On February 7th, Indiana Borough received a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) from the Department of Environmental Protection. This directive requires we address challenges facing the sanitary sewer system which contribute to flooding events in the borough, such as inflow and infiltration.
Inflow is a term to describe when stormwater directly flows into a sanitary sewer system, typically through improperly connected sources (such as drains, downspouts, roofs, etc.). This is an issue because stormwater is intended to flow into the stormwater system. Infiltration refers to water entering the sanitary sewer system through cracks and/or leaks in the sanitary sewer pipes.
Efforts to address inflow and infiltration issues in our sanitary sewer system have been underway since before the CAP was ordered. From March through September in 2018, a flow metering study was conducted in three separate phases. This study concluded an inflow of stormwater into the sanitary sewer system as the predominant factor causing capacity issues within the system.
With a source identified, the next step to fixing our system is locating exactly where the problem areas are. One of the quickest and most efficient means of identifying inflow sources is through smoke testing of the sewer system. This summer, Indiana Borough will be doing smoke testing and camera work to identify target areas for sanitary sewer system projects.
Identifying and eliminating the sources of inflow identified by smoke testing will result in a significant reduction in the total load on the system. This approach also allows us to invest wisely while fixing these issues. Grant opportunities will be pursued to help lower the costs of these projects even further.
Addressing necessary infrastructure is never a simple task, especially when weather is involved. Indiana Borough, White Township, and other municipalities are all facing the issues that come with high flow events. This creates an opportunity for all neighboring municipalities to collaborate on essential public works projects that will ensure long-term quality service for all residents in our communities.