The Odds of a Sanitary Sewer Overflow Keep Rising

The Odds of a Sanitary Sewer Overflow Keep Rising

Don't bet against Mother Nature. If you're hoping that your town or city won't experience a sanitary sewer overflow (SSO), the odds are increasingly against you. That's not being an alarmist; just a realist.

Weather plays a huge role in causing SSOs, and it's growing increasingly unpredictable and unkind – with more extreme weather events causing water-related problems in all parts of the U.S. They aren't only hitting harder, they're hitting more places all at once. When a widespread weather event triggers SSOs in multiple communities simultaneously, it could be difficult to secure rental pumps and other equipment you need without a plan in place.

Contingency Plan with Xylem Rental Solutions, however, ensures that with one phone call – day or night – you'll be mitigating the problem within hours. Click here to learn why you should create your free Contingency Plan. If you need convincing, just consider these troubling trends:

  • Storms are on the rise. About two-thirds of the U.S. is experiencing much greater-than-average rainfall per event now than 20 years ago. In the Northeast, every storm delivers more than 70 percent more rain compared to the storms from a few decades ago.
  • Temperatures are climbing. In the past century alone, the global temperature has climbed 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit. That might not sound like much, until you realize it's roughly 10 times faster than the increase that happened when the Earth recovered from the ice ages. That means more precipitation is coming down as rain rather than snow, and more snow is melting and running into our waterways.
  • Lightning strikes are increasing, too. According to a recent study from The Science Magazine every 2 degree F increase in global temperature causes 12 percent more strikes, which lead to SSOs through direct hits to pumping stations or widespread power outages.  

These are proven trends, and the predictions of what's ahead aren't any more reassuring.

  • Hurricanes will keep getting stronger. While the future frequency of hurricanes is under debate in the scientific community, everyone agrees the severity of these storms will increase in coming years.
  • The number of "super" El Nino events that bring heavy rains to the U.S. and coastal flooding out West could start coming every 10 years instead of every 20. That's the conclusion of one scientific study. Other environmental scientists are not as sure, but Michael Jarraud, former secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization, summed up the general feeling of uneasiness when he said: "This naturally occurring El Nino event and human-induced climate change may interact and modify each other in ways we have never before experienced."

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that there are as many as 75,000 SSOs every year, and with all this bad weather news, it's not a huge leap to predict that number will rise in the future. An SSO Contingency Plan from Xylem Rental Solutions is like insurance. You hope you never need it, but when you do it's invaluable. You'll sleep better knowing you have access to rental pumps, other recovery equipment and Xylem Emergency Team expertise if – and probably when – your community needs it.

by Michael J. Delzingaro