These combined systems transport household, commercial, and industrial wastewater along with storm water. As a result, when it rains, these systems can overflow, carrying untreated sewage and water into local and regional waterways. Build it Green (BIG) is a two-year initiative (2016-2017) to support three New Jersey cities, selected through a competitive application process, as they pursue innovative storm water management projects and strive to meet new environmental mandates under the Clean Water Act to reduce combined sewer overflows (CSOs).
The cost of addressing CSOs are estimated to run into the billions of dollars, straining the budgets of chronically cash-strapped communities that are also coping with a long list of other challenges. One way to spur near-term action to mitigate CSOs, and simultaneously open new funding sources, is to pursue integrated CSO projects. Integrated CSO projects (CSO+) are projects that reduce CSOs while also solving other important community challenges. The BIG Team provided partner cities with technical support, including capacity building, design, finance, and engineering services, to develop integrated CSO+ solutions. The results of this work include a Field Guide to CSO+ for other communities seeking to address similar challenges.