COVID-19 - As of Jan. 14, a stay at home order is in effect. See restrictions and public health measures. Get updates on COVID-19 and learn about service disruptions.

How Combined Sewer Overflows Work

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.

There are several things you can do to help reduce the impact of overflows in Niagara.

Health and Environmental Concerns

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 are 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.

Page Feedback Did you find what you were looking for today?