Sanitary Sewer Overflow Public Notification

The City of Decatur is required to notify the public of any Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSO) within its sanitary sewer system. The Sanitary Sewer Overflow Notification Forms the City uses to report SSO’s are listed at the bottom of this page.

If you see a manhole that is overflowing, please contact the City of Decatur Streets and Sewers Section at (217) 875-4820 to report an SSO, Monday through Friday, between 7:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.  For after hours notifications call (217) 424-2711.


For information on Sanitary Sewer Backups please visit our Dealing with Sewer Backups page.


What is a Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO)

A SSO is an unintentional discharge, spill or release of untreated sewage (or wastewater) from the sewer collection system.  The overflow can be caused by rainfall induced inflow and infiltration (I&I), collapsed sewers or blockages caused by roots, grease or debris.


Why is it dangerous?

Raw sewage is dangerous because it contains bacteria and other hazardous microorganisms that can be harmful to fish, animals and people. Touching or walking through contaminated areas can bring bacteria into uncontaminated areas of your home. Children and pets are especially vulnerable.


Effects of Sanitary Sewer Overflows?

SSOs can cause significant environmental and public health problems by diverting untreated sewage into the storm drain system where it can discharge into local waterways.  This can pollute lakes, ponds, creeks and streams; endanger aquatic life, and interfere with the recreational uses of waterways.


What can you do to prevent SSOs?

  • Collect waste cooking oil in a can. When cool, place this receptacle in a trash bag, seal tightly, and discard in the trash. Waste oil from restaurants can be collected and sold to rendering facilities;
  • Scrape food from plates into a compost or trash bin, never down the drain;
  • Before washing, wipe oily pans thoroughly with a paper napkin or paper towel;
  • Minimize or avoid using your garbage disposals. A lot of food waste contains fats, oils and grease and could clog your own pipes and/or the city’s sanitary sewers;
  • Install and maintain baskets, screens and or strainers over all sink and floor drains to keep debris out of the sewer;
  • For restaurants, an appropriate cleaning schedule must be followed in order for the grease trap to function properly.
  • Spread the word to your friends and neighbors about what they can do to help prevent SSOs.

Sanitary Sewer Overflow Notifications