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Combined Sewer Overflows

Combined sewers convey both storm water and sanitary sewage to sewer treatment plants. When enough stormwater enters the system, the sewers are designed to overflow and release untreated sewage directly to area waters. Many older cities still use combined sewers and New Jersey has over 200 outfalls designed to discharge untreated sewage. While cities like New York and Philadelphia have taken aggressive action to curb combined sewer overflows, New Jersey has sought to protect the status quo. An EPA official described New Jersey’s CSO management as the worst in the country by far. New Jersey’s general permit, far from requiring improvements, instead shields permittees from liability.

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