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SSO Program Overview


The purpose of the Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) Control and Wastewater Facilities Program is to address the existing Consent Decree while planning for Baton Rouge’s future sewer infrastructure needs.

Program Vision

The City-Parish wants an affordable, constructible and sustainable SSO Program that addresses present challenges while planning for future growth, meets consent decree deadlines, and is implemented in a true partnership with the City-Parish with full accountability to the public.

Critical Success Factors

  • Develop rehabilitation-based SSO Program Strategy
  • Implementation within consent decree deadline
  • Meet and exceed stakeholder expectations
  • Minimum disruption to the public
  • Program is cost-effective and affordable
  • Develop a true partnership between the City-Parish and SSO Program Manager
  • Develop a strong public awareness component
  • Immediate Action Projects are executed early

What is an SSO?

A sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) is a discharge of untreated, raw wastewater into local waterways. The discharge may come from manholes, cracks and other defects in sewer lines, emergency relief outlets, and other sources within a sanitary sewer system.

What do you do if you see an SSO occurring?

It is important to follow guidelines if you see or come in contact with an SSO. SSOs have the potential to contain raw sewage. Raw sewage is likely to contain pathogens (disease-causing agents, such as bacteria) that can be harmful to our health. If you see an SSO occurring, please immediately call the Department of Environmental Services at (225) 389-4865. DES staff will be deployed to investigate, clean, take samples, and work with the state’s Department of Environmental Quality to report and monitor the spill.

You should also take these precautions:

  • Keep people away from the area of the overflow (typically a manhole). This is especially important for children and pets who may play near the overflow area (e.g., street, public park, or local streams, creeks, and rivers).
  • Do not go near or touch the overflow. However, if you do happen to come in contact with the sewage overflow, wash your hands thoroughly in warm, soapy water before handling food or touching other persons or surfaces.

For information on reporting SSOs, please refer to these Frequently Asked Questions.

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