Why were our sewers built this way?

Peoria built its first sewers in the late 1800s to carry rainwater and melting snow away from homes, businesses, and streets. When indoor plumbing came later, homeowners and business owners hooked their sewage lines to those same sewers, combining stormwater and sewage in one pipe. This was standard practice in many U.S. cities at the time, especially in the Northeast and Midwest. By 1931, the combined sewers were connected to the new Greater Peoria Sanitary District treatment plant through a new riverfront interceptor sewer. However, the old sewers still retained their ability to overflow when sewage levels got too high. If they didn't have this escape valve, raw sewage would back up into people's basements and streets. (In new neighborhoods today, we avoid this problem by building separate sewers for stormwater and sewage.)

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Show All Answers

1. Why does raw sewage overflow into the Illinois River during wet weather?
2. Why were our sewers built this way?
3. What are the harmful effects?
4. Has Peoria done anything in the past to reduce overflows?
5. Why do we have to do even more?
6. How are we proposing to reduce overflows now?
7. When will a decision be made whether we can move forward?
8. How will we pay for it?
9. What happens if we don't fix the problem?
10. Why should all Peorians care about this, no matter where we live?