Overwhelmed sewer system causes raw sewage flow into river
Back in 2015, Virginia Tech researchers discovered that the catfish from the James River, being caught and sold in grocery stores, had been feeding off of raw sewage that overflows from three nearby sewage systems. The photo below shows a researcher pulling out a condom and raw sewage from a catfish belly. But that hasn’t stopped the problem of the raw sewage overflowing into the river at the first sight of heavy storm rains.
How is this happening? The problem is that the city of Richmond’s sewer systems date back to the 1860’s. Stormwater and sewage both flow through the same pipes and once the rains hit it overflows into the neighboring James River. With an influx of trash like wipes and non-flushables being added to the mix, the aged piping just can’t keep up.
So what’s being done to stop this? The General Assembly passed legislation that forced one of the three contributing cities to fix the problem by 2025, but as for Richmond, the one that contributes the most to the raw sewage, they still have a lot of work to do.
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