Each year 24 billion gallons of combined untreated sewage and stormwater are dumped in the Great Lakes. Many combined sewers, where sewage and stormwater are transported in the same pipe, were built over 100 years ago. Although they were approved when built, these systems are no longer approved by the EPA and newer communities are built with separate systems.**
The City of Defiance has a combined sewer system – similar to many local communities that were built adjacent to streams and rivers. During wet weather, large volumes of stormwater overwhelm the system, causing a CSO*, discharging human sewage directly into the Maumee and Auglaize Rivers.
In order to meet EPA mandates, Defiance has reduced CSO’s from 44 to 26 during the past 10 years and is currently negotiating with Ohio EPA to find the most affordable solution to complete this project. Any solution is complex and expensive with sewer pipes underground, often under the streets. It is anticipated that the City will need to spend up to another 50 million dollars over the next 20 years to address the problem in a sustainable way. Green infrastructure cannot be used in every location, but where it is feasible; it creates multiple water quality benefits.
Go to our Public Projects / Diehl Park page to see how Diehl Park is a prime example of putting our green space to work through the use of Green Infrastructure.