Likelihood of combined sewer overflow greater in fall, spring

By Todd Sattison, Program Director of Water Pollution Control

Auburn’s Water Pollution Control division—which includes a Class III Municipal Wastewater Treatment Facility and both separated and combined sewers—protects the health and well-being of the community and downstream users.

While there are several measures in place to ensure clean and safe water, there are times when our combined sewer outlets (CSO) discharge both storm and sewer contents into Cedar Creek. This can happen during heavy fall and spring rainfalls and snowmelts that make it difficult for the treatment plant and sewers to handle the greater water volume. During an overflow, untreated sewage spills directly into the stream, causing it to be polluted for a few days.

Our wastewater pollution control experts monitor CSOs regularly. Auburn has four CSOs:

  • Main wastewater treatment facility on the west side of Cedar Creek
  • Cedar Creek at 7th Street
  • Eckhart Park
  • Auburn Drive

When current or forecasted weather threatens to cause a CSO overflow, we’ll post a cautionary alert on the city’s website and our Facebook and Twitter accounts. These alerts will remind the public of the potential of sewer being mixed into the creek water. The public should avoid swimming, wading or ingesting any water associated with Cedar Creek during CSO alert periods.

The city has a long-term plan to separate our combined sewer outlets. This complicated process will be implemented in phases over the next several years.