Operation Ripple Effect Earth Day Celebration

Oneida County Sewer District to Host Earth Day Celebration April 18 at Jay-K Lumber in New Hartford

Oneida County Sewer District representatives invite homeowners and businesses to learn how they can help reduce sanitary sewer overflows into the Mohawk River at the Operation Ripple Effect Earth Day Celebration starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 18, at Jay-K Lumber in New Hartford.

Normally, our sanitary sewer system has enough capacity to operate properly. But heavy rains or snowmelts can cause stormwater to overwhelm the system and result in overflows into the Mohawk River. National studies have shown that as much as 50 percent of the excess stormwater in sanitary sewer systems comes from private property. One big culprit is rainwater that is captured in roof gutters that then flows through a downspout that is connected into a drain leading to a sanitary sewer. Another significant source is the discharge from sump pumps. Operation Ripple Effect is an Oneida County initiative that acts as a guide to provide simple steps to help keep the Mohawk River clean.

A standard 8-inch sanitary sewer line can service as many as 456 homes. Yet during a significant rainfall, the same sewer lines can become overloaded with excess water from only 36 homes if downspouts are connected to it. Sump pumps that discharge to the sanitary sewer can also be significant contributors of excess flow through the system. Discharge from as few as 10 sump pumps can overload that same 8-inch sewer line.

The Operation Ripple Effect Earth Day Celebration will inspire residents and business owners with simple project ideas like rerouting rain gutter downspouts, installing a rain barrel, and planting a rain garden.

“Small projects to reroute stormwater away from the Oneida County sewer system can add up to big impacts when we all participate,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr.

“Operation Ripple Effect works in conjunction with repair and rehabilitation projects being completed throughout the system to reduce the amount of unnecessary inflow and infiltration,” said Steven P. Devan, P.E., commissioner of the Oneida County Department of Water Quality and Water Pollution Control. “Other projects include lining sewer pipes, manhole repairs and the installation of flow meters, which will help keep track of project progress.”

In addition to the event at Jay-K Lumber, the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority will also share Operation Ripple Effect information and rain barrel resources starting at 10 a.m. at its annual Earth Day event at the Oneida-Herkimer Recycling Center, 80 Leland Avenue Extension, Utica.

For more information, visit RippleEffectOCSD.org.