Sanitary sewers are designed to carry sewage and are not sized to handle added flows from inflow and infiltration. Inflow and infiltration are terms used to describe how groundwater and rainwater enter the sanitary sewer system. These sources are known as "clear water" to distinguish it from sewage.
As a rain event begins, the sanitary sewer starts to fill with clear water as a result of inflow and infiltration. Once the sanitary sewer system has reached capacity or become overloaded, water will flow backward through the sanitary sewer, flooding households and causing manholes to pop open releasing sewage and potential pathogens into the street and environment.
The City maintains approximately 375 miles of sewer pipe. Stretched end to end, the sanitary sewer would reach from Bryan to New Orleans, Louisiana. The City has implemented proactive approaches to its management and operation of the sewer system to minimize overflow occurrences associated with inflow and infiltration. These approaches include:
Creating a prioritized preventive maintenance and sewer cleaning schedule.
Mapping service history, overflows, and assets into GIS.
Forecasting future repairs and system improvements.
Implementing a scheduled inspection and condition assessment for sewer pipe.
Reaching out to homeowners and businesses through public education.
The City performs routine inspections of the sewer system to identify defects in its system and sewer pipes from private homes and businesses. Typical defects in sewer piping such as cracks, leaking joints, collapsed lines and/or missing cleanout caps, serve as points of entrance for inflow and infiltration.
Property owners will be asked to repair defects identified as a result of sewer inspections. The City's Sewer Lateral Grant Program and Sewer Lateral Assessment Program are simple and convenient ways for Bryan homeowners to offset the cost of repairing or replacing defects in their home's sewer piping.
Contact us to learn more about these programs or actions you can take to prevent inflow and infiltration.