What are CSOs?
Combined Sewer Overflows, CSOs, are a result of sewer systems that collect both water runoff and sanitary sewage in the same pipe. During periods of rainfall or snowmelt, increased water runoff can exceed the capacity of these combined sewer systems and the excess wastewater, or overflow, is discharged into the Wabash River. CSOs contain not only stormwater but also untreated sewage. CSOs are a major water pollution concern for West Lafayette and the entire state of Indiana.
How do we stop overflows?
To reduce the occurrence of CSOs, the city is installing a new interceptor sewer (a new pipe) to direct more combined sewage to the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) for treatment prior to discharge to the Wabash River.
Why is the CSO Relief Interceptor Project necessary?
In addition to the obvious benefits to the environment, the CSO Relief Interceptor Project is necessary so that West Lafayette sewer systems meet EPA requirements. Additionally, the CSO Relief Interceptor Project will improve riverside activities and waterfront development because the Wabash River will become a crystal-clear destination for local residents and visitors. While it might be hard to see what is happening on the surface, know that improvements are being made approximately 25 feet below ground.
Is the CSO Relief Interceptor Project part of the State Street Redevelopment Project?
In short, no, these are two separate projects. However, originally the CSO Relief Interceptor Project would have been carried out over three years. Because the project will require extensive construction done to the roads and nearby areas, it wouldn’t make sense to complete the State Street Redevelopment Project (SSRP) and then undo some of its improvements to complete the CSO Relief Interceptor Project. Therefore, the CSO Relief Interceptor Project will instead be completed before major construction begins as part of the SSRP, and will not interfere with or undo any of its improvements. In other words, while they are separate projects, the expedited timeline of the CSO Relief Interceptor Project is a result of the SSRP.