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Sanitary Sewer Overflows
Why do manholes overflow?
Manholes are the only way to access sanitary sewer mains that are 5-15 feet deep below streets or alleys. Manholes overflow because the sewer mains have excessive amount of rain water entering the system. The rain water enters the main from a variety of sources such as:
  • Yard drains
  • Roof drains connecting to sewer lines
  • Basement sump pumps
  • Missing clean-out caps (clean-outs are usually located close to buildings and are for cleaning home plumbing lines)
  • Damaged and broken pipes due to aging or tree roots

 sewer overflow photo
 i and I graphic It is important to remember that Federal, state and local government agencies do not allow ground water or rainwater to enter sanitary sewer lines. All rainwater runoffs must be connected to storm sewer mains which are designed for this purpose only.

Sanitary Sewers vs. Storm Sewers
Sanitary sewers collect and convey wastewater (showers, kitchens, washers, bathrooms, sinks, etc.) to a sewage treatment plant. It is important to understand that sanitary sewer lines are a completely different set of pipes from “storm drains.” Sanitary sewers have limited capacities and are not designed to dispose of stormwater (i.e. rainwater) from private property.

In Highland Park, an independent system of pipes called “storm drains” is used to transport only stormwater (i.e. rainwater) to creeks with no treatment. The inlets along roadways have been constructed to receive the rainwater.

All storm sewer inlets ultimately enter natural water sources (Turtle Creek, Hackberry Creek).

Avoiding Sewer Overflows
In 1996, the Town developed an aggressive program to eliminate sanitary sewer overflows. This program is being coordinated with Federal (EPA) and State (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality - TCEQ) agencies. Since the start of this program the Town has completed the following:
  • Replaced over 65,000 feet of aged pipes
  • Placed inserts in approximately 344 manholes
  • Rehabilitated or reconstructed over 40 manholes
  • Repaired over 500 breaks or cracks in the collection system
  • Identified and assisted over 300 homeowners in capping or sealing their systems at the homeowner's expense
  • Cleaned all pipes located in the Town’s right-of-way several times
  • Videoed over 2/3 of the Town’s sanitary sewer system

The Town’s program has and continues to reduce number, frequency, and volume of sewer overflows.

Annual Report
2017 SSO Initiative Annual Report to the TCEQ
The Town has met and exceeded the 2017 objectives outlined in the SSO Initiative Agreement 

How You Can Help
  • Check all yard drains to ensure they drain into the street or alley
  • Check the sewer clean-out caps to see if they secured. If missing, call the Engineering department and we will deliver a cap free of charge
  • If you have a basement, make sure the pumps are not connected to your sewer pipe
  • Make sure your roof drains are not connected to sewer pipes

Illicit Discharge Detection & Elimination (IDDE) Field Investigation Guide 2011

We are here to help.  Just give us a call at 214-521-4161, and we will be glad to do a free inspection.