’s oldest cities still rely on combined sewer systems — systems in which stormwater runoff from city streets feeds into sewer lines and is treated, along with sewage, by treatment plants. Some of these systems are more than 100 years old.
During heavy rainfalls the volume of stormwater in the older, combined systems can overwhelm the capacity of the treatment plant. When that happens, combined sewage can overflow into area waterways, or back up into streets, public spaces such as parks, and sometimes even residential basements. This makes the sewage treatment plant operator vulnerable to lawsuits under the federal Clean Water Act.
Jersey Water Works’ initial efforts involve working with communities and utilities that have combined sewer systems, to help them identify and implement the appropriate combination of strategies to reduce sewer overflows.
An index of resources categorized by their pertinence to the Long-Term Control Plan process and intended for permit holders can be found here: JerseyWaterWorks.org/CSOLTCPresources
Bolstering the Water Workforce with Innovative Programs
In the City of Camden, two programs were created to train residents of low-income communities and communities of color in green infrastructure maintenance and/or connect them to employment opportunities, including those in the water industry. One is PowerCorps Camden, administered by Center for Family Services and Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority, among others, and the other is Camden Works, administered by Center for Family Services and Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, among others. This case study details how these workforce training programs are structured, providing an overview that communities can refer to if they wish to create their own program. It also features insight on factors for success and lessons learned as these programs have navigated their first few years of operation.
Assessing Public Input and Consideration of Green Infrastructure in NJ CSO Reports
This paper, Assessing Public Input and Consideration of Green Infrastructure in NJ CSO Reports, assesses how well the Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Development and Evaluation of Alternatives Reports meet the Jersey Water Works (JWW) goals for “Smart CSO Plans.”
The Development and Evaluation of Alternative Reports (DEARs) were submitted to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) in July 2019, with a deadline for the final LTCPs of October 2020. The committee reviewed 24 reports submitted on behalf of 25 permit holders; some reports were consolidated based on regional reports. Nine regional collaborations of sewage treatment plants and municipal permit holders worked together on the development and evaluation of alternatives. Of the 25 permit holders, the City of Trenton was the single permit holder not included in this review because the City has already submitted its LTCP.
This paper summarizes the committee’s findings, with focus on the types of alternatives evaluated, green infrastructure considerations, and extent of public participation.
Hidden Capacity: How Proper Maintenance and Cleaning of Sewer Systems Can Have Huge Benefits!
Issued by the JWW Combined Sewer Overflow Committee, the purpose of this paper, Hidden Capacity: How Proper Maintenance and Cleaning of Sewer Systems Can Have Huge Benefits, is to highlight the importance of sewer cleaning and inspection as critical elements of a proper and effective sewer system operation and maintenance program. Additional basic, cost-effective “gray” type controls, which have the potential to reduce combined sewer overflows (CSOs), sewer backups, and flooding significantly, are also presented. The cleaning and proper maintenance of sewer collection systems is relevant to both combined sewer systems (i.e., systems that convey sanitary/industrial flows as well as stormwater) and separate sanitary systems (systems that carry only sanitary/industrial flows). This paper also provides regulatory recommendations to help ensure that municipalities/utilities are implementing these basic, cost-effective control measures and are operating and maintaining their collection systems properly.
Balancing Green and Gray Solutions to CSO Management
The purpose of this report, Balancing Green and Gray Solutions to CSO Management, is to provide guidance to CSO permit holders and their Supplemental CSO Community Teams, to help guide the development of LTCPs for determining an optimal green/gray balance. Although the target audience is permittees and their communities, other readers should benefit from the summary of current CSO programs. It is recognized that there are varying paths towards inclusion of GI into LTCPs. Developing a methodology to measure and communicate the balance of green and gray infrastructure is an important component of CSO LTCPs. It is also desirable to promote the use of best practices like the USEPA’s community alternatives analysis roadmap with all CSO permittees. This report is not, however, intended to provide detailed technical guidance to permittees.
CCMUA: Incorporating Community Interests into Effective Infrastructure Decision-Making
This case study, Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority: A Wet Weather Case Study of Incorporating Community Interests into Infrastructure Decision-Making, describes the ways in which the Camden County Municipal Utility Authority (CCMUA), together with the U.S. EPA Office of Wastewater Management and representatives from the community-based Camden SMART Initiative, used an augmented infrastructure alternatives analysis approach to help CCMUA identify an optimal and cost-effective mix of green and gray infrastructure to support its Combined Sewer Long-Term Control Plan. The approach described in this case example is transferable to other communities facing a myriad of infrastructure challenges.
The method used by CCMUA is designed to engage community stakeholders in the infrastructure alternatives analysis process at a very early stage. The approach described in this case example will help CCMUA communicate with their board members and other decision makers to ensure these individuals have a clear understanding of the choices before them as they make the critical financial and policy decisions necessary to ensure the utility’s infrastructure is sustainable over time.