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July 21, 2013

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Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Before the first sewer lines were laid down in the City of Lockport, the Eighteenmile Creek was used by residents as one avenue to depose of wastes; residential outhouses and a communal garbage landfill were other means. Manufacturing plants also had a big impact on the creek with many disposing of their waste by-products directly into the creek.

The ongoing abuse of the creek made for a very unpleasant smelling and appearing scene; so much so, that the city of Lockport decided to enclose, cover and contain the creek underground within the city boundaries. This made conditions more livable but the abuse to the creek continued.

It was not until the beginning of the twentieth century, with the population growing, construction of better streets and roads for the new invention of the automobile, that there was insight for the construction of underground water and sewer lines.

The sewer system built not only was designed to take away household sanitary waste but also manufacturing waste and storm water flow. Because the sewer system can receive both sanitary and storm flow, it is called a combined sewer system. Storm receivers were built within the street / curb construction to prevent and alleviate flooding and ponding on the streets after a storm event.

With a storm event, the volume of water can be tenfold from that of a normal non-storm event day. A wastewater treatment plant is designed to handle a certain maximum flow for proper, full treatment. With this in mind, the sewer system can also only handle a maximum amount of flow. If the maximum amount was exceeded within the sewer lines, there were many “relief points” built throughout the system. These “relief points” are called “CSO”s (Combined Sewer Overflow) and are designed to spill the excess amount directly into a nearby waterway.

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