|The "mini-dig" on Hope Street|
The construction in our neighborhood is to address Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) and bring Rhode Island into compliance with the Federal Clean Water Act by keeping storm-related sewer discharges out of our urban rivers and Narragansett Bay. The current construction---the new pipes being installed throughout Providence--- is for Phase II of the Narragansett Bay Commission’s CSO Project. Phase I was completed in 2008.
What’s a Combined Sewer Overflow?
Many of Providence’s sewers date back to the late 19th or early 20th century. At that time, the state of technology in sewer construction was to install a single pipe in the street to handle both sanitary sewage from homes and businesses AND storm water that flowed off roofs and on streets*. These sewers are called Combined Sewers, and they work great in dry weather. When it rains, however, the pipes become overwhelmed with the extra storm water. In order to keep the sewage from backing up into houses or onto the city street, the original engineers designed the system to overflow into the nearest river in periods of heavy rain. This is called a Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO). CSOs violate the Federal Clean Water Act and cause shellfishing closures due to bacterial contamination from sanitary sewage.
Why do you have to rip up the streets?
We know: construction is inconvenient and aggravating. But, the sewers are under the streets, and the only way to get to them is to disturb the surface. We’re doing this as efficiently as possible, but the truth about digging in an older urban environment is that we sometimes find things we didn’t plan on and our work gets delayed.
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