City of Knoxville
Stormwater Engineering Division
Sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) are a violation of NPDES permits
that are issued by Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation
Water flowing from manholes
What is an SSO?
A sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) is raw untreated sewage that
discharges from the sanitary sewer system without first passing
through a wastewater treatment plant. A typical SSO may occur at
a manhole during wet weather, but can also occur in dry weather
for a variety of reasons. An SSO is a public health hazard and a
violation of federal, state and local discharge regulations.
Typical signs of an SSO include:
Toilet paper or other "flushables"
Smell of sewage
An unusually steady flow of water
Residues, stains, or discolorations
Displaced manhole lids
Oftentimes, the SSO discharge may not look or smell unusual. The toilet
paper may have been "filtered" within the sewer pipe or
somewhere upstream. Or the discharge may be diluted by groundwater
or surface water infiltration.
How you can learn more:
What you should do:
Avoid all contact with SSO discharges.
Discourage children from playing in it.
Report the SSO immediately to KUB
switchboard at 865-524-2911.
Report the SSO to local TDEC office
at 865-594-6035 and to the City of Knoxville
Water Quality Hotline at 865-215-4147
during business hours.
Take notes and pictures to document
the SSO problem for authorities.
If you do not get satisfactory results
with the steps above, please contact
the US Environmental Protection
Agency at: 404-562-9724.