Jackson's Sewer System
The sanitary sewer system is a network of pumping stations and underground pipes running throughout the City that is designed to carry wastewater away from a source and convey it to a treatment facility for removal of contaminants. Once treated, the clean water is discharged into a nearby water system. Essentially, the sanitary sewer system collects household and commercial wastewater from sinks, showers, toilets, dishwashers, and washing machines and sends it to a treatment facility where it is treated and cleaned. From there, the cleaned wastewater is discharged into a local stream or the Pearl River. Today, the City of Jackson owns and operates three wastewater treatment facilities; these are the Savanna Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF), the Trahon WWTF, and the Presidential Hills WWTF.
Jackson’s earliest sanitary sewers were built in the early 1900’s when indoor plumbing became commonplace. These sanitary sewers are known as “separate sanitary sewers” and are designed to carry only wastewater. These separate sanitary sewers for wastewater were not designed to overflow.
Under the City’s wastewater and stormwater system design, stormwater is collected and conveyed through its own piping system which is separate from the wastewater sewers. In other words, stormwater and wastewater are not intended to flow through the same “pipes.” However, stormwater will sometimes find its way into the separate sanitary sewers, especially in times of heavy rains. Stormwater may enter the sanitary sewers through cracks, unsealed manholes, leaky household service pipes, unauthorized drain connections, or through other means. When this occurs, the excess stormwater may cause pipes carrying wastewater to overflow onto the ground or even into a building. These types of wastewater overflow events are referred to as sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs).
Untreated wastewater carries bacteria and other pollutants that can cause illness and unsanitary conditions, even when it is diluted with stormwater. Therefore, the City of Jackson is committed to reducing SSOs through the development of a long range plan to minimize these conditions. This long range plan is being implemented under a consent decree with the assistance of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the United States Department of Justice. With this partnership, the City is committed to correcting deficiencies in its system and is working to advance long-term solutions to improve the quality of our environment and natural resources.