What are we measuring?
This measure tracks the number of sanitary sewer overflows reported by Fulton County. This measure currently applies only to the sanitary sewer system operated by Fulton County and does not include the City of Atlanta sewer system. A sanitary sewer overflow is a condition in which untreated sewage is released into the environment. Most overflows in the Fulton County system in recent years have been caused by blockages from debris or grease with roots often being a contributing or primary factor. Other causes have included physical failure of the sewer line and mechanical failure of pumps.
Why are we measuring it?
Untreated sewage released in spills contains disease-causing pathogens including viruses, bacteria, worms and protozoa. People can be exposed these to these pathogens by swimming in contaminated water, drinking from a contaminated water supply or eating fish and shellfish exposed to contaminated water. Pathogens in raw sewage can cause a number of diseases in humans ranging from stomach flu and upper respiratory infections to life-threatening illnesses such as dysentery, cholera, Hepatitis B and cryptosporidiosis.
How are we doing?
In recent years, the Fulton County sanitary sewer system, which serves most of the county outside of the City of Atlanta, has remained within the limit of 3 spills per 100 miles of sewer pipe as established as the national standard. Fulton County Public Works reported 2.1 spills per 100 miles of pipe in 2018, well within the national standard.