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An Environmental Innovation: The Sewer MouseIn the effort to clean up America's waters, there is a little-known complicating factor: because they leak, sewer systems in many American cities are causing rather than preventing pollution of rivers and lakes. Fixing the leaks is difficult because their locations are unknown. Maintenance crews can't tear up a whole city looking for cracks in the pipes; they must first determine which areas are most likely suspects. An aerospace spinoff is providing help in that regard. The problem starts with heavy rains. Rainwater naturally flows into the sewers from streets, but sewage systems are designed to accommodate it. However, they are not designed to handle the additional flow of "groundwater", rain absorbed by the earth which seeps into the sewers through leaks in pipes and sewer walls. After a storm, groundwater seepage can increase the waterflow to deluge proportions, with the result that sewage treatment plants are incapable of processing the swollen flow. When that happens the sluices must be opened, dumping raw sewage into rivers and lakes.
Document ID
Document Type
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
February 1, 1979
Publication Information
Publication: Spinoff 1979
Subject Category
Technology Utilization and Surface Transportation
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle20070019711Analytic PrimarySpinoff 1979