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Sewage
Significant technological advances have been developed and implemented to contain and treat human sewage entering streams. The problem, however, remains a significant one in most stream ecosystems.

Image showing combined stormwater outflow leaking raw sewage at Site E. This image links to a more detailed image.In the Wheeling Creek watershed, two sources of sewage input are particularly apparent. The first of these, combined sewage outflows (CSOs), affects nearly every municipality across the United States. The CSOs carry both sewage and stormwater runoff to the sewage treatment plant. During a heavy downpour, however, stormwater runoff overwhelms the sewage treatment plant. Consequently, a system of gates opens and releases the excess runoff into nearby rivers and streams. The problem occurs because sewage is mixed with stormwater that is allowed to enter rivers and streams. CSOs are major sources of sewage in watersheds that are served by sewage treatment plants. Left: Combined stormwater outflow leaking raw sewage at Site E. This CSO has since been repaired. Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Ben Stout

Image showing untreated household sewage entering Little Wheeling Creek.  This image links to a more detailed image.Not all municipalities have sewage lines and sewage treatment plants. Therefore, many home owners in smaller communities and rural areas must provide their own septic systems. Some home owners have leaking septic systems and some pipe sewage directly into streams. Right: Untreated household sewage entering Little Wheeling Creek. Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Ben Stout

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