Overflow Control Plan a long-term solution
In 2012, the City entered into an Amended Consent Judgment which had two parts:
1) The Early Action Plan and 2) the Long-term Overflow Control Plan.
As part of the Early Action Plan, the City was initially required to spend $50 million over a 7-year period - from 2012 to 2018. This investment focused on upgrading and rehabilitating the sewer collection system and enhanced capacity at the treatment plant.
While the Early Action Plan was being implemented, the City was required to develop a longer-term Overflow Control Plan (OCP) to address the long-term goal of reducing SSOs and treatment plant bypasses in our community. This plan was approved by City Council on December 2014 and was subsequently approved by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources in May 2015.
Due in large part to the City of Springfield’s Integrated Planning efforts, Springfield’s OCP is a unique, phased approach that allows the City to prioritize its wastewater investments by focusing on the most cost-effective solutions. The OCP includes a commitment to invest an additional $200 million in these activities from 2015 to 2025. Since this is a legal action, Springfield is obligated to meet these requirements. Failure to comply can result in fines totaling as much as $2,500 a day until we regain compliance. Most major communities across the country have similar judgments in place.
View the full Overflow Control Plan (OCP) here.
OCP in action making the sewer work
The Long-Term Overflow Control Plan (OCP) will continue the City's program to address the sanitary sewer overflows and make much needed improvements to the aging sewer system. The Plan outlines investments in the sanitary sewer system for the next 10 years with a total cost of $200 million dollars. The goals of the OCP include safeguarding public health, meeting state/federal regulations, and supporting future development/redevelopment in an affordable manner for our community.
The Long-Term Overflow Control Plan includes the following improvements:
- Continued rehabilitation of aging pipes
- Expansion of the private sewer repair program to address I/I from private sources
- Upgrades on treatment facilities, including energy efficiency
- Targeted projects to reduce sanitary sewer overflows
- Increase sewer maintenance staffing
- Continued monitoring of system performance
- Continued public outreach and education
Multiple repair and rehabilitation techniques have been used within the City, through a combination of in-house and contracted work.
- Disconnecting illegal plumbing, drains, and roof downspouts
- Cured-in-Place Pipe (CIPP) lining
- Manhole frame and lid replacement
- Manhole wall spraying
infrastructure Collect, carry & clean
Springfield operates under separate sanitary sewer and stormwater collection systems, each designed to carry either wastewater or stormwater.
Springfield’s sanitary sewer system is a vital piece of community infrastructure. Often taken for granted, public sanitation is considered the single greatest advancement that society has made towards improving public health. Besides, an efficient sewer system supports economic growth and is one of the key pieces of public infrastructure that allows the dense development that defines us as a City.
The City of Springfield’s sanitary sewer system contains more than 1,200 miles of pipe and over 28,000 manholes. All the wastewater collected throughout the City is transported, to one of two, award-winning wastewater treatment plants. There the water is treated and released into both Wilsons Creek, which travels to Table Rock Lake, and the Sac River, which goes into Stockton Lake.
Over the next decade, most of the City’s sanitary sewer system will have exceeded its expected life span of 50 years. Significant portions of the system are over 100 years old. Because the sewer system is so vital to our community, it is important to continually invest in renewing and maintaining this infrastructure.
Funding money to maintain & income to improve
Springfield's Sanitary Sewer System is supported by the Sewer Enterprise fund which is primarily supported by sewer use fees (i.e., wastewater rates). In addition, there are other minor revenue streams within the enterprise fund, such as a hauled waste tipping fee for trucks that take liquid waste to the treatment plants as well as permit and connection fees related to new developments.
Revenue collected from wastewater ratepayers is only used to fund programs within the wastewater enterprise system, so revenue collected represents the true cost of operating the sewer utility over the long term.
Based on revenue and expense projections during the development of the OCP, the average residential sewer rate was anticipated to increase an average of 6% per year between 2015 and 2025 with individual rate increases being significantly higher or lower than 6%, depending on the timing of projects and long-range cash flow projections. Sewer use fees were last set by City Council in November 2016, with the last of these rate increases scheduled for implementation on July 1, 2019 (Council Bill 2016-254 – Ordinance 6320).
regulatory drivers reducing pollution
The Federal Clean Water Act of 1972 (CWA) established the basic structure for regulating pollutant discharges into waters of the United States. The CWA gave EPA the authority to implement pollution control programs to reduce pollution from permitted sources. One such permitted source is wastewater treatment plants and sewer collection systems like those in place in Springfield. Under this law, these systems are only allowed to discharge into streams from a specific location where the discharge must meet certain chemical and biological standards.
However, when it rains, stormwater can enter the sewer system through cracks and defects present in the infrastructure. Improper connections on private property, such as connected roof downspouts or sump pumps, can also contribute to problems. These sources of stormwater are collectively called ‘inflow and infiltration’ or I&I. The sewer system was not designed to carry stormwater. When too much water enters the system, it causes the pipes to overflow from manholes into our neighborhoods, causing treatment plant bypasses into our local waterways.
Not only does this harm the environment, public health and the general quality of life in our community, but it has also become a legal issue. Sanitary sewer overflows are not allowed under the Federal Clean Water Act. The EPA’s enforcement of the Clean Water Act has increased significantly over the last few decades. As a result, most large communities around the country are being brought into compliance through a legal mechanism called a consent judgment.
The City has been under a consent judgment with the State of Missouri since 1995 to reduce Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs) and treatment plant bypasses.