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Limiting Sanitary Sewer Seepage

Program Overview

In compliance with the NPDES permit, and in accordance with the Illicit Discharge program, the Water Quality Program works closely with the City's Waste Resource Division to eliminate sanitary sewer seepages by way of the following:

SSO Event Investigations

Sanitary Sewer Overflow  Sanitary Sewer Overflow

During heavy rain events, it is common for stormwater to enter the sanitary sewer system, thereby exceeding it's capacity. In addition, debris, grease, or other various materials often cause blockages in sewer mains. As a result, there is great potential for Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs) of considerable magnitude. SSOs caused by stormwater infiltration are referred to as "wet events". Those caused by blockages unrelated to rainfall are referred to as "dry events". Most often, the Water Quality Program receives reports of SSO events from Moccasin Bend WWTP. Seldom does the Water Quality Program discover an SSO that hasn't already been reported by Moccasin Bend. The Water Quality Program conducts inspections after each reported (or discovered) SSO event. 


Sanitary Sewer Lateral Assessment Program (SLAP)

smoketesting apparatus

SmokeTesting Apparatus 

potential point of infiltration- cleanout

Potential Point of Infiltration

The City of Chattanooga Water Quality Program has developed an innovative watershed management strategy to identify and eliminate sources of illicit discharges from the sanitary infrastructure. The Sewer Lateral Assessment Program (S.L.A.P.) is designed to identify and mitigate pathogen sources within urban watersheds.


• To identify potential sources of illicit sanitary sewer discharge into the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) and stormwater inflow and infiltration (I/I) into the Interceptor Sewer System (ISS) via City-wide Smoke Testing.

• To notify property owners of the discovered anomalies via written Notification letters, including information on financial assistance for homeowners.

• To enforce the repair of broken sewer lateral lines via follow-up investigations & further enforcement (Written Warnings, Notices of Violation, Compliance Orders, and Court Citations) in the case of non-compliance with Notification letters.

Financial Assistance

The SLAP low income property owners financial assistance program is partially funded by a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), which is appropriated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and is distributed by the City of Chattanooga's Department of Neighborhood Services and Community Development. In order to qualify for assistance, a homeowner must occupy the property for which assistance is being applied, the property owner must have no overdue City and County property taxes, and the property owner must fall into the low income range of "Income Limits and Fair Market Rents for Chattanooga" (HUD).

For further information on the SLAP Program, see the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).


Return to Illicit Discharges & Improper Disposal



To preserve and enhance the quality of the physical environment and infrastructure through prompt, cost effective and courteous delivery of services which protect the health, safety and welfare of citizens.

Justin Holland, Administrator
1250 Market Street
Chattanooga TN 37402 (map)
(423) 643-6311



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