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City of Lancaster to Use Notification Lights to Warn Public About Combined Sewer Overflows

March 22, 2021 | Bureau of Wastewater Operations

Beginning this month, the City of Lancaster will alert the public of combined sewer overflow (CSO) events in the Conestoga River with red and yellow warning lights. The lights have been installed at each of the five outfalls along the river where CSOs occur.

CSOs occur when the City’s Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant is unable to process all of the sanitary sewage and rainwater entering the combined sewer system. This results in the discharge of untreated sewage and rainwater to the Conestoga River. 

CSOs contain high levels of fecal coliform bacteria. The public should avoid contact with the water during and immediately following an overflow event. The notification lights will help draw attention to the signs at each outfall warning people to avoid contact with the water when a CSO is in progress (red light) and for a period of 24 hours immediately following a CSO (yellow light). 

There are between 55 and 65 CSO events in a typical year.

For more information about actions the City is taking to reduce the impact of CSOs on the Conestoga River, visit engage.cityoflancasterpa.com.